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New Surveillance Aircraft – Canada in Afghanistan – December 2009

Intelligence, Surveillance, & Reconnaissance:  New ISR Aircraft
Canadian Forces 'CT-145Bs' or  Contractor-Operated King Airs?


David Pugliese has reported on an obscure contract being processed  through the US Army's CECOM Acquisition Center.  To our knowledge,  this contract was not posted on MERX nor has it gone through US Foreign Military Sales notification. The contract covers the modification of  two Canadian-supplied Beech King Air 300  light commuter airliners into sophisticated spy planes along the line of those of  US Task Force ODIN.

The US Army's Task Force ODIN uses in-service C-12R King Air aircraft oufitted with the sensors of the Predator UAVs. If the Canadian Forces are following the US Army example, we applaud them  –  we could hardly do otherwise having recommended that DND follow a similar course in July 2008. But are the new ISR aircraft going to the CF?

Canadian Forces crews have recent experience on King Airs – the contractor-operated Multi-Engine Utility Flight at Trenton (flying Aero Support's King Air 200s) and multi- engined trainers at Stockport  (with smaller Allied Wings King Air B90Bs).[1] New ISR aircraft will be the slightly more powerful King Air 300s.  So, are these new CF aircraft?

A quarter of the work is to be done in Afghanistan and the completion date is 15 June 2011.That date corresponds with the announced end of  CF combat in Afghanistan. So does the arrival of  new Canadian ISR 'assets' in Kandahar suggest an extension to the CF combat mission?  Not necessarily. The question remains: Who owns these aircraft?

The Government of  Canada does currently own a King Air 300. This aircraft, C-GHQG, is 'owned' by the Solicitor General of  Canada but operated by CSIS. This could be one of the 'base' airframes. If so, does this suggest the start of  Canadian "civilian" ISR ops from Kandahar Airfield?  (US ISR King Airs have been operated by civilian crews both in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Will spooky ISR flights support JTF2/CSOR after June 2011?

Or is the Government spending almost $13M to provide the Canadian Forces with ISR for the 6 months between the end of combat operations and withdrawl from Kandahar?


[1] US Army  MC-12Ws for the Liberty Project are based on the King Air 350 airframe. This project was named for the rapidly constructed Liberty ships built in World War 2.
The Telford segment of  the original DoD contract press release  is reproduced below.


U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)

Army

Telford Aviation, Inc.,  Bangor, Maine, was awarded on Nov. 25, 2009, a $12,268,639 firm-fixed-price contract for a medium altitude reconnaissance surveillance system – Canada Systems integration and logistics support for two King Air 300 commercial aircraft provided by Canada.

This effort is currently funded at 49 precent of the not-to-exceed price until definitiz- ation takes place. Work is to be performed in Hagerstown, [ Maryland ] (75 percent), and in Afghanistan (25 percent), with an estimated completion date of  June 15, 2011. One sole source bid was solicited with one bid received.

CECOM Acquisition Center, Fort Monmouth, [New Jersey], is the contracting activity (W12P7T-07-C-W009).


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