Lightweight ballistic protection among ideas as Ottawa rolls out $1.6B fund for defence and security threats
Defence minister makes call for proposals in Calgary aimed boosting protection and security for Canadians
The federal government is launching a $1.6-billion fund to solve pressing challenges facing the Canadian Armed Forces in the areas of surveillance, artificial intelligence and remote pilot systems.
National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was in Calgary Monday to announce the first call for proposals, which is seeking projects to fill 16 defence and security gaps, from improving ballistic missile protection for soldiers to identifying objects in space.
"Through this program, our government will look beyond the traditional defence community and scientists, and look to all Canadians to find the solutions we need to support,, equip and train our service members," Sajjan said at the University of Calgary.
The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program will reach out to academics in university labs, scientists in private corporations and other experts to compete in a series of bids over the next 20 years.
Ottawa expects to spend $313 million in the first five years, beginning with $50 million to cover the first call for proposals. Those who are interested in the opening round have six weeks to submit their proposed approaches to the 16 challenges.
The first call for proposals will address a wide range of challenges in security and defence, including projects that:
- Prevent, assess and treat post-traumatic stress among armed forces members,
- Ramp up recruitment to have women represent 25 per cent of the armed forces ranks by 2026,
- Monitor underwater threats to Canadian coasts,
- Identify the source of malicious cyber activity,
- Monitor releases of chemical, biological and radiological hazards.
The first contracts are expected to be awarded in the fall.
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