Wednesday, April 23, 2008

CH-47D purchase closer

Further to this post, it looks like it will be a direct government-to-government deal--not one under Boeing's CHAPS program as I had speculated:
The Bush administration said Wednesday it was tentatively planning to sell Canada six Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote, Profile, Research) CH-47D heavy-lift transport helicopters that could boost the ability to operate together in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism.

The proposed sale, including 12 Honeywell International Inc (HON.N: Quote, Profile, Research) T-55 turbine engines, plus two spare engines and related gear, could be worth up to $375 million if all options are exercised, the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice to Congress.

"Canada needs these helicopters to enhance its capabilities in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT)," said the notice dated Monday and made public on Wednesday.

"Having the same configuration as the U.S. would greatly contribute to Canada's military capability by making it a more sustainable coalition force to support GWOT," the Pentagon said.

It said Canadian deployments in support of peacekeeping and humanitarian operations have made a "significant impact to global political and economic stability and have served U.S. national security interests."

H/t to beenthere. I wonder what NDP national defence critic Dawn Black thinks of the choppers' improving our ability to support the GWOT (bit, er, impolitic that, Pentagon).

On March 22 the editor, Canadian American Strategic Review, blasted the Air Staff over the whole CH-47 acquisition process, indeed over its attitude towards helicopters in general:
...Do Air Staff planners show any indication of actually wanting to buy helicopters? Fixed-wing aircraft get bought, but the 25-year project to replace Sea Kings still hasn't borne fruit. And, despite constant complaints about CH-146 Griffons as military helicopters, there's been no moves to 'liquidate' these assets on a healthy civilian market for this type. Do helicopters simply get in the way of 'real' aircraft?..

The Air Force got their C-17 Globemaster III ACAN first. Then they got the C-130J Hercules. What if Air Staff has just lost interest in the new CH-47F Chinook? What if they believe that it would be better to put the purchase 'on the back burner' until their grumpy Prime Minister is once again 'in the vein' to spend billions of dollars on aircraft for our undeployable Air Force?

When are the elected officials of this country going to wake up and see that Air Staff planners have never, will never, put the interests of this country before their own vanity? Bureaucrats in uniform awaiting plummy industry jobs need to be brought sharply to heel. They've sworn their lives to their Sovereign – that collective 'sovereign' is, in fact, the citizens of Canada.
Not deployable? What about "Camp Mirage" (more here)? And what about this, and this, and this, and this?

And what about the fact that the Chief of the Air Staff, Lt.-Gen. Angus Watt, is himself a helicopter pilot?

Update: It's a Foreign Military Sale; here's the text of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's notification to Congress. I find the following interesting:
The Government of Canada has requested a possible sale of...Quality Assurance Team support, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related elements of logistics support...

Implementation of this proposed sale will require the assignment of contractor representatives to Canada and in the theater of operations for an unspecified amount of time [emphasis added]...
So that's part of the way we'll deal with maintenance while Canadian Air Force ground crew are trained.

Meanwhile, much more on CH-47s generally from Flight International.

Update: The Ottawa Citizen's David Pugliese makes a good point at his blog:


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