ARCHIVED - At An Event To Award The Contract For Support Services For CF-18 Fighter Aircraft

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Minister's Speech / October 17, 2010


Good Afternoon,

Minister Ambrose,

Mike Deloney,

Members of the Canadian Forces,

Members of the media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you to everyone for joining us here today.

I would like to begin my remarks by acknowledging the excellent work Minister Ambrose has done on behalf of this government to support our men and women in uniform.

I’ve had the pleasure of travelling in Afghanistan with Minister Ambrose and being aboard the first C130J delivered to Canada with her.

Her dedication, commitment and support for our men and women in uniform is heartfelt and, as Minister for Public Works and Government Services Canada, she is providing the Canadian Forces the tools they need to do the jobs asked of them.

I want to thank Mike Deloney of Harris Canada for welcoming us to their facility to make this announcement.

As Minister Ambrose mentioned, the CF-18 fighter aircraft is a vital military platform that has provided our airmen and airwomen with state-of-the-art capabilities since 1982.

In fact, my Parliamentary Secretary, the Honourable Laurie Hawn, was the first CF-18 fighter pilot.

I think this is a testament to the age and durability of this fleet.

The CF-18 has been involved in military operations around the world, including service in Europe, the middle-East and as part of NATO operations.

Canadians, Canadian industry and the Canadian Forces rely on this aircraft to safeguard Canada’s national security, protect North America and protect Canada’s interests and values abroad.

There is no doubt about the need and value of this aircraft.

Today’s contract award to provide in-service support on the avionics systems of the CF-18, a total of $274 million to Harris Canada, effectively means the CF-18 will continue it’s invaluable service to Canada for another ten years.

The avionics system of the CF-18 is one of the most important to the aircraft: it includes systems such as radar, communications, navigation, weapons control, electronic warfare sensor systems and the automatic test equipment for these systems.

Today’s investment means that Canada will retain cutting edge technology for our air defences until 2020.

Ladies and gentlemen, while the CF-18 has served our Forces proudly for years, it will retire around 2020

After 2020, Canada needs to maintain its fighter capability in order to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

As Minister Ambrose mentioned, this government is proud to be acquiring Canada’s next generation fighter, the F-35 Lightning II.

The F-35 Lightning II is a multi-role stealth fighter will help the Canadian Forces defend Canadian airspace, remain a strong and reliable partner in the defence of North America, and provide Canada with an effective and modern capability for international operations.

Not only that, but Canadian companies will be able to take advantage of a global supply chain involved in the development of thousands of F-35 aircraft.

In fact, companies like Harris Canada will be able to bid on $12 billion worth of contracts under the F-35 program.

This is an unprecedented opportunity to marry Canadian industrial opportunities with Canadian Forces needs.

It’s a win-win scenario for industry and the Air Force.

I’m proud to say this is in line with our Government’s long-term objectives set out in the Canada First Defense Strategy to rebuild and support the military.

Through this strategy, our Government is providing predictable, long-term funding to increase the readiness of the Canadian Forces, improve defence infrastructure, modernize equipment and expand both the Regular and Reserve Forces.

The Canada First Defence Strategy also provides significant and long-term job opportunities for Canadian communities.

In short, our defence strategy is a win-win scenario.

Much like the F-35 contract, both the Canadian Forces and Canadian industry will benefit from our efforts.

As much as today is special for all of us here in Calgary, it is even more important to our servicemen and women out in the field.

Congratulations to Harris Canada for winning this award.

The Canadian Forces truly appreciate the work you will be doing over the next decade to extend the life of our CF-18 fighter aircraft.

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