The Canadian Army is joining several NATO and allied nations overhauling their land forces electronic warfare capabilities.
The Canadian Forces Land Electronic Warfare Modernisation (CFLEWM) project kicked off in January 2019. It will modernise the Canadian Army’s Electronic Warfare (EW) systems and electronic support measures. These capabilities will support land forces at brigade and below levels. They will also support Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy assets, according to official documents seen by Armada. The Canadian government expects to spend between $190 million to $379 million on the CFLEWM.
Industry responded to a letter of interest sent to prospective suppliers in February 2019 by Canada’s Public Services and Procurement office. A written statement supplied to Armada by the Canadian Department of National Defence stated that a Request for Information (RFI) was subsequently sent to industry in May 2020. Meetings then took place this July with several unnamed suppliers “to inform the project’s possible solutions and related costs.” The CFLEWM will enter a definition phase in 2021/2022 and an implementation phase in 2024/2025 when the department expects the contract award to be made. An initial operational capability for the CFLEWM is expected between 2026 and 2027, with the full operational Capability following by 2031.
21st Electronic Warfare Regiment
In the Canadian Army EW is the preserve of the 21st Electronic Warfare Regiment headquartered in Kingston, Ontario. The regiment comprises the 211th, 212th and 215th EW Squadrons, the reserve 214th EW Squadron, the 218th Combat Service Support Squadron and the regimental headquarters. The Canadian Army’s land EW doctrine states that a squadron will typically provide EW support for a single division or two brigade-sized formations.
EW platforms and systems operated by the regiment include General Dynamics LAV-III/IV Bison eight-wheel drive armoured personnel carriers configured for Very/Ultra High Frequency (30 megahertz/MHz to three gigahertz) Communications Intelligence (COMINT) collection and electronic attack. One of these vehicles supports each EW Squadron. They are thought to be equipped with the AN/MRD-505 Advanced Electronic Reconnaissance Intelligence Evaluation System (AERIES). Official documents state that six examples of this equipment entered service in 1995. The equipment is primarily used for the collection of COMINT across wavebands of 20 megahertz/MHz to 500MHz at ranges of up to 25 kilometres (16 miles). Given the age of the AN/MRD-505 it would not be surprising if the replacement of this equipment is a major priority for the CFLEMW undertaking.
In each squadron the LAV-III/IV Bison vehicles are tasked with supporting ‘heavy’ EW missions, for example, supporting armoured manoeuvre. They are complemented in this role by a single AM General High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) also tasked with HF COMINT and electronic attack in support of heavy EW. The ‘light’ component of each EW Squadron includes one Iveco VM-90 LSVW support vehicle believed to be configured for High Frequency (HF: three megahertz/MHz to 30MHz) COMINT gathering and electronic attack. Other light EW assets in each squadron include a second HMMWV configured for V/UHF COMINT collection and electronic attack.