Canada to Cancel $55M CF-18 Fighter Jet Radar Systems Contract with Thales

At the end of last week, word broke that the Canadian government is reportedly planning on cancelling a USD$55 million contract with Thales Canada to deliver new radar units in order to support its CF-18 fighter jet squadrons in Cold Lake, Alberta and Bagotville, Quebec. Signed in November of 2010, the deal called for Thales Canada to deliver two Ground Master (GM 400) air-defense tactical-control radar systems, scheduled to begin in 2013. According to Defense Department documents, costs of the equipment had increased to over USD$78 million which led to the Public Works Department being called in to negotiate with Thales and try to resolve the issue.

Unfortunately, a resolution could not be reached and according to Public Works spokeswoman Annie Trapanier, "In February 2015, Canada and Thales reached agreement in principle to terminate this contract by mutual consent. Public Works is working with Department of National Defense (DND) to identify an appropriate path forward to meet their long-term capability needs on this project." Negotiations for a final termination agreement are still in the works.

This is not the first time a Thales Canada deal has gone bad. According to analysts, this botched deal adds to other sour deals such as the high-profile F-35 Stealth Fighter project, Cyclone helicopter purchase for replacing Sea Kings and used British submarines. Thales’ GM 400 offers detection from very high to very low altitudes. It can also track a wide range of targets, from highly maneuverable tactical aircraft flying at very low altitudes to the unconventional small radar cross-section devices, such as unmanned aerial vehicles or cruise missiles. The Ground Master 400 has already been selected by 10 countries, among them Finland, Estonia, France, Malaysia Slovenia, Germany and Canada.

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