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There is not that of the armoured tank that Canada exports in saudi Arabia. Aerospace in quebec has its well-kept secret : the industry has sold for more than 920 Million dollars in equipment and military services to the kingdom and its allies since the beginning of the bloody war in Yemen, discovered our Bureau of investigation.
Aircraft engines of Longueuil and instruments of the cockpit of Montreal for aircraft killers, helicopters Mirabel militarized, jets, Bombardier turned into spy devices, training for drone pilots…
More than a dozen contracts of Quebec, for equipment destined for saudi Arabia, the united arab Emirates and their allies have gone unnoticed in the recent controversy over the arms sales to the monarchy oil.
They do not brag about it no, but since the Second world War, the québec firms are accustomed to export military equipment to the four corners of the globe.
Their contracts with the country at war in Yemen indignant, however, activists of Human rights since their bombings have killed more than 4500 civilians since 2015, according to the united Nations.
The firms aviation of Quebec, yet it’s nothing illegal. Most don’t even have licenses to sell this equipment to Saudis and Uae, but they get them when needed.
141 engines for military aircraft
In Longueuil, the plant of the turboprop Pratt & Whitney Canada runs at full speed for years by the members of the coalition in Yemen.
Since the beginning of the war in 2014, the company has delivered at least 141 engines for military aircraft destined for saudi Arabia, the united arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan, according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which task is to collect all arms transfers in the world.
These four countries are all members of the coalition that is fighting against the rebellion of the Houthis in Yemen. They have reported contracts of a value of at least 185 M$ to Pratt & Whitney in four years, according to an estimate from our Office of investigation conducted with the assistance of expert reports in aeronautics.
Among these commands : 24 engines for the attack aircraft used in Yemen.
In 2016, Pratt & Whitney has agreed to put its technology at the service of an important project of the crown prince of saudi arabia Mohammed Bin Salman : to produce a plane to the country itself, for the first time in the history of the kingdom.
The engine manufacturer refuses to confirm the figures or comment on our information. “It is things which remain confidential to us,” said the director of communications Isabelle Won.
$ 530 Million in devices, militarized
The major assemblers in the aerospace industry in quebec are not left out. Bombardier and Bell Helicopter Textron have recorded orders of more than a half-billion dollars of the united arab Emirates since 2014.
Military contractors in europe and the us alter these devices manufactured in Quebec for combat missions, espionage, and reconnaissance.
The forces emirati are also prospering firms avionics Montreal, as the manufacturer of flight simulators CAE, which trains the pilots of ships, drones and helicopters uae.
With saudi Arabia, this country is still regularly criticized for its abuses of Human rights and the law of war.
Anything that undermines Esterline CMC. The company of Saint-Laurent sells displays of the cockpit for combat aircraft that Iomax provides in the united arab Emirates, confirms spokesperson Marie-Hélène Émond.
“After that, what is Iomax done with… We don’t have control over that ! “
Rain of bombs on civilians
Yemenis inspect the rest of the bus that exploded a bomb aviation saudi on a market in August 2018, killing 54 people, including 44 children.
A civil war without mercy rages for more than four years in Yemen. Saudi Arabia and the united arab Emirates lead a coalition that is fighting on the side of the government to dislodge the rebel shiite houthis, supported by Iran.
These nations are conducting bombing raids in the four corners of Yemen, with the help of other countries such as Egypt and Jordan. A fragile truce in the port of Hodeïda allows the civilian population to blow off a little since December, but the war and its ravages continue.
Of the approximately 7000 civilians killed by the war in the country, more than 4,500 have died under the bombs of the arab coalition, according to the united Nations (UN).
Last August, for example, saudi arabian forces unleashed a us bomb on a bus, killing 44 children. In October 2016, the same type of bomb has been 140 killed in an air raid on a funeral ceremony.
In a report of its experts on Yemen, the UN suspects that the coalition of numerous other war crimes : rape, torture, recruitment of children… Amnesty international also denounced a network of secret prisons that the special forces emirati would operate in the country.
Furthermore, both the coalition that the Houthis have contributed to the serious shortages in Yemen by blocking its main port. No less than 14 million people are at risk of starvation. According to the organization Save the Children, 85 000 yemeni children could be dead from starvation because of the conflict.
A job of a monk in Sweden
Our Bureau of investigation has relied, in large part, on the data of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) for this report.
♦ The Swedish Parliament has established this independent agency in 1966 to work for peace in the world. It strives to collect almost all the available information on arms sales, ” explains the director of the program of research on transfers of military hardware, the Quebec Aude Fleurant.
♦ ” We present information so that people interested or concerned can do something with it “, said the researcher, which is joined by our Bureau of investigation.
♦ The data of the SIPRI about the heavy weapons are more comprehensive than the Register of conventional arms united Nations. The latter only compiles the transfers of complete systems, such as tanks, fighters, or artillery batteries, according to the declarations of the States.
♦ In multiplying the information sources, the SIPRI also includes in its data the sales of parts such as aircraft engines, or helicopters, or jets of civilians destined to be turned into devices of war.
Aircraft, engines, training and simulators “made in Québec”
At the beginning of the war in Yemen, Pratt & Whitney began the biggest delivery of her history, for a device intended for the saudi Arabia : 55 engines for as many of the PC-21 swiss, are considered as the training aircraft of the most advanced in the world.
Pratt & Whitney also comes to deliver another 10 for the PC-21 to Jordan. The military use this device to learn how to fly war planes.
According to the High Commissioner of united Nations for human rights, the coalition bombing sunni-led saudi Arabia have been more than 4500 deaths in Yemen.
Pratt & Whitney also provides the aircraft for the 21 aircraft to transport troops C295W that have ordered or received these past few years the forces of saudi arabian and emirati, as well as their ally in egypt.
The engine of Longueuil team also two patrol aircraft Italian P-180MPA for the united arab Emirates. The assembly of these devices, Piaggio, owned 100 % of the funds public emirati Mubadala since 2015.
Pratt & Whitney Canada
- Training aircraft Pilatus PC-21
- Transport aircraft Airbus C295W
- Patrol aircraft Piaggio P-180MPA
For saudi Arabia, the united arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan
♦ Commands : 69 engines PT6 and 42 engines PW100, according to SIPRI
♦ Estimated value :$145 Million
♦ Deliveries since 2014
Pratt & Whitney Canada
- Transport aircraft Antonov an-132
For saudi Arabia
♦ Signed mou to deliver up to 160 engines PW150, according to an announcement by Antonov
♦ Estimated value :$ 4 Million in engines delivered ; potential$325 Million
♦ Two engines to be delivered in 2015 for the prototype in Ukraine
The engine manufacturer quebec agreement signed in 2016 a memorandum of understanding to export up to 160 engines in Ukraine, and then in saudi Arabia.
If the agreement is confirmed, the engines of the longueuilloise equip a modernized version of the old Antonov an-132 soviet, which would make it the first aircraft to be assembled in the kingdom.
Pratt & Whitney would then become a direct provider of saudi Arabia, since the assembly line must be put in place by the State-owned company TAQNIA.
The project is part of a larger plan to increase the technological capabilities of the kingdom, ” Vision 2030 “. It is overseen by the crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman, the same one that the CIA is believed responsible for the assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
For Pratt & Whitney, the mother lode may exceed a half-billion dollars. The director of communications Isabelle Gagné has not wanted to answer our questions on the program or on any other sale to saudi Arabia and its allies.
“We can’t comment on that folder. “
Pratt & Whitney Canada
- Archangel and Iomax AT-802U
For the united arab Emirates and Jordan
♦ Order : 28 engines PT6, according to SIPRI
♦ Estimated value : nearly$35 Million
♦ Delivery of 2015 to 2017
No need to send an expensive fighter F-16 to eliminate a few rebels with light weapons or illegal migrants. It’s like it’s that Iomax has convinced the united arab Emirates to buy its Archangel, tailored to the strengths of this great ally of the Saudis.
This fighter propeller, able to carry up to 6000 pounds of bombs and missiles, is an airplane application agricultural modified and armed to the teeth.
Pratt & Whitney has also supplied the engines for the previous version of this aircraft, the AT-802U, that use the united arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan.
Journalists say they have seen the two devices in Yemen in 2017 and 2018.
Is it that they are being used against civilian populations ? “I am not in a position to comment on the missions of the air forces in the region “, said Seamus Flatley, vice-president, business development of Iomax, attached at its headquarters in North Carolina.
In 2017, the CEO KC Howard told the trade magazine Aviation International News that the Archangel had already dropped ” 4000 ammunition… bombs, laser guided, Hellfire missiles and rockets “.
- Combat aircraft Iomax Archangel
For the united arab Emirates
♦ Order : the displays for 24 Cockpit 4000 of Esterline CMC
♦ Estimated value : unknown
♦ Delivery of 2015 to 2017
At Esterline CMC, spokeswoman Marie-Hélène Émond confirms that viewers of Montreal fit into the Cockpit 4000 of the Archangel, made in the United States. However, she did not specify the value of these equipment, despite our repeated requests. According to her, MCC does not have the responsibility to check whether the attack aircraft that incorporate its instruments may be used against civilian populations. “We sold equipment to an american company, it stops there. “
Jets, helicopters and training
Bombardier business Aircraft
Saint-Laurent (Montréal) – Dorval, Toronto
A specialist journalist has picked up in July 2017 images of the Global Express 6000 the firm of Marshall of Cambridge turns to the united arab Emirates in England.
The five aircraft of the Global Express 6000 unfinished for militarization
For the united arab Emirates
♦ Estimated value : close to$ 400 Million
♦ Awaiting delivery
The united arab Emirates will soon receive five Global Express 6000 Bombardier after their change in Sweden and the United Kingdom. The army will use, in particular for the ” electronic warfare “, which is to intercept or jam the communications of the opponent. Contacted by our Bureau of investigation, the aircraft manufacturer quebec said that he could not give any information about its customers. “All sales of aircraft to governments are in line with the legislation “, assured Mark Masluch, director of public relations for Bombardier business Aircraft, the subsidiary which manufactures the Global Express.
Bell Helicopter Textron
- Attack helicopters, Bell 407 HRM or Bell 407GX armed
For the united arab Emirates
♦ Order : 30 helicopters for conversion in the military, according to SIPRI
♦ Estimated value :$ 125 Million
♦ Delivered from 2014 to 2016
The factory Bell Helicopter of Mirabel, has delivered 30 aircraft at NorthStar Aviation LLC, a company in Florida, whose headquarters is in the united arab Emirates.
After being turned into killing machines, the company was then sold to the armed forces of his country of origin. From 2015, specialists of the arms have begun to identify them in bases in Yemen.
Bell insists : the helicopters that it assembles in Mirabel are not military exports. “We are, what we sell, it is a civil helicopter,” said Virginie Brizard, global voice of the company, that our Bureau of investigation has joined in Dubai, united arab Emirates.
- Flight simulators and training for pilots of ships, helicopters and drones
For the united arab Emirates
♦ Declared value :$ 201 Million
In 2017, the CAE has signed a contract to train pilots of the new drones us reconnaissance Predator of the united arab Emirates. These machines non-armed have since been sighted on the ground in Yemen.
The montreal-based company also operates a training centre for naval forces in this country and has supplied the simulators for army helicopters, including the Bell 407 assembled at Mirabel, before be armed to the teeth in Florida. “CAE meets the canadian regulations surrounding the exports, as well as that of NATO [Organization of the North Atlantic treaty],” said the director of public affairs of the company, Pascale Alpha.
Weapons to dictatorships… and not need licences
No authorization is required for export of helicopters and engines
A helicopter armed 407 HRM in the united arab Emirates in the exhibition. The device is the product of a modification of the Bell-407 manufactured in Mirabel, then exported at NorthStar Aviation in Florida for its militarization.
Bell Helicopter Textron provides no license to export military to ask to sell a device that will be transformed into a killing machine for the united arab Emirates.
“I have not sold to the army from the emirates, I sold it to NorthStar Aviation, said Virginie Brizard, director of global communications at Bell. What NorthStar did with, nothing in the act says that it is my responsibility, as a Bell ! “
Installed in Florida, NorthStar belongs to a company of the united arab Emirates. From 2014 to 2016, the firm has bought 30 helicopters quebecers to turn them into Bell-407 HRM armed to the teeth and sell to this great ally of saudi Arabia in the war in Yemen.
“We export our helicopters in full compliance with the applicable regulations,” insists the spokesperson for Bell.
Ottawa has not confirmed this statement, but the Guide to export controls of Canada, available online, seems to give reason for Bell Helicopters.
The “list of war material” for which the government requires an export license mentions that no authorization is required to sell to foreign aircraft that are not configured for military use “.
For its part, Pratt & Whitney Canada refuses to respond to any questions for this story.
Its engines, however, are also concerned by the exemption on the equipment civilian, even if they result in planes-killers of the united arab Emirates, manufactured in North Carolina.
Anyway, both Bell and Pratt & Whitney have sent their products to us businesses.
However, “Canada does not require export license for most of the items contained in the List of goods subject to export control if they are destined for the United States,” said a spokesman for the ministry of world Affairs, Stefano Mariano.
It is that in 1956, Ottawa has signed the Agreement on the sharing of defence production, a true free trade of the weapons with the Americans.
Global Express approved
Bombardier did not need a license to sell its aircraft as such. The company must, however, approve the” export ” of data to militarize its aircraft when they are not in the United States.
This is the case of the Global Express that the firm was sent to Europe, where they are modified to the forces emirati.
“All the engineering information necessary for the changes are considered a product and subject to the rules – so the level controls canadian are on the transaction of the aircraft,” says Mark Masluch, director of communications at Bombardier business Aircraft.
The company must in particular declare to the government that will be the end user of its device.
He thinks of lawsuits
Daniel Turp. Ex-mp
Already in the midst of court battle to ban the export of tanks to saudi Arabia, the former mp, Daniel Turp, a dream to initiate the same procedures to stop the sales of aviation equipment to the forces of the kingdom and its allies.
“This is explosive stuff,” he said. This is a significant number of companies, in Quebec ! “
The lawyer constitutionalist attempts to appeal to the supreme Court to cancel the licenses of exporting armored vehicles ontario General Dynamics.
“Our arguments could also be used for any export of equipment by québec companies, because they could be used to violate human rights in saudi Arabia, the united arab Emirates, or Yemen,” he said.
According to him, these sales of military equipment violate both the federal law and the rules of the Geneva conventions on war, that Canada has signed.
NGOS on the frontline
Global organizations of defense of human rights requires that Canada and other western countries cease all sales of military equipment to countries at war in Yemen.
“All sides in the conflict have committed serious violations of human rights, said Rahsa Mohamed, the lead researcher of Amnesty international in Yemen. But, of course, Canada sells weapons to only one side of the conflict, and it is one that has an air force, that aircraft has. “
Human Rights Watch also puts pressure to stop arms sales to saudi Arabia and its allies. “Violations of the laws of war are legion,” said Ahmed Benchemsi, director of communications for the organization for the Middle East. He has many strikes against hospitals, schools, markets, burials, and marriages.