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JUSTAS Project  (Medium UAV)  –  MERX LOI Notice  –  September 2008

Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System Project –
(Medium Altitude Long Endurance) UAV – MERX  LOI Notice

Keeping Tabs on Canadian Forces UAVs – JUSTAS, JAIC, Noctua, and other UAV Doings

DND have made more than a few procurement stabs at the JUSTAS Project, a planned UAV 'system-of-systems' for the Canadian Forces. JUSTAS was portrayed as a cheap method for patrolling Canada's coasts at the start. It was assumed that  CU-161 Sperwer tactical UAVs were adequate for overseas deployments. Now that's changed and Sperwer is to be junked.

With Sperwer TUAVs on the way out, the tactical end of  Canadian UAV operations in Afghanistan falls to mini UAVs – hand-launched CU-168 Skylarks (right) now joined by contractor-owned/maintained Insitu ScanEagles. [ Ed:  In Aug 2010, the CU-168s and ScanEagles were joined by another contractor-owned system, 5 x hand-launched Maveric MUAVs by Prioria Robotics, supported by ING Engineering of Ottawa]. But under Project Noctua, DND is leasing another UAV – IAI's Heron to replace soon-to-be-missing  CU-161 Sperwer TUAVs. [Ed:  Leased  IAI Heron MALE UAVs entered service as CU-170s.]

Meanwhile, the JUSTAS program both bifurcated and languished. The split came when it was belatedly recognized that armed UAVs were urgently needed to support Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Rather than turning JUSTAS into an 'Immediate Operation Requirement', a new offshoot program was budded – the Joint Airborne ISR Capability. The goal of JAIC was the procurement of armed MQ-9 Predator B  UAVs for use in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, JAIC was pitched to Cabinet as a 'sole-source' purchase just as the Auditor-General was criticizing the government for such buying practices. Cabinet refused funding and the JAIC Project died.

JUSTAS: One more time for the Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System

DND tried another tack with its Project Noctua. Alas, General Atomics, makers of the Predator, refused to play. Recognizing the limits of  Noctua's budget, the contest was re-jigged, resulting in the leased piston- engined Herons. However, JUSTAS is aimed at more capable UAVs. Candidates, assuming that industry is tempted to deal with DND yet again, may include the sought-after Predator B, the turboprop Heron TP, [1] or, a bit of a long shot, Elbit Systems Hermes 900. [2]

This LOI Notice gives no details about the JUSTAS project. The critical information is the dates and the splitting of JUSTAS into two phases – first an armed UAV, then the original patrol concept. A contract award is not due until Fall of  2010. The IOC (Initial Operational Capability) for Phase 1 is not due until February 2012.  In other words, the armed UAVs won't be fielded until the first anniversary of the CF leaving Afghanistan.
[1] Heron TP is an enlarged CU-170 powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67 turboprop.

[2] With its partner L-3, Elbit Systems offered the Hermes 900 for the aborted JAIC program.  Hermes 900 is a piston-engined UAV equivalent to the earlier Heron or the RQ-1 Predator. ________________________________________

Letters of  Interest  (LOI)   —   JUSTAS  ( the  Joint
Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System)


Reference Number                PW-$ATP-003-17562
Solicitation Number              W8475-095012/B
Organization Name               Public Works and Government Services Canada
Source ID                               FD.DP.QC.10077.C2
Associated Components     Yes


Published     2008-09-08
Revised        2008-09-16
Closing         2008-12-05  02:00 PM  Eastern Daylight Saving Time  EDT


Category                          Aerospace
GSINS                               N1550: DRONES
Region of Delivery         Ontario
Agreement Type             Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Tender Type                    Letter  of  Interest  ( LOI )
Estimated Value               —
Solicitation Method        —

Notice Description   JUSTAS

Trade Agreement:                         Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT)
Tendering Procedures:                 All interested suppliers may submit a bid
Attachment:                                                   None
Competitive Procurement Strategy:  Best Overall Proposal
Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement:   No

Sinkinson(003atp), John
Telephone No. - (613) 943-3492 ( )
Fax No. - 613 944-7870

Project JUSTAS   Procurement of  a UAV System

The Canadian Forces has a requirement to field and support interoperable, network enabled Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [...] Systems to provide Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR), Target Acquisition, and all-weather precision strike capabilities in support of Canadian Forces (CF) operations worldwide. The objective of  this Letter of  Interest ( LOI ) is to advise industry of  the forthcoming requirement and also to request feedback from Industry on the feasibility of currently defined project strategies with respect to scope, technical performance, schedule, and cost.

Industry is highly encouraged to offer alternatives to the project strategies outlined in this LOI. These alternatives should be accompanied by comprehensive arguments and analysis that clearly demonstrates how the proposed solution to the operational requirement is more advantageous to Canada with regard to operational suitability and effectiveness, cost, schedule, and risk. Information received from Industry will  be used to refine JUSTAS planning documents and cost tables in advance of Cabinet and Treasury Board approval.

Delivery Date: 05/12/2008

The Crown retains the right to negotiate with suppliers on any procurement.

Documents may be submitted in either official language of Canada.

Sinkinson(003atp), John
The New Two Seventy Albert
270 Albert St. / 7th Floor
K1A 0S5
(613) 943-3492 ( )

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