Raytheon wins two Canadian Arctic radar contracts worth $30M

Massachusetts-based firm holds NWS contract sought after by Inuit companies

This map shows the extent of the North Warning System, as it was envisioned by Canada and the United States in 1987. The U.S. pays 60 per cent of the cost of the NWS, while Canada pays the other 40 per cent. (DND IMAGE)

By Jim Bell

Raytheon Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of the huge American defence contractor, Raytheon Co., has won two contracts worth a total of $30 million from the Canadian Department of National Defence, the company said Dec. 4

The contracts are to test the effect of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, on two over-the-horizon radar sites in the Canadian Arctic, the company said on Dec. 4.

“Should those tests prove successful, Canada may decide to build additional radar sites to monitor its increasingly accessible Arctic waterways,” Raytheon said.

Raytheon is the firm that won a big five-year contract in 2014 to operate and maintain the North Warning System, a string of 47 long- and short-range radar stations that extend from Labrador to Alaska.

Raytheon took that contract away from Nassituq Corp., which is owned by Atco Frontec of Edmonton and a group of Inuit birthright corporations called Pan Arctic Inuit Logistics Corporation, or “PAIL.”

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At the time, the federal government said their contract with Raytheon saved $13.8 million a year when compared with the Atco-PAIL deal.

The 2014 Raytheon contract required that Inuit benefits be equal to 13 per cent of the fixed value of the contract, compared with a 10 per cent requirement contained in the Atco-PAIL deal.

And the Raytheon contract said a mandatory minimum of 20 per cent of salaries be paid out to Inuit beneficiaries, a requirement that did not exist in the Atco-PAIL arrangement.

But that five-year deal, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is set to expire in about four months, on April 1, 2019

That likely explains why the same group of Inuit corporations who form PAIL met last week in Ottawa to announce the creation of the Inuit Development Corporation Association.

That body will lobby for federal government contracts—including operation and maintenance on the North Warning System .

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Also, the federal government anticipates that in a few years, the North Warning System will require a major upgrade, requiring billions in spending.

The Ottawa Citizen reporter David Pugliese reported last month that the current NWS is expected to become obsolete in 2025.

Meanwhile, a little-known entity within DND called Defence Research and Development Canada will use Raytheon’s work to do a feasibility study on how the aurora borealis affects the ability of radar to detect targets beyond line-of-sight, Raytheon said.

“A full over-the-horizon radar will monitor the Arctic, as those waters have become more accessible to shipping traffic,” said David Appel, director for mission systems at Raytheon.

A similar system, built and operated by Raytheon, already exists in Alaska.

For the future, Raytheon claims it will “work with Canadian suppliers to secure the Canadian north.”

“We understand the environment and can provide crucial technologies which may lead to significant long term economic growth,” said Terry Manion, Raytheon Canada’s vice-president and general manager.

Nasittuq Corp. still holds a contract to do site support and management at the Alert signals intelligence and weather monitoring station on Ellesmere Island.

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(2) Comments:

  1. Posted by Aaqiq on

    But if Inuit Corporations don’t have the expertise, experience and capacity to do the work, then they can’t expect to be granted contracts just because they’re Inuit. Military doesn’t have time for amateur organizations to figure it out on the fly.

  2. Posted by Fred Hunt on

    “Formed to replace PAIL”?? Since when did PAIL cease to exist?

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