National Defence looking to protect VIPs from heat-seeking missiles
OTTAWA — The Canadian military is looking for an air defence system to protect its VIP aircraft, including the one used by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, from surface-to-air missiles.
And one of Israel’s top defence contractors, Elbit Systems Ltd., has been working behind-the-scenes for months to get in on the anticipated project. The downing of Malaysian Airlines jet MH-17 may have given defence officials more urgency.
The program is meant to deliver a system that will “defeat modern, man-portable infrared missiles.”
It’s part of the National Defence acquisition guide and intended for installation on the air force’s remaining C-144 Challengers as well as the existing fleet of C-150 Polaris aircraft, which includes the prime minister’s Airbus.
The timeline for buying such a system was originally set for 2020 and beyond.
But a government source says officials are taking a closer look at it in light of tragedy over eastern Ukraine and last week’s suspension of flights into Tel Aviv following Hamas rocket attacks near Ben Gurion International airport.