Christyn Cianfarani, president of the Canadian Association of Defence and Securities Industries (CADSI), officially opened CANSEC 2018 amid growing industry optimism stemming from new government momentum on a variety of procurement programmes. “We are in the early stages of the opportunity of a generation,” she told a packed audience at this annual must-attend event. “It will shape the Canadian Armed Forces for years to come and our industry along with it.”
CANSEC typically attracts more than 11,000 participants from 40 countries, nearly half of whom are public servants, military, coast guard and policing personnel. This makes it one of the top shows in the world. Canada’s ministers of defence, public services and procurement, and economic development were all expected to attend this year’s edition.
Cianfarani cited the Canadian government’s defence policy review, which listed an innovative defence industry as a top five domestic priority, as a particularly bullish development. “Whether it’s remotely piloted vehicles, Surface Combatants or surveillance and reconnaissance systems, Canadian industry is up for the challenge,” said Cianfarani. “Our people have the skills to set our Armed Forces up for success.
“Close to 35 per cent of our jobs are in STEM-related [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] fields, a research and development intensity that is more than four times the national manufacturing average,” said Cianfarani. “The future is bright.”
Canada’s Future Fighter and Canadian Surface Combatant programmes have recently seen new life. Earlier this year the Canadian government announced the names of five players that would be eligible to bid in a “fair and open” competition for a new fighter. The government also expects to make a decision on the winning bid for the $56-60 billion ship programme by the end of 2018.