March 14, 2012

A possible solution to Canada’s long, long search for new search-and-rescue aircraft

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Cancon, Military, USA — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 11:46

David Akin in the Toronto Sun:

Here’s the back story: For nearly a decade, the Department of National Defence has had cabinet approval to go out and spend $3.1 billion on new search-and-rescue planes. That’s a big contract and several aircraft vendors wanted to win that deal.

Aircraft makers and their lobbyists knew which buttons to push within DND but also at other key government departments such as Public Works and Government Services and at Industry Canada.

The goal of the lobbyists was to rig the bid so only their plane could win.

Pulled eight ways to Sunday by the heavy lobbying, the bureaucrats at three departments kept pushing pieces of paper at each other but never got close to making some purchase decisions.

Now, with the possibility that the search-and-rescue purchase process could be tied up in the bureaucracy for yet another year (followed by delivery of planes years after that!) the government may be ready to slice through this Gordian Knot and simply turn to our American allies to pick up most of their fleet of C-27 Spartans.

Apparently one of the remaining hurdles to be cleared is that the manufacturer of the Spartan aircraft, Alenia Aermacchi, is trying to prevent the sale and is even threatening not to provide spare parts or service to any country that buys the aircraft from the US. I have no idea why, but I’m sure there’s a reason for it.

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