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Saab Global

North American collaboration opens new frontier for Saab

4 min read

An agreement with Canadian business Tulmar Safety Systems will see production of Saab’s Barracuda Mobile Camouflage Systems (MCS) move even closer to customers in North America.

Sweden and Canada share a similar climate, topography and approach to life. Now under a deal between Saab and Canadian manufacturing firm Tulmar Safety Systems, they will share something else: a role in the production of Saab’s Barracuda camouflage systems.

In response to growing demand for camouflage solutions in North America, Tulmar will begin assembling Saab’s Barracuda Mobile Camouflage Systems (MCS) at its factory in the city of Hawkesbury in Ontario. The first completed MCS units are expected to be delivered to customers in 2023.     

Lori Morris Photo: Tulmar

“Under the agreement, Saab will continue to produce the advanced multi-spectral material used in MCS at our factory in Sweden,” explains Charlotta Fridell, who is Head of Production for Saab’s Barracuda business unit. “That material will then be sent to Tulmar where it will be tailored to fit a range of military vehicles used by customers in North America. It’s an exciting expansion that will allow us to be even more agile in meeting the needs of customers.”

Tulmar Director of Manufacturing Lori Morris adds, “Tulmar has a long history of manufacturing protective textiles for vehicles and for customers within the defence sector. This deal with Saab allows us to take that expertise and apply it to a new advanced solution. We’re also excited by the exchange of knowledge that will be involved.”

“Tulmar has a long history of manufacturing protective textiles for vehicles and for customers within the defence sector."
says Lori Morris, Tulmar Director of Manufacturing

Expanding production footprint

Saab’s Barracuda Mobile Camouflage System helps armed forces around the planet to effectively manage the electromagnetic signature of vehicles including tanks, armoured personnel carriers and trucks. Available for most platforms, MCS solutions rely on advanced blends of pigments, coatings and textiles to reduce the chances of detection. Depending on the needs of the customer, solutions can be tailored to counter sensors looking for ultraviolet, visual, near infrared, short-wave infrared, thermal infrared and radar signatures.

Charlotta Fridell

Charlotta Fridell explains production of MCS solutions has traditionally been carried out at the Saab plant in Gamleby in south-east Sweden. “However, recent changes in the global political situation mean that armed forces around the world want to make sure they have the most up-to-date camouflage solutions,” she says.

"Under the agreement, Saab will continue to produce the advanced multi-spectral material used in MCS at our factory in Sweden."
says Charlotta Fridell, Head of Production for Saab’s Barracuda business unit

“To meet demand for Barracuda products, we are looking to expand our production base to locations such as North America. And for that we needed a partner who shares similar values in terms of quality, collaboration with customers, and working with employees.” 

Saab´s camouflage production

A long history of excellence

Charlotta says Tulmar’s depth of experience working with defence sector partners and its location makes it an ideal choice.

Tulmar was founded in 1992 and today produces a range of protective textiles and survivability and safety solutions for customers in Canada and internationally. Its major customers include the Canadian Armed Forces, General Dynamics Land Systems, and Air Canada. In the defence space, Tulmar currently produces products including straps and containment systems, seat belts, swim covers, dust and protective covers, and blast attenuating seats

Photo: Tulmar

“We have a 60,000 square foot [5574 m2] facility in Hawkesbury, with about 50 production staff and 30 staff in support roles,” says Tulmar’s Lori Morris. “That includes a very experienced engineering team that has a tonne of experience with land vehicles, including measuring them and fitting them for all sorts covers.”

Lori explains one of the key benefits of working with Saab is the exchange of knowledge involved. Saab will share details of its processes for tailoring and machining multispectral camouflage fabric to fit different vehicles. Charlotta Fridell says, in turn, she expects the knowledge sharing to work both ways, with Saab eager to learn lessons from Tulmar’s efficient operations.

Unique collaboration

A notable aspect of the new deal is that collaboration between Tulmar and Saab will be overseen by two female leaders – a rare occurrence in the often male-dominated defence and security sector.

“I've been in the defence industry for the past 15 years and over that time, I've seen a lot of growth in terms of women advancing their careers,” says Lori. “I think there's a great synergy with Charlotta and we have a similar perspective on a lot of things operationally and how we want see things running. As time goes by, I think we’re seeing more and more women developing their careers in more technical roles.”

Charlotta adds that while the current deal covers MCS solutions, there may be potential in future for Tulmar to be involved in the assembly of other Saab Barracuda camouflage products.


About Tulmar Safety Systems

Tulmar designs, manufactures and distributes engineered protective textiles and survivability and safety solutions for the aerospace, defence and public security industries. Based at Hawkesbury, Ontario, the company recently celebrated its 30th year of operation. Its 80-strong workforce services Canadian and international customers from a 60,000 square foot plant.

About Saab Barracuda Mobile Systems

Saab provides sophisticated camouflage systems for use on static assets, vehicles and for individual soldiers. Our Mobile Camouflage System for military vehicles has been in use for over 25 years and is being continually improved to address new sensor threats. It provides multi-spectral protection to vehicles on the move, with careful tailoring allowing for full use of key vehicle features, such as guns. A key option for MCS is the Cool Cam system which is designed to reduce heat stress on soldiers and equipment in hot operating environments.

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