Decision to withdraw from NATO surveillance programs to hurt Cdn contracts | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Decision to withdraw from NATO surveillance programs to hurt Cdn contracts

August 05, 2013 - 12:48 PM

OTTAWA - The Harper government's decision to cancel Canadian participation in two NATO surveillance programs will cost contracts in the country's aerospace industry.

National Defence was hoping to save as much as $90 million per year by withdrawing from the jointly owned and operated Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) and the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS), a fairly new program that utilizes drones to monitor the battlefield.

Yet, documents released to The Canadian Press under access to information legislation show that taking part has meant a bonanza of tens of millions of dollars in annual contracts for at least half a dozen high-tech Canadian companies.

With the Canadian military no longer part of the sharing arrangement, those companies will be shut out of further bidding and not allowed to renew their existing contracts.

Between 1992 and 2010, Canada contributed $161 million towards depot level maintenance of NATO's AWACS fleet, but Canadian companies in turn received $180 million in contracts as part of the service package.

The country's military representative at NATO says the withdrawal decision is about finding a better way for the government to focus defence spending.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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