It’s certainly an interesting time to be a member of NATO. Events in Ukraine have brought NATO to the front of everyone’s mind, and with good reason. The previous US administration criticized NATO members for not meeting their obligations to the organization, and Russia’s actions have brought that deficit into sharp focus.
Now Finland has become the latest NATO member and various NATO countries are providing materiel and support to Ukraine, including CNC machined components made here at Ben Machine. Recognizing a threat they thought lay in the past, several NATO countries are committing to new defence spending and resources.
Canada is committed as well. On the budget side, pressure has been mounting to increase defence spending. On the heels of a defence policy review, public consultations will be held to gather input on how best to defend Canada on a more active world stage. As an advanced manufacturing facility with sophisticated multi-axis CNC machining capabilities that can help in this pursuit, Ben Machine is and will be active in this discussion.
The Defence Dividend
It may sound self-serving for a defence contractor like Ben Machine to support increased defence spending, but that’s not what we’re talking about. All of us at Ben Machine have a vested interest in national defence -after all, we live here too. But we know very well the downstream effects new defence developments and spending bring to the nation. A stronger defence footing brings new technologies to the nation’s colleges. Students have the chance to learn more cutting-edge skills here without having to go to the US or overseas, skills like advanced multi-axis CNC machining. Companies like Ben Machine land contracts that require those new skill sets. Products based on the new technologies make us safer. Those products can also be exported to help other NATO countries defend themselves.
Further, the technologies developed for the defence industry have other applications well beyond their original purpose. Consider GPS, or the Global Positioning System and HUD, or Head’s-Up Display familiar on fighter jets and naval vessels for decades. Both technologies are common on cars and trucks today. HUD allows drivers to see hazards ahead in total darkness, all without lowering their eyes from the road. GPS allows people to navigate to destinations with ease and keep track of older adults suffering from dementia. Advanced and complicated technologies like these often start in the defence industry and migrate to civilian uses as they’re refined. So increased spending in this market sector will pay dividends for the entire nation for decades to come.
Defence Spending for Tomorrow
Ottawa has already committed funds to new F-35 fighter jets. Accommodating those jets involves new infrastructure buildouts at three separate bases across the country, and that means more good-paying jobs. They have also committed to thousands of small arms for Ukraine.
Perhaps most dramatically, the government has committed nearly $5 billion toward modernizing the over-the-horizon radar capabilities of NORAD in the far North. Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre notes that especially with the warming Arctic Ocean, Russia and Canada are effectively neighbours -a position highlighted several years ago when Russia symbolically planted a flag on the sea floor at the North Pole. Eyre has pointed out that when Russia laid claim to Crimea, they also claimed 80% of Ukraine’s offshore oil and gas territory in the Black Sea. In the last couple of years, Russia has been seen reactivating some old Soviet-era air bases on extremely remote Arctic islands, including the construction of a new, longer airstrip at one. Providing monitoring and defence over the Arctic Circle is more important now than it has been in 40 years.
Ben Machine has always been proud of the work we do in CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication for the defence industry. It contributes to a stronger nation, economy, and future for Canada.
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