World News – CA – Bombardier suspends delivery of aircraft engines used in military drones


A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone is shown with its WESCAM MX-15D sensor and targeting system under the belly The drone is powered by a Rotax engine produced by the Austrian subsidiary of Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) ( Birol Bebek / AFP / Getty Images)

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) says it has suspended the delivery of aircraft engines to « countries whose use is unclear » following reports that some of these engines are being used on drones. Turkish fighters deployed by Azerbaijan in the fight against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh

The Quebec-based company – best known for its Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles – said it learned late last week that some of the pleasure craft engines produced by its Austrian subsidiary Rotax were used on the Unmanned Turkish Bayraktar TB2 air vehicles (UAVs)

« We were recently informed that certain Rotax engines are currently in use in military drones and we immediately launched a full investigation, » Martin Langelier, senior vice president of BPR and company spokesperson, said at Radio Canada International in an email press release

Langelier added that all Rotax aircraft engines are designed and produced in Austria exclusively for civilian use and are certified for civilian use only

A Turkish drone armed with missiles is seen patrolling the sky near Turkey’s border with Syria (Rami Al Sayed / AFP via Getty Images)

Canada suspended most defense technology exports to Turkey in October 2019 following Turkey’s invasion of northwestern Syria

Michel Cimpaye, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said exports of items on the country’s export control list require a permit only when exported from Canada

Controlled products and technologies exported from another country are, however, subject to that country’s export controls, Cimpaye added.

Gabriele Juen, spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry, said Rotax engines are used in various motorsports and drones could be used « for a multitude of only civilian purposes »

« The European Union’s dual-use item checklist does not list the drone engine in question as a good dual-use item, » Juen said. « As a result, no approval permits is required under Austrian law which regulates the export of defense-related products »

Kelsey Gallagher is a researcher in the Project Plowshares disarmament group that has studied Canadian exports of drone technology to Turkey

Gallagher said the problem with BRP recreational aircraft engines found on Turkish combat drones exposed a serious loophole in international arms control regimes

« I think this is a testament to the fact that components like motors should be subject to regulations more frequently than we see for what we see as more conventional weapons, » Gallagher said

« Often, engines are not controlled as weapon systems, even though they are an integral part, like other components, of a vehicle’s operation »

Bayraktar TB2 drones also feature optical sensors and target designation systems produced by L3 Harris WESCAM in Burlington, Ontario

This photo released by the Armenian Defense Ministry claims to show the wreckage of a Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone shot down by Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh on Monday The drone is equipped with Canadian optical sensors and target acquisition systems (Armenian MOD / Twitter)

Defense officials in Armenia showed on Monday what they claimed to be parts of a Bayraktar TB2 drone and its Canadian-made optical acquisition and target systems, as well as its Rotax engine

A spokesman for the Armenian Defense Ministry said another Turkish drone Bayraktar TB2 was shot down by Armenian air defense units during the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh on Thursday

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan called on countries that supply components for the Turkish drone program to follow Canada’s lead and suspend all exports of these components to Turkey

The fighting in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in ethnic Armenian-populated Azerbaijan began on September 27 This is the largest explosion of violence since a ceasefire brokered by Russia ended hostilities in 1994

Armenia has repeatedly accused Turkey of supplying Azerbaijan with weapons – including drones and F-16 fighter jets – as well as military advisers and Syrian jihadist mercenaries participating in the fighting

Armenian officials have also accused Azerbaijan of using Turkish drones not only to target military forces, but also to carry out strikes against civilian infrastructure in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia proper

Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied this information The Turkish Embassy did not respond to a request for comment

Global Affairs Canada officials said they are investigating allegations of the possible use of Canadian technology in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and « will continue to assess the situation »

A still image from drone video released by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claims to show an Azerbaijani combat drone targeting an Armenian air defense unit Experts consulted by RCI say the hallmarks on the video are identical to the graphical interface of WESCAM optical and laser targeting systems produced in Canada deployed on Turkish drones (MOD / YouTube of Azerbaijan)

Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne suspended export permits for WESCAM optical sensors and target acquisition systems on October 6, as officials investigate the allegations

However, senior world affairs officials speaking at Thursday’s briefing to parliamentarians on the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh could not explain why an exemption was granted for these exports in the first place given the embargo announced in 2019 and renewed in April this year

Appearing before the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, Shalini Anand, Acting Director General of Export Controls at Global Affairs Canada, was unable to discuss the issue of permits due to  » commercial confidentiality « 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau specifically discussed the issue of WESCAM exports to Turkey with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a telephone conversation in April, according to sources who spoke to Radio Canada International under the guise of anonymity

The issue was raised again during their October 16 phone conversation, according to the PMO

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Bombardier Recreational Products, Aircraft Engine, Bayraktar TB2

News from around the world – CA – Bombardier Suspends Delivery of Aircraft Engines Used in Military Drones



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