CP-140 Aurora fleet modernization and life extension

Project summary

The Government of Canada is modernizing its fleet of 14 Aurora aircraft. The Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) involves 23 individual projects to acquire, integrate and install new mission systems and sensors onto the CP-140 for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. This project is being executed in a phased approach with four blocks; blocks I, II and III are complete, and block IV is in the implementation phase.

The Government of Canada has also extended the life of the Aurora fleet. The Aurora Structural Life Extension Project (ASLEP) involved replacing wings and horizontal stabilizers on the aircraft, which will extend the operational life of the CP-140 Aurora fleet to the 2030 timeframe. All aircraft have been life-extended and the project is currently in the close-out phase.

The Aurora fleet is Canada’s primary airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft. The Aurora provides a full range of maritime, littoral and overland surveillance capabilities for domestic and deployed missions in support of Canadian sovereignty and international objectives, as well as anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. It has been modernized with a world-class integrated mission suite with state-of-the-art avionics, communications systems, computer networks, and sensors.

Project phases

Currently in Phase 3: Definition

1. Identification

1. Identification

Aurora incremental modernization project (AIMP)

  • August 1998

Aurora structural life extension project (ASLEP)

  • March 2008
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

Aurora incremental modernization project (AIMP)

  • Carried out under a previous project

Aurora structural life extension project (ASLEP)

  • Carried out under a previous project
3. Definition

3. Definition

Aurora incremental modernization project (AIMP)

  • Waived for blocks I, II and III
  • Block IV preliminary project approval: October 2013

Aurora structural life extension project (ASLEP)

  • Waived
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

Aurora incremental modernization project (AIMP)

  • Block I: Replace the high frequency radio and a number of obsolete systems in order to provide a baseline for the major upgrades that followed
    • Project approval: October 1999
    • Contract award: December 1999
    • Initial operational capability: 1 December 2003
    • Full operational capability: December 2005
  • Block II: Replace the outdated navigation and communication management systems, and associated radios
    • Project approval
      • Navigation systems: June 1999
      • Communications systems: June 2002
    • Contract award:
      • Navigation systems: August 2000
      • Communications systems: June 2002
    • Initial operational capability: February 2008
    • Full operational capability: March 2012
  • Block III: Replace the mission computer and sensors (radar, electro-optics/infrared sensor package, ESM, and acoustic detection systems)
    • Project approval: May 2002
    • Contract award: May 2002
    • Initial operational capability: January 31, 2014
    • Full operational capability: December 18, 2019
  • Block IV: Upgrade three key features of the fourteen block III configured aircraft: beyond-line-of-sight satellite communication, link 16 datalink (a military tactical data exchange network used by NATO countries), and self defence system.
    • Project approval:
      • Definition: October 24, 2013
      • Implementation: June 16, 2015
    • Contract award: October 16, 2015
    • Initial operational capability: spring 2022
    • Full operational capability: spring 2024

Aurora structural life extension project (ASLEP)

  • Project approval: May 2008
  • Initial operational capability: April 11, 2012
  • Full operational capability: April 24, 2020
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

Aurora incremental modernization project (AIMP)

  • December 2024

Aurora structural life extension project (ASLEP)

  • December 2021

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project Updates

Project Updates

April 11, 2021
First phase of Proof of Compliance flight testing (Flight Sciences) completed on CP140111.

March 30, 2021
CP140118 (Production aircraft #1) delivered to 14 Wing Greenwood.

December 16, 2020
CP140111 ferried to 14 Wing Greenwood to start proof of compliance flight testing.

October 6, 2020
Started modification of production to the third aircraft.

July 21, 2020
The 2nd block IV prototype aircraft, CP140111, completed its first test flight from the IMP facility located at Halifax International Airport.

April 24, 2020
Delivery of aircraft CP140114, the fourteenth and last aircraft to receive the structural modifications under ASLEP.

February 21, 2020
The block IV prototype aircraft, CP140108, completed its initial assessment flight, landing at 14 Wing Greenwood. The Aircraft will remain at 14 Wing for on-ground testing, development, and training use until completion of formal block IV flight testing.

October 4, 2019
Second incremental ground test readiness review is complete. Ground proof of compliance testing is ongoing.

June 26, 2019
Aircraft CP140110 was delivered. This is the 14th (and last) block III aircraft, of which 13 have been life-extended. With delivery of the final block III aircraft, preparation of the block III full operational capability certificate has started.

April 29, 2019
The block IV prototype aircraft ground test readiness review was conducted, clearing the way for the start of ground testing.

December 13, 2018
CP140113, the thirteenth block III aircraft, was delivered. The integration testing of block IV on prototype aircraft began.

October 10, 2018
Proof of fit aircraft modification for block IV began.

April 9, 2018
Aircraft CP140116 was delivered. This is the twelfth block III aircraft, of which 11 have been life-extended.

February 21, 2018
ASLEP modification of CP140114 began. This was the last ASLEP aircraft.

November 6, 2017
Modification of the block IV prototype aircraft, CP140018, started.

December 22, 2016
Aircraft CP140108 was delivered. This was the eleventh block III aircraft, of which ten have been life-extended.

October 16, 2015
General Dynamics won a contract amendment to implement the block IV modifications to the data management system.

June 2015
Block IV of the AIMP received project approval.

October 2014
Two CP-140 Aurora were deployed on Operation IMPACT, the Canadian Armed Forces’ contribution to the fight against ISIL in the Middle East.

January 31, 2014
Initial operational capability for block III was achieved. Block III involves the upgrade of the mission systems and sensors.

March 2012
Block II of the AIMP was completed, involving replacement of outdated navigation and communication management systems, and associated radios.

March 2011
Two CP-140 Aurora were deployed on Operation MOBILE, the Canadian Armed Forces’ participation in the international response to the popular uprising in Libya against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi.

February 2010
One CP-140 Aurora supported the RCMP-led integrated security unit for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games under Operation PODIUM.

December 2005
Block I of the AIMP was completed, involving replacement of the high frequency radio and several obsolete systems to provide a baseline for other major upgrades that will follow.

Industry

Benefiting Canadian Industry

Extensive industry engagement was carried out to advertise the requirements and to ensure potential solutions were available prior to the release of the AIMP request for proposal, whenever competition was a possibility.

Industry was notified through an advance contract award notice that the original equipment manufacturer was being selected to conduct the work for ASLEP due to intellectual Property rights.

The Industrial and Regional Benefits (IRB) Policy was applied to the AIMP Block III, imaging radar system (IRS), ASLEP, system support avionics and airframe maintenance projects. The Industrial and Technological Benefits (ITB) policy was applied to block IV.

As of June 2020, total IRB/ITB obligations are as follows:

  • AIMP block III: the full $359 million have been completed
  • Imaging radar system: the full $344 million have been completed
  • ASLEP: $253 million of $266 million have been completed, with $13 million in progress
  • System support avionics: $335 million of $350 million have been completed, with $15 million in progress
  • Airframe maintenance: the full $618 million have been completed
  • Block IV: the full $285 million have been completed

Industrial and regional benefits

List of procurements and their IRB managers

Contractors

The links below lead to externals websites that may be available in English only.

Technical information

Technical information

Aurora specifications

  • Length: 35.61 metres
  • Wingspan: 30.37 metres
  • Height: 10.30 metres
  • Power: 4 Allison T-56-A-14-LFE turboprop engines
  • Maximum Speed: 750 kilometres per hour
  • Cruising Speed: 556 kilometres per hour
  • Range: 7,400 kilometres
  • Equipment:
    • Navigation systems including:
      • Control display unit, used to display all information critical to flight, including speed, altitude, heading
      • AN/ARN-508 VOR/ILS/marker beacon, used for enroute navigation and landing
      • Embedded global positioning system/Inertial navigation system (EGI), used to provide aircraft position, heading and velocity
    • Communications systems including:
      • AN/ARC-511 and AN/ARC-513 very high frequency (VHF) radios, used for line of sight air traffic management and marine communications
      • AN/ARC-210 and AN/ARC-234 very and ultra high frequency (V/UHF) radios, used for line of sight data communications and two-way radio communication
      • ARC-512 high frequency (HF) radios and Link-11 tactical data Link, used to transmit, relay and receive long range tactical data and communication
    • Data management system that integrates information and displays it from the following sensors:
      • AN/APS-508 multi-mode Imaging radar system, an exceptionally capable detection, tracking and imaging radar system for weather avoidance, maritime and ground-mapping roles
      • MX-20 electro-optics/infrared sensor package that allows day and night visual surveillance at extended ranges
      • AN/UYS-504 modular VME acoustic sensor processor for analysis of information received from sonobuoys
      • AN/ASQ-508 magnetic anomaly detector, used primarily for the detection of submarines
      • AN/ALQ-507 electronic support measures (ESM) system, used to identify and locate sources of radio frequency emission
    • Armament and search stores:
      • Mark 46 mod 5 torpedoes
      • Sonobuoys
      • Signal charges
      • Smoke markers
      • Illumination flares
    • Crew: Standard crew complement of 10 members varying according to mission including:
      • 2 pilots
      • 1 flight engineer
      • 2 air combat sensor officers
      • 5 airborne electronic sensor operators
Project cost

Project cost

The total approved cost in 2019 for AIMP and ASLEP combined is $1.983 billion.

Issues/Risks

Issues/Risks

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the project schedule, and the full appreciation is still being assessed.

Scope
Contractor advised that they will be unable to meet all DND requirements within current budget and/or schedule. This end state is to be assessed to determine operational acceptability.

Schedule
Block IV is behind schedule due to unexpected design complexity and contractor delays in modification of the prototype aircraft. Full operational capability is now four years behind initial baseline.

Budget for implementation
Financial liability remains for pending rate adjustments post Fiscal year 19/20 for IMP, and post calendar year 2017 for General Dynamics Mission Systems Canada. Funding required could exceed expenditure authority, including approved contingency.

Human resources
Active human resources management based on priorities and risk is being pursued.

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