Backgrounder: Investments to Enhance Capability and Capacity
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) must be ready and able to deliver across a spectrum of operations – from domestic humanitarian assistance and disaster response to counter-terrorism and peace support operations, to high intensity combat operations.
To achieve this, the CAF requires targeted and strategic investment in capabilities and equipment that can be used on domestic and international military operations. The CAF must be a multi-purpose military force able to offer the Government, Canadians, and our partners and allies a broad range of options to respond in an uncertain security environment. Without investment in capabilities, our ability to defend Canada and respond to emerging threats is at risk.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will renew, replace, and maintain core equipment, and continue to support Canada’s multi-role, combat-ready defence force. The modernized capabilities and equipment provided through Canada’s defence policy will improve CAF readiness and responsiveness, and support Canada’s ability to play its part in the world. These investments will ensure the CAF is able to defend Canadians at home and work with our allies and partners abroad. This approach builds strong, healthy communities and secure jobs, and enhances quality of life. Providing the men and women of the CAF with the necessary equipment and resources allows them to do their job with high levels of professional and personal satisfaction.
Strong, Secure, Engaged will:
- Invest in modern defence for Canada;
- Provide secure, stable, long-term, predictable funding for Defence;
- Defend Canadians at home and demonstrate leadership in the world;
- Enable the CAF to become more capable, diverse, multi-purpose, and self-sustaining;
- Create a more strategically relevant, combat-ready force that will anticipate, adapt, and act within a constantly changing security environment;
- Replace and modernize core land, sea, and air capabilities, as well as invest in joint enablers (space, cyber, intelligence) to ensure the CAF has the modern capabilities to succeed on operations; and
- Ensure interoperability with key allies and partners, through NORAD, NATO, and the Five Eyes community to enable effective operations.
Investments in the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN)
The RCN will continue to be a blue water Navy, capable of operating globally across the deep waters of open oceans, and conducting the spectrum of maritime operations from humanitarian response and disaster relief to combat. Enabling responsive, resilient and agile projection of naval power anywhere in the world, the Naval Task Group, a fully networked, globally deployable, and tactically self-sufficient team of up to four naval combatant vessels and a support ship, with its own embarked Command Staff and maritime aircraft, will continue to be the core RCN operating concept. Naval Task Groups are able to engage in a wide range of missions, independently or with allied forces.
Today’s security environment requires that Canada have a Navy that is: designed and structured to operate in some of the most extreme ocean conditions; networked and interoperable with our partners and allies; and organized and sized to project power responsively and effectively far from Canada’s shores.
Through Strong, Secure, Engaged the Government will deliver the capabilities the RCN needs to meet future defence and security challenges, both at home and abroad, and to carry out the tasks required of a modern navy.
- Replace the surface fleet through investments in 15 Canadian Surface Combatants. Defence conducted a year-long re-costing of the Surface Combatants. This involved private sector firms as well as international experts, such as the U.S. Navy. Based on this review, Defence estimates the cost of 15 ships at between $56 - $60 billion. The policy sets aside funding to deliver the full complement of ships the Navy needs to provide capability across the full range of operations. They will replace both the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates with a single class of ship capable of meeting multiple threats on both the open ocean and the highly complex coastal (littoral) environment;
- Acquire new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, upgraded armament, and additional systems for current and future platforms allowing for more effective offensive and defensive naval capabilities;
- Upgrade lightweight torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters, and maritime patrol aircraft;
- Modernize the Victoria-class submarines – a vital capability to both the defence of Canada and protection of Canadian naval assets in deployed operations, providing stealth sea control and sea denial capabilities;
And as previously announced:
- Two Joint Support Ships – will be critical to the mobility of maritime forces and the enabling of sustained international deployments. These ships will provide core replenishment capabilities for supplies such as food, fresh water, and ammunition, as well as capacity for sealift and increased support to forces ashore; and
- Five to six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships – will significantly enhance CAF capabilities and presence in the Arctic and augment presence on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. These vessels will better enable the RCN to assert and enforce Arctic sovereignty. They will provide operational capability in the north further into the navigable Arctic season between June and October.
Investments in the Canadian Army
The Canadian Army is a highly-trained, agile, and professional force that can deploy anything from a single soldier all the way up to a large-scale formation of troops. This provides the Government with a scalable, flexible, and highly responsive range of military land capabilities. Strong, Secure, Engaged enables the Canadian Army to recapitalize and sustain many core capabilities, modernize vehicle fleets and weapons systems, as well as maintain interoperability with allies and an advantage over potential adversaries.
- Acquire ground-based air defence systems and associated munitions capable of protecting all land-based force elements from enemy airborne weapons;
- Modernize weapons effects simulation to better prepare soldiers for combat operations;
- Replace the family of armoured combat support vehicles, which includes command vehicles, ambulances, and mobile repair teams;
- Modernize the fleet of Improvised Explosive Device Detection and Defeat capabilities;
- Acquire communications, sustainment, and survivability equipment for the Army light forces, including improved lightweight radios and soldier equipment;
- Upgrade the light armoured vehicle fleet to improve mobility and survivability;
- Modernize logistic vehicles, heavy engineer equipment, and light utility vehicles;
- Invest in modernized equipment and systems to improve the Army’s ability to operate in remote regions. Investments include: communications, shelters, power generation, advanced water purification systems, and equipment for austere environments;
- Modernize land-based command and control, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems; and
- Acquire all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, and larger tracked semi-amphibious utility vehicles optimized for use in the Arctic environment.
Investments in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)
The RCAF is an integrated, flexible, and highly responsive force that is able to project air power and support CAF and allied operations globally. Strong, Secure, Engaged ensures the Air Force is capable of a wide range of operations such as: space-based surveillance of Canadian territory and approaches; 24/7 aerial search and rescue; and assisting civil authorities as needed. RCAF space-based and aviation capabilities must be integrated, able to adapt to the latest technology, and interoperable with our allies.
- Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft, through an open and transparent competition, to improve CAF air control and air attack capability. This will allow us to fully meet both our NORAD and NATO commitments simultaneously;
- Acquire space capabilities meant to improve situational awareness and targeting, including:
- Replacement of the current RADARSAT system to improve the identification and tracking of threats and improve situational awareness of routine traffic in and through Canadian territory;
- Sensors capable of identifying and tracking debris in space that threatens Canadian and allied space-based systems (surveillance of space); and
- Space-based systems that will enhance and improve tactical narrow- and wide-band communications globally, including throughout Canada’s Arctic region.
- Acquire new Tactical Integrated Command, Control, and Communications; radio cryptography; and other necessary communications systems;
- Replace the CC-150 Polaris with next generation strategic air-to-air tanker transport;
- Replace the CC-138 Twin Otter with utility transport aircraft;
- Replace the CP-140 Aurora with next generation multi-mission aircraft;
- Invest in medium altitude remotely piloted systems;
- Modernize short-range air-to-air missiles (fighter aircraft armament);
- Upgrade air navigation, management, and control systems;
- Acquire new aircrew training systems;
- Recapitalize or extend the life of existing capabilities in advance of the arrival of next generation platforms;
- Sustain domestic Search and Rescue capability, to include life extension of existing systems, acquisition of new platforms, and greater integration with partners; and
- Operationalize the newly acquired Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft fleet.
In addition, the Government continues to explore the potential acquisition of an interim aircraft to supplement the CF-18 fighter aircraft fleet until the completion of the transition to the permanent replacement aircraft.
Investments in Special Operations Forces and Joint Capabilities
The Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) is a highly-skilled, adaptable, multipurpose force that can be called upon in situations that pose imminent threats to the national interest.
Joint capabilities facilitate the improved command and control of deployed CAF elements.
The investments made in special operations forces (SOF) and joint capabilities by Canada’s defence policy will support their unique requirements to ensure long-term continuity and effectiveness.
- Increase SOF by adding 605 personnel;
- Acquire airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance platforms;
- Recapitalize existing commercial pattern, SUV-type armoured vehicles;
- Modernize and enhance SOF Command, Control, and Communications information systems, and computer defence networks;
- Enhance next generation SOF integrated soldier system equipment, land and maritime mobility platforms, and fighting vehicle platforms;
- Invest in joint command and control systems and equipment, specifically for integrated information technology and communications;
- Acquire joint signals capabilities that improve the military’s ability to collect and exploit electronic signals intelligence on expeditionary operations;
- Improve capabilities of the Joint Deployable Headquarters (HQ) and Signals Regiment, including HQ portable structures and command, control, and communications equipment;
- Improve cryptographic, information operations, and cyber capabilities to include:
- Cyber security and situational awareness projects;
- Cyber threat identification and response;
- Development of military-specific information operations; and
- Development of military-specific offensive cyber operations capabilities able to target, exploit, influence, and attack in support of military operations.
- Improve Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosive detection and response capabilities.
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