Monday, December 24, 2007

Aurora redux

Remember this?

Well it seems common sense has prevailed:
[brackets, bolds and italics mine]
The Department of National Defence today confirmed its commitment to the Aurora fleet through continued modernization and structural upgrades, keeping the aircraft flying until 2020. As part of the Government of Canada’s pledge to ensure the Canadian Forces have the equipment they need and provide value for taxpayers’ dollars, the Aurora modernization will ensure that the CF continues to protect Canada’s maritime and northern sovereignty.

“The Department will capitalize on these investments by upgrading the structure on the majority of the fleet,” said the Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency [me: title much? I'm sure they'd add " ...and the realms beyond the seas..." if Petey could get away with it. Pompous git. Or maybe this is a bit of DND writer cheek.]. “The investment will keep the aircraft safe and operationally viable until 2020.”

“I am pleased to let our Aurora communities know that this valuable information gathering aircraft will continue its proud legacy,” said Lieutenant-General Angus Watt, the Chief of the Air Staff. “The Aurora will provide the Air Force with a significant surveillance capability until such time as a future replacement capability is acquired.”

As part of its reexamination of long-term projects, the Department has rescinded a work suspension and moved forward with the next phase of Aurora modernization which will incorporate radar, computer and other systems on Aurora aircraft. Core structural upgrades will also be carried out to ensure the longevity and safe operation of these 10 aircraft.

Three aircraft have been delivered under phase two of the fleet modernization program and three are undergoing these communication and navigation upgrades. The prototype aircraft for the third phase is in for a two-year modification and testing period, and is expected to fly in early 2009.

The Air Force and Navy are assessing and defining their needs for a long-range maritime surveillance aircraft to succeed the Aurora. Technology upgrades already made in the fleet may be transferred and reinvested in the replacement aircraft.

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