This is the second of three posts about aircraft procurement for the Canadian Forces.
I see, from the Army.ca website, which is always a good source of information about what’s really going on in the military world, that PALAerospace, a Newfoundland and Labrador based company, has show a converted Canadian made Dash 8 Q300 ISR aircraft (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) at the Dubai Airshow. Caveat lector: I know some people at PALAerospace but I have not got any insider knowledge from them or from anyone else.
I suspect this could be, in a way, an aircraft analog of Chantier Davie‘s Project Resolve. The Royal Canadian Navy had an urgent operational requirement for a modern support ship; the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy has two such ships in the project but they are years and years away from even being started. Davie stepped in and sold an interim, made-in-Canada and relatively low cost solution. It may not be everything the admirals want but it is enough ~ more than enough, and at the price it is far more than they had any right to expect.
It is no secret that the Royal Canadian Air Force has an urgent military operational requirement to replace its ageing fleet of CP-140 Aurora long range patrol aircraft. The air force generals almost certainly want the American made P-8 Poseidon … and why not? It is, pretty much, the gold standard.
But the Liberals show no signs of loosening the purse strings, and even if it were, the Poseidon is a Boeing aircraft and Boeing is not exactly an Ottawa favourite this year. So, maybe, PALAerospace can step in, à la Davie, and offer a Canadian made interim solution. The Q300 is, after all, a Bombardier aircraft (through its de Havilland Canada subsidiary). I don’t know how many would be required to provide an effective interim fix … I’m guessing that the Q400, with an operating range of only about 2,000+ km (1,100+ NM) is not what the RCAF would call “long range,” but maybe the Bombardier C300 jet aircraft with a 6,100+ km (3,300± NM) range is, and it has already been touted as a candidate for the Canadian ling range patrol requirement. It is the “mission equipment” in the back of the aircraft, not the airframe itself which makes it a patrol or ISR system.
It’s just a thought … perhaps another way to “save” Bombardier, since that seems to be the Liberal government’s overarching aim … heaven alone knows that reequipping the Canadian Forces seems very low on the Liberals’ priority list.