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In this issue of CDR, we present a Feature Interview with Canada’s Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, and as you will learn from Joetey Attariwala’s in-depth conversation with him, conducted partly in Victoria, B.C., the government remains steadfast in its plan to allow only companies that it deems “trusted partners” to bid on major capital programs like fighter aircraft, and perhaps that’s why this new initiative is being called the “Boeing Clause”.

So, whether Boeing is going to even bid on Canada’s fighter jet requirement, remains to be seen, but they have made their position perfectly clear with respect to the Bombardier situation and the associated tariffs and penalties that they would like to see imposed, so again CDR will monitor the situation closely but, as we’ve said in this space before, Canada must treat any company that threatens the very existence of an aerospace industry in this country with extreme caution and skepticism – gratuitous and patronizing advertising campaigns notwithstanding.

Minister Sajjan also talked about the need for an interim fighter jet and confirmed that the government will proceed with the purchase of 18 somewhat used, F-18 aircraft from the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) and Sajjan says, “. . . they fly the same models as we do; but what the Conservatives don’t want you to listen to is the fact that they were only committed to buy 65 aircraft and didn’t leave enough money. But, we as a Liberal government are willing to buy 88 aircraft to meet all our obligations and we have the funding to do so.”

But, as we write this, we have learned that Canada may not receive those fighter jets from Australia starting in January, 2019 as originally planned. According to a CBC report, the aircraft may not be available until the summer of 2019. Regardless of the tim­ing, it is CDR’s position, as we’ve said in this space before, that Canada should proceed directly to the procurement plan for a CF-18 replacement jet. This would save taxpayers money and also equip the RCAF with the lat­est technology at the earliest possible date.

By the way, speaking of fighter aircraft, look for an in-depth review of available fight­er aircraft in CDR’s next edition (March/April).

For much more from the Minister, including his thoughts on Peacekeeping, CSC, JSS, the Vice-Admiral Norman affair and much more, we urge you to read the interview in this issue.


For CDR’s ninth iteration of Defence Executive of the Year, we are delighted to recognize Tract Medve, President of KF Aerospace and while some will say the selection of a female honoree is overdue, we think this is simply a very worthy choice regardless of gender. Medve took over the reins of Kelowna Flightcraft from aviation industry pioneer, Barry Lapointe, and has built what is now referred to as KF Aerospace, into a powerhouse in Canadian aviation with over 1000 employees.

As you will learn from Tim Mahon’s incisive profile on Medve, KF Aerospace now provides key training for future RCAF pilots through the CFTS program and also does critical MRO work on Canadian Forces aircraft like the CC-115 Buffalo. Medve is a no-nonsense executive who is a proud Canadian and we think you will agree, after you read Tim’s piece, that she’s just the kind of executive that Canada’s defence industry needs at this particular juncture. We congratulate Tracy, who at one time graced a CDR front cover, on her body of work in Canada’s aerospace and defence industry and we look forward to watching as she continues to lead KF Aerospace in the months and years ahead.


CDR’s Aviation Editor, Joetey Attariwala, first talked to Leonardo representatives about that company’s M-345 back at last year’s Paris Air Show, and as you will read in our Cover Story in this issue, the aircraft offers a great solution for the RCAF’s FAcT program. But, in that same article you will read how Leonardo is also proposing the M-346, a variant of the M-345, for Canada’s lead-in trainer requirement.

However, the M-346 is a new breed of jet trainer altogether and its T-100 variant is even being pitched for the highly coveted U.S. Air Force (USAF) T-X advanced jet trainer program. So, for all the details on this state-of-the-art jet trainer, and its suitability for Ca­nadian requirements in particular, we urge you to read our Cover Story in this issue of CDR.

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