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Canada Needs Heavy-lift Choppers


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Canada needs heavy-lift choppers for work in war zones, says new Defence chief

 

Sun Feb 13, 3:39 PM ET

 

STEPHEN THORNE

 

TORONTO (CP) - Canada will need to buy heavy-lift helicopters to transport troops and equipment around war zones and other theatres of operation as part of a comprehensive plan to revamp the Canadian Forces, says the new chief of defence staff.

 

 

The man engineering an overhaul of the Canadian military says the new policy review will not favour one service over another. In fact, despite reports to the contrary, the air force will be more important than ever.

 

 

"You have to assure yourself that you've to all the necessary bits and pieces in place to be able to respond," General Rick Hillier said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

 

 

The military needs to replace the Chinook helicopters it sold to the Dutch years ago. Canada's experience during the 2002 war on terror, when it relied on U.S. transport choppers during combat operations in Afghanistan (news - web sites), proved that, Hillier said.

 

 

The military must also replace the C-130 Hercules transport aircraft it uses on short haul flights in Canada and overseas.

 

 

But the general said National Defence will have to assess what works best for longer haul flights, like the ones that transported Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team to Sri Lanka in early January.

 

 

"We've got to sort out the helicopter piece because we've got to be able to move around these environments," Hillier said.

 

 

"We've got to fix the C-130 piece because a lot of them are very old. And we've got to assure ourselves of strategic lift."

 

 

Hillier said long range flights may be still be handled by aircraft rented from other countries, shared with NATO (news - web sites), or purchased.

 

 

But Hillier suggested Canada would not likely buy larger aircraft, like the Russian Antonov or the American C-17.

 

 

Whatever the outcome, Hillier said the military is in for a major rethinking but the aim is to expand, modernize and integrate the services - not trade one off for another.

 

Sources say Hillier, an armoured officer from Newfoundland, was the only candidate for the chief's job to come up with the kind of innovative thinking Defence Minister Bill Graham was looking for in the year-old defence review process.

 

It is Hillier who reinforced Graham's decision to throw out the first drafts of the government's defence policy review. Now Hillier is driving the thrust of the new document at Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

 

But the general said he won't do it alone.

 

The document will be very much a product of thinking that has been circulating in military circles for some time, said Hillier. Many of his own ideas came out of a meeting of senior officers a year ago.

 

On Tuesday, he will kick off a 2½-day conference of general and flag officers by assuring them the navy and air force won't take a back seat to the army in the overhaul, as some have feared.

 

"People have to be assured that there's a role for the maritime, air and land forces in the future of Canada that is powerful and valuable and relevant and exactly what the country needs," Hillier said.

 

"We find our balances based on the jobs that we have to do."

 

Hillier will then brief his senior officers on the status of the policy review, ask them for their input and warn off any who aren't on board.

 

He doesn't think there will be too many of those.

 

"We've got an entire generation of young men and women who have cut their teeth on operations," said Hillier. "We are in a position now that we have not been in since the end of World War II.

 

"Every one of those folks knows what has to be done."

 

And what needs to be done? Hillier, who has commanded more overseas operations than many of his predecessors, said there will be some added expense involved but acknowledged he has to be realistic:

 

-No more independent deployment of services, with ad hoc planning of large-scale operations by hastily assembled command elements drawn from the army, navy and air force. The new force will be jointly commanded and able to deploy battle groups or task forces quickly and efficiently.

 

-Overseas operations will be less spread out, with larger forces focused on and deployed to fewer places, he said.

 

-Canada's fleet of CF-18 fighter-bombers must be equipped with precision munitions for overseas operations but they will also likely take on a greater role in domestic security and defence. "It doesn't have to be either-or," said the general.

 

-The air force is already taking on a bigger role in surveillance, which may require upgrades or replacement of the Aurora aircraft fleet and the purchase of unmanned aerial vehicles.

 

-The navy's controversial submarine fleet, still reeling from October's fatal fire, must be brought up to scratch and employed in coastal security and defence, either off Canada's coasts or elsewhere, said Hillier.

 

"We need to set priorities," he said of the Forces in general. "We need to walk through the various options that are available."

 

Fundamental to the process will be recruitment of 5,000 new members and 3,000 reservists, and some much-needed attention to the foundation - training, weapons, ammunition and infrastructure such as runways and jetties.

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<_< Yea sure.....that's a joke! Another stab by an inadequate bureaucracy we consider our military to try and purchase helicopters or other aircraft ? Let's see.....more fence riding on trying to decide, make a decision, then cancel the order(s) and have the taxpayers pay (again)? Give us all a break and turn it over to the private sector.
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Why not take the money we are spending now on the military and outsource it under a contract with the US Armed Forces. We would probably get more bang for the buck. :hide:

Just a thought, maybe it would actually make fiscal sense, I wonder if anyone has done a study on dat, eh? :rolleyes:

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Give us all a break and turn it over to the private sector.

Hmmm, a private sector military...I think they call them "Mercenaries"... :blink:

 

The loss of heavy-lift has always been a sore point since DND sold the CF's Chinooks to the Dutch and then forced them to go with one common airframe (Griffon) to fulfill what was once done with three types (Kiowa, Huey, Chinook). The ultimate embarassment was relying on Chinook support from the Americans in Afghanistan because Canada couldn't provide their own helicopters that were capable of operating in those conditions. My spidey-senses tell me that we'll see combat-capable heavy-lift helos in Canadian military colours within 18-24 months.

 

If anyone is going to fix what has been ailing the military, it will be Gen Hillier. He has the charisma to kick the politicians in the *** and make them think it was their idea. Insofaras Canadian generals go, he is somewhat unique in his broad understanding of joint operations and his dynamic and forthright approach to problems. He will put the proper focus on the army and subtley remind the airforce and navy that they are the supporting services without devaluing their import. I think we'll see a more unified and clarified CF than in the past.

 

My only fear is that Hillier's time as CDS is finite and his vision will undoubtedly take longer to execute than he has available. His legacy will have to be moved forward by his successors and change of this magnitude will need constant momentum and consistency in application to succeed. I predict some outstanding short-term successes for the CF on the horizon but overall it will become FUBAR once the politicians start jumping on the bandwagon trying to implement their own self-serving "next great idea" without regard for the wider picture.

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ALL decisions made regarding the military will be predicated on the needs of the National HealthCare System. Canadians now realize that our military is "foundering" in many areas and many more Canadians than before are starting to be slightly annoyed and/or ashamed. However, those feelings quickly disappear when any monies for the military are taken from the Healthcare System because its needs are great also. They can assign monies to the military from other budgets, but if HealthCare is still wanting, then the military will be the "whipping boys" and get the blame still for taking monies away from HealthCare. Until that all changes, it won't make any difference if our new CDS from Nfld. is in office for the next 50 years.

 

Unfortuneately, I agree with my late father as to what will have to happen before Canadians truly wake-up......and it's going to be ugly and has almost occurred already a number of times..........an outright massacre of Canadian troops in some foreign country. The massacre will have to involve a unit such as the whole 2nd PPCLI and be a total wipe-out with butchered bodies etc. When that happens the outrage of Canadians will know no bounds because we have always been slow to anger, BUT once we do.........look the **** out! At that point, the enema that has been needed for a generation will finially get administered.....and the enema should have been inserted way back in the late 50's.

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Well first Canadians have to rethink if they want a Military or not......the country I`m from had the same deal....underfunded Military but everbody wanted to howl with the big chesses..... oh ya sent troops here sent troops there....where is our Military when we need it....oh I crashed in the Arctic why is the Military taking so long..........the Military is there to protect Canadians who can not fight, it is there responsibility to protect us it is our respnsibility to stay behind them...........lets not stab them in the back all the time.......the way our troops went to Afaganistan....???? they had to make up there own Camoflage........u got to be kidding....why send them there??? as life targets???? " i can`t change a thing???" So at the next vote remember what u r looking for........this is why we vote....

 

am I off track here????

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HEY ! Watch it mister ! :angry:

 

BTW, Ontario looks a helluvalot more like an american state than any other Canadian Province. Most Americans don't even realise Toronto isn't in the US. I remember one of Rick Mercer's skits where he would ask Yanks what state Toronto and Vancouver were in. Most americans realised Vancouver was in Canada, but most were stumped by TO... :bleh:

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Any country that cannot defend itself, does not have any justification for existing in any form. We exist today ONLY because of where our country is situated and because of who we live next to. The reason we don't have a strong military and can't defend ourselves is simple.........we've never had to. Yes there was the war of 1812 that we would ahve lost hands down with our Canadian "militia" against the Americans. The Motherland covered our butts for eons and that "covering of butts" was taken opver by the Americans afterwards. We didn't enter the Boer War because we had to defend our shores from the Afrikaners; we didn't have to defend our shores from the Germans in WW1 and we didn't have to defend ourselves from invading German troops on the shores of NS or Japanese on the shores of BC. Ohhhhhhh yes and our 3rd biggest Navy in the world during WW2. Anyone ever check on what kind of ships made up that big Navy? Using numbers only as a guideline means that NFLD and NS had bigger navies than Canada because they had more sailboats and dorys.

 

We have a shoreline of 210,000kms and can't even begin to defend even half of it. We have subs now, that when operational, can't go underneath the Ice Cap and no naval ships that are built for operations in Arctic waters. Any country that cares to can seize the Arctic whenever they so choose and all we can do is plead to the UN. That ain't gonna happen as long as certain people live just south over the 49th parallel because it ain't in their interests to let that happen.

 

 

As a sidenote, Canadians can enlist in the American Armed Services any little old time they want and have done so for generations. They cannot, however, rise above the rank of Sgt because they are considered "foreign nationals" and national security prevents that clearance. There's 10,000+ Canadians in the US Forces at this very moment and Air Force One is piloted by a USAF Captain who was born and raised in Canada.

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Another good example is a couple years ago, a US Coast Guard ice-breaker navigated the Northwest Passage without requesting permission from Canada, and Canada was powerless to intervene.

 

This caused a bit of a diplomatic incident and the US were trying to set a precedent that the NW Passage was an "International Waterway". They would very much like to have supertankers take the NW Passage from Alaska to bring their oil to Europe and East Coast USA.

 

Don't remember how it all worked out, but the gov't was lambasted over it because it happened not long after they canned the nuke sub contract.

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