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Former RCAF commander to head defence giant Lockheed Martin Canada


 

OTTAWA – The former commander who led NATO forces through the 2011 bombing and blockade of Libya has been appointed to head up the Canadian operations of Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the troubled F-35 fighter.

Retired lieutenant-general Charles Bouchard takes on the role at the U.S. defence giant effective immediately.

Bouchard, who is an officer of the Order of Canada, retired in April 2012 after nearly four decades with the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The stealth fighter program is clearly in trouble and the federal government could very well decide this fall to hold a full-blown competition, said retired air force colonel Paul Maillet, now a defence analyst.

It appears Bouchard, who was lauded by the Harper government for his leadership of the campaign, has been hired to seal the F-35 deal, Maillet said.

“My perception is they wouldn’t hire him for any other reason,” he said. “He is an air force general and it would be to try and gain whatever leverage they can, presumably if he is not in any violation of conflict-of-interest.”

Federal regulations mandate a one-year cooling-off period before senior officers who’ve left the military can take up corporate positions, or have significant dealings with the government.

Pat Dewar, executive vice-president at Lockheed Martin International, described Bouchard as a “tremendous leader” who will add a great deal of value to the company’s operations.

“Charles will facilitate access to Lockheed Martin’s broad portfolio of products and technologies to help Canada address its security and citizen service challenges,” Dewar said in a statement.

“We highly value our customers in Canada and we’re investing for long-term partnership and growth.”

Earlier this month, the company warned that Canada’s aerospace industry is at risk of losing about $10.5 billion worth of contracts over several decades if the federal government decides against the controversial F-35.

Orlando Carvalho, Lockheed Martin’s executive vice-president in charge of aeronautics, said the company will honour $500-million worth of business already awarded to Canadian partners but that other work would be in jeopardy without a Canadian jet order.

Lockheed estimates that the Canadian industry could potentially receive $11 billion of contracts over 25 to 40 years as its builds 3,000 planes for air forces around the world.

The company has been on an aggressive publicity blitz of late, Maillet noted, buying ad space in influential publications and even on transit buses in Ottawa to convince the public of the F-35’s value.

“It certainly is a push. They have a lot of marketing horsepower,” he said.

It has been almost 10 months since the Harper government declared it was hitting the “reset button” on the stealth fighter program and a secretariat at Public Works and Government Services Canada began studying alternative aircraft in detail.

The level of examination and the length of time spent to date suggests the Conservatives, whose fiscal credibility was sorely tested by the auditor general’s report into the procurement, are prepared to open up the CF-18 replacement to a full competition, Maillet said.

“Two or three years ago, I was worried the F-35 was a done deal; now I’m not so sure,” he said. “I think Lockheed Martin senses that, and they’re worried.”

The company researches, designs, develops and manufactures advanced technology systems, and reported net sales of $47.2 billion in 2012. Lockheed Martin Canada has more than 700 employees and offices located in Ottawa, Montreal, Calgary and Dartmouth, N.S.

The parent company is headquartered in Bethesda, Md., but has offices around the world and more than 100,000 workers.


 

Former RCAF commander to head defence giant Lockheed Martin Canada

  1. What a huge waste of Canadians wealth. The F35 program would be canceled by anyone that is sane and not corrupt.

    Hook Canadian taxpayers for a TCO cost of $60 billion for defective planes, refits, new armaments, training, spare parts, retooling of ground systems and duplication of skills on multiple planes…. so some back room lobbyists get $10B in deals?

    Thing too is new F18s are 1/3 or less the cost of a F35, fly faster, have less bugs, safer, carry more weapons and reliable, even works well with existing investments in munitions, training and ground support. Much better suited for Canada, but I guess isn’t suited for the political back room boys.

    Makes no economic sense other than to tax us poor and to line pockets of others. Even the US Navy isn’t buying the F35s and many countries have bailed. At least two other planes in production today can swat these F35s out of the air like mosquitoes. F35s are obsolete to their own “superiority” claims.

    What a sad waste.

    • If “Charles” just gave it a moment to consider what is good for Canada instead of what is good for him he would run, not walk, away from Lockheed Martin.

    • This comment was deleted.

      • At the spam factory : “Guys how’s that tiguan lure ad coming along? Wait, you guys are saying BRAND new? No no, nobody will believe it. Say almost new. More people will click the link if we say almost new. And say that it’s black. That’s a cool colour for a tiguan”.

  2. Helicopter pilot is now an expert on fighter jets.

  3. Thus he lives the ideal career path. 37 years on the public payroll, pension and then lots more cash to lobby his old subordinates or primarily in this case collude with them to get the government to buy a aircraft we don’t need.

  4. If the Harper government doesn’t go through with the F-35 contract, will Bouchard be out on his ear, or is this just an insurance policy for Lockheed-Martin? Gee, we’re getting more and more like the US every day, attack ads, voter fraud, paid lobbyists, crooked Senators and now our own little burgeoning Military-Industrial complex featuring co-opted former Canadian military brass.
    What’s next, the Alberta Wild Rose Party goes national and calls themselves the Wild Rose Tea Party?

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