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Leased UAVs for Afghanistan  –  MERX  –  CF Procurement  –  February  2008

Project Noctua  —  a  Leased,  Contractor - Maintained  UAV System for Use by the CF in Afghanistan — MERX LOI Notice

Update: Canwest reports that a $100M contract has been awarded to MacDonald Dettwiler to provide IAI Heron UAVs based at  Kandahar Airfield. MND MacKay confirmed this media report but no official announcements have been made as yet.

One of the strongest recommendations of the Manley Report was gaining access to more suitable UAVs as soon as possible. The shortcomings of the troubled CF CU-161 Sperwer  Tactical UAVs  are all  too obvious. And, it seems that DND has lost interest in smaller TUAVs for now in any case. Attention had turned to larger MALE (Medium-Altitude, Long-Endurance) UAVs as part of  the JUSTAS project.

JUSTAS originally focused on UAVs for patrolling Canada's extensive coastlines. But the project was expanded to include MALE UAVs that could be armed for any overseas deployments. An attempt to sole-source US General Atomics Predator B UAVs failed to pass Cabinet approval. A DND attempt to lease  new  UAVs would ultimately prove to be equally unsuccessful ( the small budget being insufficiently tempting to potential contractors).  So,  the CF muddled on with CU-161 Sperwers.

Project Noctua is born out of  the earlier lease attempt. The project scale has been reduced and  interest has already been expressed by one potential contractor. L-3 Communications MAS Canada  had previously teamed  with Israel's Elbit Systems to submit the Hermes 900 to DND. That offer is being renewed for Project Noctua.

Other firms expected  to submit  Letters of  Interest are  General Dynamics Canada teamed with General Atomics for Predator B, [1] MacDonald Dettwiler with Israel Aerospace Industries for the IAI  Malat Eagle-1, and Rheinmetall Canada (which, as Oerlikon Aerospace, was prime contractor for Sperwer). Rheinmetall has yet to announce which UAV builder it intends to partner with for this new DND project.

Industry interest is encouraging but Project Noctua will still not  field a new UAV in Afghanistan this year. The project is scheduled to close in early July 2008. The winning bidder is expected to achieve "Initial Operating Capability  180 days after contract award". That puts new the UAV in Kandahar at the start of January 2009.
[1] General Atomics has since announced that it will not submit an LOI for Project Noctua citing an unrealistic timeline and  excessive penalties for any late delivery.

Project NOCTUA, leased UAV
 [ Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle] System – Letters of  Interest ( LOI ) Notice

Reference Number                PW-$$BB-213-16693
Solicitation Number              W8485-087005/A
Organization Name               Public Works and Government Services Canada
                                      Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada
Source ID                               FD.DP.QC.10077.C2
Associated Components     Yes


Published     2008-02-18
Revised         —
Closing         2008-03-10  02:00 PM  Eastern Standard Time  EST


Category                          Aerospace
GSINS                               WL1550: UNINHABITED AIR VEHICLE (UAV) - LEASE
Region of Delivery         Ontario
Region of Opportunity   —
Agreement Type             NONE
Tender Type                    Letter  of  Interest  ( LOI )
Estimated Value               —
Solicitation Method        —

Notice Description

Project NOCTUA, leased UAV System

Trade Agreement:                         NONE
Tendering Procedures:                 All interested suppliers may submit a bid
Attachment:                                   None
Competitive Procurement Strategy:  N/A - P&A/LOI Only
Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement:   No
Nature of Requirements: Project NOCTUA, leased UAV System

Project NOCTUA, leased UAV System.

On behalf of [the Department of National Defence]  DND, a leased and  contractor maintained Unmanned Air Vehicle System to Support Canadian troops in Afghani- stan (Project Noctua).  Major Project Milestones,  Contract  Award  planned  for 4 July 2008, Initial Operating Capability [ IOC]  180 days after contract award.  Major requirements:  90%  availability,  12  hours  on station,  ability of  the  air vehicle to gather and transmit high quality imagery at from a distance of  100km from Kanda- har, Afghanistan.

Delivery Date: 10/03/2008

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

Documents may be submitted in either official language of Canada.

Sinkinson, John
11 Laurier St. / 11, rue Laurier
8C1, Place du Portage
K1A 0S5
(819) 956-0486 ( )


Contracting Authority

Name        John Sinkinson
Address   11 Laurier St. / 11, rue Laurier 8C2, Place du Portage, Phase III
City           Gatineau
State / Province  Québec
Country        Canada
Postal Code K1A 0S5
Phone           (613) 943-3492 ( )
Fax                (613) 944-7870

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