Only eight of the 29 NATO member countries are expected to reach the alliance’s spending guideline of 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) this year as the organisation works to reverse more than 25 years of military cuts. NATO leaders set the percentage as a guideline to aim for by 2024. Before the release of the Canadian Government’s defence policy last spring, Canada was under pressure, notably by US President Donald Trump, to meet the NATO benchmark of 2% of the GDP for spending in defence.
Last November, a 20-year plan regarding defence funding, released by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, set the goal of reaching 1.4% of GDP by 2024, with budget offers stating that this is still a significant spending increase over the previous defence strategy.
Canada will tender to buy 88 advanced fighters to replace its fleet of 77 CF-18 aeroplanes. The jets would need to operate with planes of Canada’s allies. Reports from Ottawa also confirmed the desire to purchase 18 Boeing Super Hornets as an interim measure.
Canada has now named five firms that that will be considered to supply fighters to replace its fleet of CF-18s. Three European firms, Saab, Airbus and Dassault, along with two US companies, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, have all been revealed on the supplier list.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Military’s fleet of Sea Kings are set to retire in April, to be replaced with Sikorssky’s Cyclones CH-148. According to International Military Helicopter, a Senate report recommended that Canada acquires attack helicopters as part of a programme to replace its Bell CH-146 Griffon fleet.
Historically, the Canadian forces have acquired a number of deployable aircraft and equipment hangars to support their changing and growing fleet requirements.
With growing pressure to invest and increase the defence spending and aircraft inventory, flexible, adaptable and reusable fabric hangar systems are seen by many defence forces as the ideal solution to protect valuable aircraft investments at home and in the field.
One case study includes Rubb Military structures. A number of these fabric military hangars were purchased by the Canadians for use at home and by the Canadian Forces Joint Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) Air Wing at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.
Operation Fish Mountain was the largest deployment of Canadian Air assets and drew on the entire Wing’s resources to ensure the mission was accomplished effectively and efficiently.
Six Rubb EFASS hangars (25m wide x 32m long x 12m high) were deployed to X-Ray Ramp to support the mission and provide protection and maintenance workshops for five Canadian CH-147D Chinooks, six CH-146 Griffons, one CC-130H Hercules and one CU-170 Heron UAV.
Captain Mike Taylor, Deputy in Charge, 91 Construction Engineering Flight, was quoted in The Aurora Newspaper at the time of the project, explaining: “The EFASS structure is a very slick piece of kit… The completed structure is large enough to perform maintenance on a CH-147 Chinook without removing the rotors… The main components of the structure are the nine spans, each span consisting of five aluminium extrusions that were bolted together with galvanised steel spleens. The spans were assembled on the ground with the lights installed, as well as the tensioning cables and steel rods. A unique feature of the EFASS is that no crane is required for erection, the spans are winched up using arms’ strength. As the spans are erected, the sheeting is installed.”
The gable ends were then installed along with the door frames. The doors were then constructed and hooked up. Finally the 2,000kg capacity overhead crane was successfully installed.
The hangars were widely commended as ‘super-tents’ and went on to serve in theatre for several years. These types of structures are popular among a number of defence forces, including the UK, Canada, the US, Lithuania and the UAE, due to their unique capabilities and capacity for rapid deployment, quick assembly, ease of dismantle, packing and storage, transportability and reusability for future deployments. They can also be supported by a refurbishment programme to enhance the long-term lifecycle value of the fabric structure.
Future developments of the EFASS include new span profiles, additional custom designs, new accessories and enhanced M&E technology to support end users in the field.