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New Canadian Forces radar worth more than $200 million can’t be linked in with NATO networks

July 16th, 2018 | by Richard Paul
New Canadian Forces radar worth more than $200 million can’t be linked in with NATO networks
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The Czech military has put on hold its deal for the same radars after NATO informed it the systems couldn’t be used because the equipment was built by a non-alliance member


The Canadian Army’s newest radar cannot link to NATO air defence networks but the Department of National Defence says it won’t cancel the order despite the problem.Photo courtesy of the Canadian Forces

The Canadian Army’s newest radar system can’t be linked in to NATO’s air defence networks but the military says it won’t cancel the project worth more than $200 million.

The Canadian Army is just now taking delivery of the first Israeli-built radars which are expected to be declared operational by the end of the summer.

But the Czech military has put on hold its deal for the same radars after NATO informed it the systems couldn’t be used because the equipment was built by a non-alliance member and couldn’t be integrated into NATO systems.

Czech Defence Minister Karla Slechtova has asked the country’s military police to look into how the procurement came about with Elta Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

Canada’s previous Conservative government ordered the same multi-mission radar, unveiling the contract at a Quebec firm shortly before the announcement of the 2015 federal election.

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Elta’s partner, Rheinmetall Canada Inc., will provide 10 of the radars as well as support the equipment in a deal that could be worth up to $243 million.


The Canadian Army’s newest radar cannot link to NATO air defence networks but the Department of National Defence says it won’t cancel the order despite that problem. Photo courtesy Canadian Forces Photo courtesy of the Canadian Forces

Department of National Defence spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande said Canada did not examine whether the medium range radar system could be integrated into NATO air defence systems as that is not currently a requirement for the Canadian Army.

Should this requirement emerge for Canada, DND would work with the prime contractor for the medium range radar, Rheinmetall Canada, to develop a solution

“While we can’t speculate on the particular Czech case, we can say that in our experience, it always poses a challenge to integrate a given complex system into a wider, even more complex system of systems,” she explained.

“Should this requirement emerge for Canada, DND would work with the prime contractor for the medium range radar, Rheinmetall Canada, to develop a solution or work-around to any possible system integration challenges that may arise.”

The medium range radar is designed to locate incoming hostile fire from artillery and mortars as well as monitor aircraft.

The first  system is undergoing testing at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB.

The Czech government received word from NATO in June that the Israeli system could not be integrated into NATO’s air defence network. “It is an extraordinary decision,” Andrej Babis, the country’s prime minister told journalists at the time.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, July 15, 2018. Ronen Zvulun/Pool via AP

Jane’s Defence Weekly reported that Babis had earlier consulted with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and was assured that one other NATO country, Canada, had bought the radar.

Lamirande said the radar is an important sensor for the Canadian Army to locate enemy fire as well as conduct air surveillance missions for ground troops. Although there is no current plan to integrate the radar into NATO’s systems, it is possible for the Canadian Army to share information captured by the sensor with NATO allies through “established standards.”

The army did not elaborate on what those standards were but for such sensors to be effective it is best for the systems to linked together in a network, defence analysts have pointed out.

Being part of a network allows various NATO militaries to see immediately what data is being collected by fellow alliance members.

Lamirande said Canada will not cancel the existing contract.

The Czechs were warned earlier this year about the radars and started then to look at the issue and consult with NATO.  “I will not accept such a major order without connecting [the radars] to NATO,” Slechtova told Czech journalists in March.

The country had planned to buy the radars to replace its obsolete Soviet-era systems.

Another NATO member, Turkey, has angered the alliance by purchasing a Russian-made air defence system that can’t be integrated in NATO’s networks. The U.S. is also concerned about Russia’s offer to help Turkey in deploying the system amid worries that confidential data and codes could be comprised.

The U.S. has warned Turkey that it could face sanctions for purchasing the Russian gear.

dpugliese@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/davidpugliese

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