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SkyAlyne Canada awarded $11.2 billion training contract for RCAF

May 30, 2024  By Helicopters Staff


The twin-engine Airbus H135s. (Photo: Jonny Carroll/Airbus)

Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, on May 29 at the CANSEC defence trade show in Ottawa announced significant investments to equip the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with new platforms for training and operations at home and abroad.

Blair announces billions in training, equipment deals at military trade show

The announcement includes the award of a 25-year contract valued at $11.2 billion to SkyAlyne Canada Limited Partnership for the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program. Through this contract, Canada will acquire over 70 training aircraft in total, split into five fleets. These include fleets of Grob G120TP, Pilatus PC-21, Beechcraft King Air 260, Airbus Helicopters H-135, and De Havilland Dash 8-400 equipped with a mission training system in the cabin.

Today’s investment, explained the federal government, is part of the largest recapitalization of the RCAF since the Second World War. Since 2022 alone, the Government of Canada has finalized the procurement or upgrade of approximately 140 new aircraft for the RCAF, highlighted by F-35 fighters and P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft.

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The contract will also include classroom instruction, simulator and flight training, as well as numerous on-site support activities for prospective RCAF Pilots, Air Combat Systems Officers, and Airborne Electronic Sensor Operators. Training under this new contract will continue to take place at key RCAF Wings in Saskatchewan and Manitoba; and is expected to begin in spring 2029.

“Nothing is more important than our people,” said Lieutenant-General Eric Kenny, Commander, Royal Canadian Air Force. “We must modernize our training systems as we are modernizing our front-line equipment and weapons systems. The Future Aircrew Training program will do that by incorporating the latest training concepts and technologies and adapting to emerging trends to ensure Royal Canadian Air Force personnel can operate and win in highly contested and increasingly complex theatres of operation.”

The FAcT Program, explains the government of Canada, has the potential to create or maintain 3,400 jobs and contribute $405 million annually into Canada’s gross domestic product over a 25-year period.

Minister Blair also announced that Canada is investing up to $2.58 billion (including taxes) to acquire and maintain a new fleet of logistics vehicles for the Canadian Army. Canada has awarded contracts to General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada in a joint venture with Marshall Canada, for the Logistics Vehicle Modernization (LVM) project. This project will provide the CAF with a new fleet of more than 1,000 light trucks and approximately 500 heavy trucks, as well as associated equipment such as armoured protection kits, modules, containers, and trailers.

The LVM project has the potential to create or maintain 1,550 jobs and contribute $200 million to Canada’s GDP over an eight-year period.

“Today’s investments demonstrate that when we work collaboratively with Canadian industry partners, we can provide our troops with the tools that they need to do their jobs – and support good jobs right across Canada,” said Blair. “With these projects, and through our renewed vision for defence, Our North, Strong and Free, we are committed to building an even stronger relationship with industry, founded on transparency and trust.”

The FAcT program will use existing RCAF training sites. Initial aircrew training for pilots, air combat system officers, and airborne electronic sensor operators will be conducted at 15 Wing Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, and 402 Squadron, at 17 Wing Winnipeg, Manitoba. The new FAcT contract will replace training services currently provided through in-house delivery by the RCAF, as well as two separate contracts:

A $4.6 billion, 25-year contract with CAE Military Aviation Training awarded in May 1998 and expiring in 2028 (including an option-year), for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Flying Training in Canada program, which operates out of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; and
A $1.8 billion, 22-year contract with Allied Wings, awarded in 2005 and expiring in 2027, for the Contracted Flying Training and Support program, which operates out of Southport Aerospace Centre near Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.

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