Canadian Army wants to acquire new weapons by learning lessons from Ukraine

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The Canadian Army wants to acquire new weapons by learning from Ukraine

Canadian soldiers are deployed in Latvia for a NATO mission.

The war in Ukraine highlighted critical deficiencies in the Canadian Army's ability to fight and survive on a battlefield, leading to an unforeseen rush to purchase new military equipment.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, the commander of the Canadian army, Lieutenant-General Jocelyn Paul, explains that it is a question of purchasing in particular anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as protection systems against drones.

Mr. Paul adds that the “army” also hopes to buy the kinds of long-range precision missile systems that have given Ukrainian forces a clear advantage over their Russian enemies, as well as advanced technology. state-of-the-art command and control.

“These capabilities are having a major impact right now in Ukraine,” said the Commanding Officer of the Command and Control Unit. Land Force. We're paying a lot of attention to that right now.

—Lieutenant General Jocelyn Paul

The new systems the military is rushing to buy were not in the Liberal government's defense policy when it was released five years ago. But Mr. Paul says the Canadian Armed Forces have carefully studied the fighting that has raged in Ukraine since Russia invaded in February, sparking the biggest war in Europe in a generation.

As a result, the military has identified gaps in its equipment, including the need for weapons to defend against traditional threats, like tanks and planes, but also new threats, like drones. . I am advancing on these three planes to meet my truly immediate needs, said Lt. Gen. Paul.

Not all of the shortcomings highlighted recently are new, however. Thus, the Canadian Army repeatedly warned that it needed weapons and other means of defense to protect Canadian soldiers from air attack. There have indeed been plans for years to purchase a new system, but little has changed.

With the war in Europe, however, there is now a feeling of d& #x27;emergency, especially as the Canadian Army prepares to send hundreds more troops to Latvia to reinforce a Canadian-led NATO battle group designed to help protect Eastern Europe in the event of a larger war with Moscow.

Although the details of the planned reinforcement are still under discussion, Canada is committed as part of this effort to acquire and deploy anti-tank weapons, anti-drone and air defense systems, ammunition and explosives.

Commander Paul indicated that the military wanted to purchase man-portable anti-aircraft missiles first, in order to meet the broader need to protect against air attacks, while working towards a more comprehensive system in the medium term.

The war in Ukraine also revealed the advantage of long-range missile systems that can strike with precision, Paul said. The United States donated such weapons to the Ukrainian Army and they have proven decisive on the battlefield.

The Canadian Army currently relies on M777 howitzers for artillery support. They provide coverage of approximately 30 to 40 kilometers.

Reach is important, the Army commander reminded.

“The nature of war is changing. So we have to be in a position where the zone of influence of a battle group or a brigade is more around 100 to 125 kilometers.

—Lieutenant General Jocelyn Paul

The evolving nature of warfare has also shown the need for the general staff to have a better sense of what is happening on the battlefield and to have the ability to issue orders and control units in real time. This will involve artificial intelligence and other advanced calculations.

You need hundreds of sensors and you have to be able to take the data and process it quickly, said the lieutenant general. We have to take advantage of the machine.

Furthermore, he admits that one of the real challenges in obtaining the equipment is that many of Canada's allies have arrived at the same conclusions and getting ready to buy the same hardware.

We're looking at options, we're looking at what's available, he said. Bearing in mind that all western democracies are currently knocking on the doors of the same companies trying to procure the same weapon systems.

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