OTTAWA --- The federal government will announce Friday that it has locked down a design for its $60-billion fleet of new warships following a series of high-stakes negotiations that appeared in jeopardy at one point because of a trade challenge.
Federal Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough will be in Halifax to announce that the government and Irving Shipbuilding are officially awarding U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin a contract to design the vessels.
The deal means that the Royal Canadian Navy’s 15 new warships, which will be built by Irving and replace Canada’s existing frigates and destroyers, will be based on the British-designed Type 26 frigate.
The announcement has been expected since Lockheed’s design was selected as the best last October, over submissions from Alion Science and Technology of Virginia and Spanish firm Navantia.
Alion subsequently asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to quash the decision, saying Lockheed’s design did not meet the navy’s requirements and should have been disqualified.
The trade tribunal initially ordered the government not to award a contract to Lockheed until it could investigate Alion’s complaint, but it later rescinded that decision and then tossed the case entirely last week.
That paved the way for the government and Irving, which is technically subcontracting Lockheed to design the ships it will build, to move ahead and award the contract.
Alion has also challenged Lockheed’s selection at the Federal Court, though that case is expected to drag. Alion alleges that the Type 26 did not meet the navy’s requirements for speed and crew accommodations.
While Friday’s announcement means the government has now settled on a design for the warship fleet, more work will need to be done before steel starts to be cut in Halifax. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Vancouver Sun website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Still unexplained in Canada’s plan to reinforce its armed forces, and notably the Royal Canadian Navy, is how a fleet of 15 frigates can be budgeted to cost C$60 billion, or about C$4 billion per ship, when a large surface combatant costs between $500 million and $1 billion, depending on size and equipment.
The UK is paying £8 billion for eight Type 26 frigates, on which the Canadian design is based, while Australia is paying A$35 billion for nine Hunter-class frigates, also derived from the Type 26.)