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CDR Names GDLS-C Canada’s Best Defence Company for 2016

When General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada, invited CDR to tour its London, Ontario plant earlier this year we expected to see the types of metal stamping equipment associated with an old line heavy equipment manufacturer but what we found instead was a gleaming, ultra modern, high tech facility utilizing the very latest in laser metal cutters and specialized welding techniques to fabricate its signature military vehicles like the iconic LAV 3 and the new LAV 6.0.

As you will learn from Tim Mahon’s comprehensive profile in this issue on CDR’s # 1 ranked Defence Company for 2016, GDLS-C, led by Canadian, Danny Deep, is a world leader in its field of armoured military vehicles and it employs over 4,000 Canadians at its facilities in London and Edmonton, Alberta.

The spotlight fell on GDLS-C rather prominently when it recently announced a massive contract, with an un-named middle east customer thought to be worth in the region of $10 billion, one of the biggest ever for a Canadian defence company. While GDLS-C has not disclosed who its customer is, it’s been reported that Saudi Arabia is the buyer and that has caused some controversy due to that nation’s record on human rights.

But, the fact is that GDLS-C’s middle eastern customer could have bought those vehicles anywhere in the world but they came to this Canadian-based manufacturer to obtain the very latest in military vehicle technology so let’s applaud this proud Canadian company for a very impressive achievement in landing this contract. And, by the way, make no mistake about it, this subsidiary of U.S. based, General Dynamics IS a proud Canadian company, in fact, as you will read in Tim’s story, the company’s motto is, “Canadian Without Compromise”.

This will mark the second time that GDLS-C has held the coveted # 1 position in CDR’s Top 50 Defence Companies survey, having last achieved this accomplishment back in 2008, but we singled out the company for recognition this time not just for its recent international contracts and its development of the groundbreaking LAV 6.0. We think GDLS-C deserves the appellation of Canada’s best defence company for a whole panoply of reasons, not the least of which is its very strong contribution to Canada’s economy.

The company is a strong contributor to Canada’s global balance of trade, with 86% of its revenues coming from exports and beyond its impressive payroll the company is also a significant booster to local and regional economies where many companies benefit from sub-contracts with GDLS-C.

So, for all the reasons mentioned above and more, we feel GDLS-C is a very worthy selection as Canada’s # 1 Defence Company and the best news is that, with significant investment in R & D and infrastructure, this is a company that has positioned itself well for future growth, so we look for much more from this fine Canadian defence company in the months and years ahead.



This is now the 13th edition of CDR’s survey of Canada’s Top 50 Defence Companies and it has been our mission from the outset to draw attention to the many innovative companies in this sector that not only contribute to Canada’s economy but also provide critically important products and services to Canada’s military.

This year we had no trouble at all injecting new blood into the survey with the addition of companies like OMX, an innovative supply chain management software company (profiled in CDR last year), that is revolutionizing the way prime contractors source and respond to bids. And also there was Logistik, a leader in the supply of military uniforms of all kinds as well as CarteNav (see profile in this issue) which is a Halifax-based sensor management company that helps leverage ISR capabilities.  



Another Canadian company that is a leader in its field is Montreal-based, CAE and it has partnered up with Draken International, one of the world’s biggest private operators of tactical military aircraft, to propose a solution for the RCAF’s CATS program. As you will learn from the Cover Story written by Senior Staff Writer, Joetey Attariwala, in this issue, this is a marriage made in heaven.

For this story, Attariwala visited Draken International’s facility in Lakeland, Florida where the company operates a fleet of modern, tactical aircraft including the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk acquired from the New Zealand Air Force and the Aero L-39 Albatross acquired from the Czech Air Force. For our report, we talked to company CEO, Jared Issacman, the wunderkind founder of payment processing company, Harbortouch, who goes by the call sign “Rook” when flying one of his jets.

And, of course CAE now runs NFTC (NATO Flying Training Services), having acquired that business from Bombardier early in 2015, so that combined with Draken’s extensive experience working with the USAF, means this team is ideally positioned to take on the 10 year contract to provide contracted air services to the RCAF. For all the details on the CAE/Draken team’s bid for CATS, we urge you to read the very informative Cover Story in this issue of CDR.   

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