Top Canadian suppliers to the U.S. Department of Defense

March 13, 2023

By Kelsey Gallagher

Published in The Ploughshares Monitor Volume 44 Issue 1 Spring 2023

Prime contracts for many large-value Canadian exports and services are directly brokered by the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC), a crown corporation. The CCC not only sets the table for these deals but guarantees that the Canadian manufacturer will be paid the amount specified in the contract, and the foreign recipient will receive the services laid out in that contract.  

Most of the awards tendered by the CCC relate to military goods. The United States is by far the largest consumer of Canadian-made weapons. As a result of the Canada-United States 1956 Defense Production Sharing Agreement (DPSA) and resulting programs, the CCC must directly facilitate all prime contracts for Canadian military exports to the United States valued in excess of 250,000 USD. Conservative estimates put the total annual value (including non-CCC brokered contracts) of all Canadian-made military exports to the United States at more than 1,000,000,000 CAD.

Assessing the data

The following table lists the top recipients of prime military contracts with the United States brokered by the CCC in fiscal years 2021 and 2022 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022). Records were originally obtained via Access to Information and Privacy requests. Further information on relevant contracts was obtained through secondary sources.

Contracts were determined to be for military end-use after consideration of the nature of the supplier, the description of the contract, and information from secondary sources. According to CCC annual reports, the total value of military export contracts to the United States signed by the CCC in FY2021 and FY2022 was 921,000,000 and 868,000,000 CAD, respectively.

During the period under examination, the CCC also brokered contracts for military goods for other end-users, including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Chile, and Ukraine.

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#1. Ultra Electronics TCS Inc.**

A subsidiary of the British company Ultra, Montreal-based Ultra Electronics TCS Inc. is a major manufacturer of components and subsystems used in maritime, aerospace, and electronic warfare applications. Its largest contract during the period under examination was for $145,000,000 with the U.S. Naval Information Warfare Systems Command. Under this contract, Ultra is providing work and support on the Amphibious Tactical Communications System, the new line-of-sight shipboard communications suite for the U.S. Marine Corps. Ultra will supply its Orion X500 radio systems, as well as spare parts and engineering services.

#2 Wescam Inc.

Wescam Inc. produces electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) surveillance and targeting imaging sensors used on Uncrewed Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), fixed-wing and rotor-wing aircraft, ground vehicles, and maritime vessels. It is one of the best-known EO/IR suppliers in the world, boasting that it has exported its MX-series of sensors to more than 80 countries.

During the period under examination, Wescam Inc. won several high-profile contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), including a $70,000,000 award to supply EO/IR sensors on AC-130U/W/J aircraft, an award for eight MX-25D systems valued at $19,488,744, and performance upgrades on 33 MX-20D systems valued at $10,735,950.

#3 General Dynamics OTS - Canada Inc.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems - Canada Inc. (GD-OTS Canada) is a major manufacturer of ammunition, producing everything from small calibre bullets to training rounds, hand grenades, and shells used by tanks and artillery systems. In addition to having a near monopoly on supplying ammunition to the Canadian Armed Forces, it exports large volumes of ammunition to the United States each year.

During the period under examination, GD-OTS Canada secured several contracts with the U.S. DoD, including one worth $40-million to manufacture 57mm target-practice cartridges for the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

#4 General Dynamics Land Systems - Canada Corp.

London, Ontario’s General Dynamics Land Systems – Canada Corp. (GDLS-C) manufactures light armoured vehicles (LAVs) – wheeled combat vehicles that may or may not be armed. Since production in Canada began in the 1970s, GDLS-C has produced thousands of vehicles for the U.S. DoD, mostly the “Stryker” variant. Other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, have also imported thousands of LAVs.

During the period under examination, the CCC actioned several contracts tied to a larger 2009 contract to supply LAV-25s to the United States, with Saudi Arabia the final destination. These transfers are being facilitated through the intermediary U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, which establishes government-to-government arms sales between the U.S. DoD and foreign militaries seeking to procure equipment.

#5 Emergent BioSolutions Canada Inc.

Winnipeg’s Emergent BioSolutions Canada is a division of U.S.-based Emergent BioSolutions, which develops and produces pharmaceuticals for commercial applications and for the U.S. military to defend against biowarfare.

During the period under examination, Emergent BioSolutions Canada secured hundreds of contracts with the U.S. government. Since incorporation in 2017, Emergent BioSolutions Canada has consistently ranked near the top of the list of winners of contracts to the U.S. military through the CCC.

#6 Indal Technologies Inc.  

Mississauga, Ontario’s Curtiss-Wright Indal Technologies Inc. manufactures aerospace components, including those used to stabilize aircraft that land on naval vessels. Curtiss-Wright Indal has been supplying the U.S. Navy for more than four decades.

On March 29, 2022, Curtiss-Wright Indal announced that it had received a contract award from the CCC to supply five Recovery Assist, Secure and Traverse (RAST) systems to the U.S. Navy for use on the Arleigh Burke-class Guided Missile Destroyers.

#7 Lockheed Martin Canada Inc., Commercial Engine Solutions

Montreal’s Lockheed Martin Canada, Commercial Engine Solutions, which focuses on Modification, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) work on jet engines, is one of several Canadian-based subsidiaries of the U.S.-owned defence giant. But this facility does not only work on commercial aircraft; military customers include the Royal Saudi and U.S. Air Forces.

During the period under examination, Lockheed Martin Canada, Commercial Engine Solutions won an award through the CCC to perform overhaul work on the F108 turbofan engines used in the U.S. Air Force’s fleet of KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft. □

** Details on various contracts are taken from a variety of sources, including company press releases, annual reports of the CCC, articles in defence publications, and contract data released through the U.S. DoD. All figures used in company descriptions are in U.S. dollars (USD).

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