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18 avril 2012 3 18 /04 /avril /2012 12:55
Canada’s Pullout from AWACS and NATO’s AGS. A Smart Move?



April 17, 2012. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch


The Canadian Forces hope to save at least $90-million a year by pulling out of NATO programs operating unmanned aerial vehicles as well as airborne early warning planes.


Defence Minister Peter MacKay gave U.S. officials a heads-up last year about the withdrawal, pointing out that it will free up 142 Canadians assigned to NATO for new jobs.


The shutdown of Canada’s contribution to NATO’s airborne warning aircraft, known as AWACS, will save about $50-million a year, according to DND records. Another $40-million a year will be saved as a result of Canada’s withdrawal from NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Program, which would see the purchase of advanced unmanned aerial vehicles (latest generation Global Hawks) to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering. Other DND documents Defence Watch has obtained indicate the savings could be higher than the $90 million. The move was conducted as part of the department’s contribution to the government’s Strategic Review.


Canada has been involved in NATO’s AWACS program for more than 25 years and the aircraft were seen as key to the alliance’s success during the recent war in Libya.


NATO also wants to ease the strain on the U.S. UAVs by having a pool of Global Hawks  at the alliance’s disposal.


Canada’s pull out from the UAV program will be done by the end of this month, the Defence Department told Defence Watch.


Do you think the pullout from AWACS and withdraw from AGS makes sense? There has been so much emphasis put on the importance of ISR collection in recent military operations, particularly during the Libyan war, that some officers have suggested to Defence Watch that this is a step in the wrong direction.

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