Doubling the size of Canada’s fighter jet purchase, purchasing 12 submarines, and a procuring a plethora of other military equipment are just some of the recommendations made earlier this week by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in part two of its Defence Policy Report.
The report, “Reinvesting in the Canadian Armed Forces: A Plan for the Future,” specifically outlines a procurement plan to equip the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) with the necessary tools to do its job here and abroad.
“We’re in a different environment right now. Things have changed, and if we don’t really deal with the issues of underfunding in defence and if we don’t look at issues head-on, we will become a weaker partner; weaker than what we are. And the time has come now when we really have to stand up to our responsibilities,” said Senator Mobina Jaffer, Deputy Chair of the committee, during a press conference.
The report outlines a number of procurement projects covering the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), Canadian Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
Most notably, the defence committee has advised the government to cancel their project of purchasing an interim fleet of Boeing Super Hornet jet fighters and instead focus on replacing the RCAF’s entire fleet of CF-18. The report suggests the replacement warplane should be the F-35 stealth fighter.
Amongst the other recommendations for each of the elements of the CAF, the report has suggested the government replace 55 of the Griffon helicopters with military helicopters that have the speed and lift capacity to support military needs and add 24 attack helicopters; upgrade the Cormorant (VH-71) fleet of helicopters and temporarily station them on each coast while the Cormorants (CH-149) undergo upgrades; and increase the fighter jet fleet to 120 jets.
For the RCN, the report has recommended the government build a fleet of 12 new submarines equipped with air independent population systems and 18 surface combatants.
The report has also called for the government to expedite the acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles fleet and an additional 60 upgraded LAV III light armoured vehicles.
Additionally, the national security and defence committee urged for a greater inclusion of minorities and support to women, especially in regards to Operation HONOUR.
“Our troops are our greatest resources and we must take the necessary steps to remove barriers to their inclusion,” said Jaffer.
Monday’s report builds on the defence committee’s last report tabled in April. That report recommended the government increase defence spending from .88 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to 2 per cent GDP by 2028. It also called for fixing the procurement system and increasing cross-party support for the military.
It’s reported that the committee’s latest report is receiving bipartisan approval. However, the report is non-binding on the federal government.