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$2.8 Billion Boost to GDP if Bombardier/GDMS-C Win CMMA Contact, Says PwC Report

By James Careless

$2.8 billion: That’s how much a successful Bombardier/General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada (GDMS-C) bid to build the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) would deliver to the Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This assertion is contained in a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) entitled “Economic Impact of a Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft Solution Proposed by Bombardier”, which was commissioned by that company and released on July 10, 2023.

The PwC report, which was previewed to reporters during a July 5, 2023 news briefing, presents a number of projected positive economic impacts should the Bombardier/GDMS-C partnership replace the RCAF’s CP-140 Aurora fleet with a militarized version of Bombardier’s Global 6500 business jet aircraft. “We’re talking about around a half a billion Canadian dollars’ impact on the Canadian GDP on an annual basis,” said Pierre Pyun, Bombardier’s Vice-President of Government Affairs. “We’re talking about close to 3,800 full-time jobs that are supported in the Canadian economy on an annual basis by Global 6500 manufacturing.”

The PwC report also said that having the Bombardier/GDMS-C partnership fulfill the CMMA requirement using the Global 6500 would generate 26,650 full-time equivalent for those companies and their supply chain over the length of the contract. These sources would pay $800 million in taxes to all levels of government combined.

As for exports? If Canada selects the Global 6500 for the CMMA, then other countries could well follow. “There are hundreds of maritime patrol aircraft that will need to be replaced in the coming years (for context, there are about 180 P8s in the world today), which Bombardier believes will open an opportunity for exports of CMMA,” the PwC report said. “Assuming, for illustration purposes, that Bombardier receives orders for 40 aircraft in the next decade, we calculated that this additional activity could contribute $5.2 billion to Canada GDP (in 2023 $) and support 41,650 jobs cumulative over the period necessary to build the aircraft.”

Finally, selecting a Canadian-made CMMA solution would boost the creation of domestic intellectual property (IP), and highly paid quality jobs.

“By granting the mandate to Bombardier and GDMS-C, the federal government supports the creation and retention of IP in Canada, which could potentially be leveraged for other applications and generate further economic impact,” said the PwC report. Meanwhile, “Bombardier and GDMS support job creation in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). STEM jobs play an important role in the economy, as they foster innovation, technology advancement and productivity gain. In 2022, the average salary for jobs related to design of Bombardier aircraft was $150,000, more than 2.5 times higher than the industry average in Quebec.”

It is worth noting that the PwC report did not provide comparative data based on the same metrics if Boeing was awarded the CMMA contract, which appears to be a very real possibility, This is because Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon (a militarised version of the 737 passenger jet) has been cited by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) as “the only currently available aircraft that meets all of the CMMA operational requirements” in a March 27, 2023 statement.

This being said, PSPC has yet to make a final decision on the CMMA procurement, and Bombardier/GDMS-C) are lobbying hard for a chance to bid on it. “We are pushing for a fair and open competition,” said Anne-Marie Thibaudeau, Bombardier Defense’s Director of Programs, during the PwC report news briefing. “We have a lot of advantages that we offer with our solution. Contrary to our competition [Boeing] that has forecasted an end-of-the-line [to P-8A production], we are still very much in production with our Global 6500 platform as well as GD MS with their product line.”

That’s not all: “Both of us —- ourselves and GDMS — continue to invest in our respective product lines for the future,” Thuibaudeau declared. “[As well] We’re leveraging existing Canadian content. We’re going to leverage a Canadian workforce. [And] This is a made-in-Canada solution with respect to our supply base and our workforce as well as leveraging the billions of investments already done with this sovereign ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] and ASW [anti-submarine warfare] capability in Canada.”

As compelling as Bombardier/GDMS-C’s arguments are for an open CMMA competition in Canada — now backed by the PwC report — it is not clear if Ottawa is listening. Asked by CDR about the federal government’s response to their concerted lobbying efforts, Pierre Pyun replied, “the feedback I think has been in line with what the government has said publicly, that they haven’t made the decision yet on this and they are still in the Options Analysis phase. At the same time, we haven’t received confirmation that we’re going to go with an open tender.”

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