Canada Cites F-35 Example To Upgrade Military Tech; Will Buy New Tanks To Replace Leopards Going To Ukraine

Anita Anand, Canada’s defense minister, has announced that additional tanks would be purchased to replace the ones being supplied to Ukraine to ease worries about the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The minister’s comments came days after Canada announced that the country would supply four more Leopard 2 combat tanks to Ukraine, boosting the total number of tanks Ottawa is sending to the conflicted nation to eight.

Anand stated that she is constantly worried about ensuring the Canadian Military Forces have everything they require to serve and defend the nation. She added that the new tanks might not be the same as the eight Leopard 2 combat tanks that Canada sent to Ukraine. 

Canada has supplied weapons to Ukraine despite reservations about the domestic capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces. According to Anand, the Canadian military wants to ensure access to “the most innovative and modern solutions.”

“So it’s not necessarily the case that the Leopard 2A4 is going to be the replacement vehicle,” she said.

German Army Leopard
File Image: German Leopard Tank

She used the F-35 as an example to illustrate how the nation must ensure that it is recapitalizing with the most recent technology that is interoperable with its partners, as Ottawa has done in the past.

Anand highlighted that she is striving to secure Canada’s “priority placement” in the supply chain while doing whatever is necessary from a domestic innovation viewpoint as the country seeks to replenish its supplies.

Canada is also sending armored recovery vehicles and more than 5,000 rounds of 155mm ammunition to defend Kyiv against Russian forces. Meanwhile, Canada recently placed fresh sanctions on Russia.

The new sanctions are directed at 63 companies and 129 people, including the deputy prime minister and other officials of Russia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

According to Trudeau, Canada has given Ukraine support of more than C$5 billion ($3.67 billion) since the conflict began a year ago. Also, Canada has recently been training thousands of Ukrainian soldiers.

Canadian Military Facing A Recruitment Crisis

The pledge to buy more tanks comes when Canada faces difficulty retaining and recruiting personnel for the Canadian Armed Forces. 

The military is currently short of more than 10,000 trained personnel, equating to almost one in ten vacant posts, despite plans to add approximately 5,000 troops to the regular and reserve forces to address a growing list of demands. 

The Canadian military continues to struggle with acquiring new equipment, operating aging equipment, and sourcing replacement parts in addition to a shortage of recruits. 

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre emphasized that as Canada’s military struggles with these problems, it will be “hard pressed” to do anything more than meet its NATO commitments. 

“We’re not the only ones facing the people crunch. I’ve had good chats with Australia, New Zealand, NATO counterparts — this is a phenomenon across the West – tight labor force, not as much interest in military service,” Eyre said.

A recent report mentioned that the Canadian military is moving quickly to equip its troops in Latvia with modern air defense and anti-tank weapon systems.

Similar to a purchase made during the war in Afghanistan, the systems are categorized as an “urgent operational requirement.” According to the classification, Ottawa can get weapons and equipment more swiftly without following the standard procurement procedure.

Members of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, act as range safety officers during a live fire range with Ukrainian recruits on OpUNIFIER-UK in the United Kingdom on November 19, 2022.

The acquisition’s timetable and price have not been made public. Industry officials predict it will cost more than $500 million ($372 million) in Canadian dollars.

The Canadian Army will purchase a counter-drone system for the nation’s mission in eastern Europe and air defense and anti-tank weaponry equipment.

The decision by Canada to expedite the acquisition of necessary military hardware comes as the Ukraine war completes its one-year mark. The country has been stepping up its defense purchases alongside other Western nations because of concerns about an escalation.

According to Canadian military authorities, the federal government should spend billions of dollars on new weapons. The country is urging the regional defense sector to go on high alert and ramp up the production of military hardware.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that Canada would evaluate air-based threats from the Baltic region using its new air defense system. Nevertheless, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has forced the US and its allies to evaluate their military requirements and prepare for any potential escalation.