VICTORIA, British Columbia — Canada’s military for years has had a wishlist of billions of dollars of new equipment designed to support Arctic operations. But this year it is actually moving ahead on those acquisitions, first with new patrol ships and then by upgrading utility aircraft for operations in the country’s northern regions.
The first steel will be cut on the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic offshore patrol ships in September. Five ships will be constructed by Irving Shipbuilding of Canada, while Lockheed Martin is handling onboard combat systems in the CAN $3.5 billion (US $3.4 billion) project.
This year will also see the release of a request for bids on an upgrade program for the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CC-138 Twin Otter aircraft, which are used for utility transports in the Arctic. The project is expected to cost $20 million to $49 million.
“The CC-138 Twin Otter will undergo a life extension program to ensure the fleet remains safe and operationally effective until the UTA [utility transport aircraft] enters service,” Air Force spokesman Maj. James Simiana said.
The UTA is a proposed new fleet of transport aircraft for the Arctic but isn’t expected to be ready to replace the 40-year-old Twin Otters until 2025.
In the meantime, the upgrade will replace the Twin Otter’s wing boxes and install cockpit voice/flight data recorders, improving supportability with a new supply chain of parts, according to the Air Force.
Read More:Canada Breaking Logjam on Arctic Equipment.