Naval equipment site upgrade complete

A group of people are gathered for a tour of equipment.
Employees at the Naval Engineering Test Establishment in Montreal give a guided tour of the $22-million renovated facility.


By Peter Mallett, Lookout Staff Writer

The completion of a $22-million infrastructure project at the principal test site for naval equipment in Lasalle, Que., is pushing forward Department of National Defence (DND) efforts to modernize its fleet.

The Montreal-based Naval Engineering Test Establishment (NETE) is the primary test and evaluation centre for naval equipment, and tests a wide range of Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) warship and submarine equipment.

Commander Erik Tremblay, NETE commanding officer, says the completion of the three-year expansion and modernization project is already having a positive impact on the productivity and effectiveness of his organization. Those benefits extend to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C., including Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton and other units focused on ship maintenance and modernization.

“Because we are now able to turn more work around at our modernized facility, our stakeholders in Esquimalt will see benefits at their end today, and even more so in the future, as they discover our capacity to service additional needs we weren’t able to in the past,” says Cdr Tremblay. “We will now do things faster, better, and safer, and do more of it.”

NETE was founded in 1953 and conducts tests on a variety of items, including weaponry, combat and control systems, information and communications systems, sensor equipment such as radar and sonar, waste management systems, and emergency escape systems, from both East and West Coast units.

Given the fast growth of networking technology, Cdr Tremblay said a key mandate of the infrastructure project was the completion of a significantly enhanced communication and networking laboratory in the facility. It was a crucial component of the upgrade project in order to further improve NETE’s ability to test ships’ networks at sea, develop tailored solutions, and provide additional office space.

The new Multi-Purpose Combat Systems Area will give NETE a greater flexibility for running tests on controlled goods, such as weapon systems, along with communications and sensory equipment, including electro-optic sensors. NETE will be able to test different combat systems simultaneously, which will speed up its response time.

Cdr Tremblay says the welding shop, machine shop and the environmental testing area were “significantly enhanced” as a result of the project.

“Now we will be able to build a wider array of test-jig components and quicker, therefore enabling tests to complete faster.”

There were 30 new permanent high-skilled jobs created at the facility in fields including mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, naval architecture, engineering modelling and simulation.

Cdr Tremblay is one of the very few military staff at this unique “Government-owned, contractor-operated” facility that employs approximately 130 civilian workers in Lasalle,. and 311 in total across Canada.

He says he and his staff are happy to leave the 50 plus year-old, largely wooden structure behind and excited to be working at what is now a 2900 square-metre larger, steel and concrete, state-of-the-art facility.



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