MONTRÉAL, June 7, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Aéro Montréal, Québec's aerospace cluster, is delighted with the new investments announced today as part of Canada's new Defence Policy, which increases total defence spending from $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion by 2026-2027. The federal government has already committed to spending upwards of $615 million in fiscal 2017-2018 and $6.5 billion over the next five years.
Several of the measures announced by Defence Minister, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, are aligned with Aéro Montréal's priorities and will help to enhance the business prospects of Québec aerospace companies.
"Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEeS)" – a promising program
The federal government is creating the IDEeS program, with an investment of $1.6 billion over 20 years. It aims to modernize the way National Defence generates solutions through new cooperative partnerships with the private sector and universities. A bidding process will be launched as early as 2018 to create innovation clusters.
"This new program will foster cooperation and collaboration among the sector's key players," notes Suzanne M. Benoît, President of Aéro Montréal. "Innovation, collaboration and internationalization are the key to ensuring our companies remain among the best in the world. At Aéro Montréal, we have already put initiatives in place with this in mind. This new support will provide additional leverage for members of the cluster and we are very pleased."
Replacement of CF-18s with 88 new fighter jets
In an effort to improve the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) air attack capability, the Department of National Defence will replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft through an open and transparent procurement process.
"In Québec, we have companies, including SMEs, that have developed a unique expertise with the CF-18 project, which has proven to be an economic success all down the line," says Ms. Benoît. "We are in an excellent position to benefit fully from this acquisition of 88 new fighter aircraft, which is in addition to the 18 Super Hornet acquisition project. These projects will help to maintain the competitiveness and preserve over the long term the key competencies developed by our Québec defence and national security SMEs."
Replacement of the CP140 with next-generation multi-mission aircraft
The Minister of Defence also announced his government's support for the project to replace the CP140 with next-generation multi-mission aircraft. "We applaud this initiative from the federal government, which it considers a priority. For our cluster companies, especially for our OEMs, this is a unique opportunity to position themselves on a Canadian platform," says Ms. Benoît.
The importance of drones in Canada's new Defence Policy
The federal government recognizes the importance of investing in a range of unmanned systems. This commitment is in line with another of Aéro Montréal's priorities. Last April, the Québec's aerospace cluster signed a major collaboration agreement in the niche of drones excellence, with the UAS Centre of Excellence.
"The drones sector represents an enormous potential for Québec's aerospace companies active in defence and national security," explains Ms. Benoît. "This new incentive from the federal government reinforces commitments already announced in its latest budget and in the recent budget of the Government of Québec. Our strategy at Aéro Montréal is aligned with the potential benefits that could be generated by this niche of excellence and innovation."
Cybersecurity and space capabilities
Aéro Montréal also welcomes the investment announcements related to cybersecurity and space capabilities. "The distinctive nature of our aerospace ecosystem in Québec is based on its diversity," says Ms. Benoît. "Here again, key players in our industry could meet the requirements of the Department of Defence, notably in terms of improving cryptographic capabilities, global satellite communications and space surveillance."
For Aéro Montréal's President: "The commitments announced today by the Government of Canada are in line with the proactive initiatives we are deploying at Aéro Montréal to maintain our leadership, which is recognized nationally and globally. They also are aligned with the crucial issue of the application of the Industrial and Technological Benefits (RIT) policy," she adds, citing as an example that "SMEs content of 15% of the value of a Super Hornet fighter jets purchase contract would give them a real chance to contribute to the program and better penetrate the defence and national security market."
Canada's new Defence Policy will help Aéro Montréal to better position Québec companies in the sector on national programs. Aéro Montréal has already started to develop the Croissance Sécurité Défense Québec portal jointly with the Québec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation (MESI) and with the collaboration of STIQ and Québec International (QI). This web-based tool will cover all aspects of the sector ecosystem: aerospace, ground, naval, C4ISR. It will provide, among other things, technical training and coaching services, an active monitoring of business opportunities, and access to the content and resources of all relevant federal and provincial government departments and agencies.
About Aéro Montréal
Created in 2006, Aéro Montréal is a strategic think tank that groups all major decision makers in Québec's aerospace sector, including companies, educational and research institutions, as well as associations and unions.
Aéro Montréal's mission is to engage Québec's aerospace cluster with a view to increasing its growth and expansion on the global scene. Its vision is to become a benchmark in global aerospace. To this end, it champions the following values: excellence, engagement, collaboration, versatility and innovation.
SOURCE Aéro Montréal
For further information: Gwenaël Brisé, Manager, Communications and Media Relations, Aéro Montréal, Office: 514 987-9395 | Cell: 438 497-3857, gwenael.brise@aeroMontréal.ca