Lab Canada

Aerospace and defence companies in BC receive R&D funding

Richmond, BC July 15, 2003 The federal government is providing nearly C$20 million in funding to support cutting-edge research in four aerospace and defence companies in British Columbia. The announcement was made yesterday by Allan Rock, minister of industry, and Herb Dhaliwal, minister of natural resources. The investments are being made through Technology Partnerships Canada.

MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates is receiving $9.85 million for research into systems, mission and process engineering skills for small satellite missions involving space vehicles and payloads of less than 800 kilograms, with the goal of developing new applications of satellite technology in areas such as forestry and agriculture.

Until now, these small or lightweight satellites have been used primarily for experimental or scientific missions with less formal engineering processes, and less stringent qualification procedures and standards than those employed for larger satellites. As part of a larger $32.8-million research and development project at the company, this project is expected to create or maintain 93 high-quality jobs and increase work for subsystem suppliers across the country over its duration. MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates already employs more than 1,500 people in Richmond, Brampton, Ottawa and Halifax.

Raytheon Canada is receiving $5.59 million to develop new technologies for air traffic management, to meet the future needs of both civilian and military applications, while providing increased safety. The funding is part of a $16.9-million project that is expected to create or maintain 210 high-quality jobs over its duration. Raytheon Canada employs more than 1,500 people in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

Avcorp Industries is receiving $3.19-million to support advanced R&D for aircraft components. The funding is part of a $10.6-million project to develop the design and engineering skills needed to create advanced flight control surface structures and to help meet and exceed the aerospace industry’s growing requirements in aircraft components. The project is expected to create or maintain 181 high-quality jobs over its duration. The firm employs 380 people at its facility in Delta, BC.

Trail-based Firebird Semiconductors is receiving $1.14-million in materials for industrial and military infrared imaging and seeking systems, specifically to develop the world’s first 100-millimetre indium antimonide wafer. As part of a $2.86-million project, the federal government is partnering in the development of larger-sized wafers that will create the greater economies required by customers and allow Canadian-made Firebird material to meet the exacting specifications of the next-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. This innovative project involves growing larger InSb crystals than have ever been produced before, and cutting and polishing them while maintaining necessarily stringent quality standards. This project is expected to create or maintain 19 high-quality jobs over its duration. Firebird Semiconductors employs 12 people at its Trail, BC, facility.

“These investments are critical to the aerospace industry," says Peter R Smith, President, Aerospace Industries Association of Canada. "They will help sustain Canada’s technological leadership, and create new opportunities for growth in British Columbia and across the country."

The federal government says its support of research and development projects with these British Columbia partners will leverage over $47 million in private sector investments.