Gov­ern­ment ad­justs $60B war­ship process

PressReader - Tke Channel - Gov­ern­ment ad­justs $60B war­ship process
The gov­ern­ment has once again changed how it will eval­u­ate bids on its $60-bil­lion war­ship pro­gram, prompt­ing more con­cerns the new process is de­signed to help out a company linked to Irv­ing Ship­build­ing.The move is the lat­est twist in the on­go­ing saga of the Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ant, be­lieved to be the largest sin­gle de­fence pur­chase Canada has ever un­der­taken.Com­pa­nies have al­ready pro­vided their bids for the sur­face com­bat­ant project to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and Irv­ing, which will con­struct the ves­sels.The firms were ex­pect­ing those to be eval­u­ated us­ing an es­tab­lished process out­lined pre­vi­ously, which in­cluded one op­por­tu­nity to fix prob­lems with bids. But on Aug. 13, the gov­ern­ment in­formed the firms a sec­ond op­por­tu­nity would be pro­vided if the com­pa­nies weren’t fully com­pli­ant in meet­ing Canada’s naval re­quire­ments, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try sources.Jean-François Lé­tourneau, of Pub­lic Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada, con­firmed the new process, but added, “this is an ex­am­ple of how the gov­ern­ment of Canada is de­vel­op­ing and ap­ply­ing in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to im­prove the re­sults for large, com­plex de­fence pro­cure­ments.”The gov­ern­ment has told com­pa­nies not to com­ment dur­ing the se­lec­tion process. But the new change has sparked more con­cerns the process is rigged to favour a bid by Lock­heed Martin Canada and Bri­tish firm BAE, in­dus­try sources say.Ri­val firms claim BAE’s Type 26 war­ship won’t be able to meet Canada’s needs, so the company, which has been in­volved in other busi­ness ven­tures with Irv­ing, is be­ing given ad­di­tional chances to fix up its pro­posal.BAE and Lock­heed Martin have coun­tered that the Type 26 will be more than ca­pa­ble of meet­ing Canada’s re­quire­ments.Irv­ing de­clined to com­ment.Lé­tourneau said fair­ness and trans­parency have been key fac­tors in the pro­cure­ment process. “Given the mag­ni­tude and im­por­tance of this project, ev­ery ef­fort is be­ing made to en­sure that this pro­cure­ment is fairly and ef­fec­tively ex­e­cuted ...,” he said.The project, es­ti­mated to cost be­tween $55 bil­lion and $60 bil­lion, will see Irv­ing build 15 war­ships at its Halifax Ship­yard. But the project is seen as a ma­jor de­par­ture from pre­vi­ous pur­chases as Irv­ing has a sig­nif­i­cant role in se­lect­ing the win­ning bid­der. That has fu­elled in­dus­try con­cerns about favouritism since Irv­ing has worked closely with BAE on other ven­tures.Those con­cerns only in- creased when the pa­ram­e­ters of the project were changed ear­lier. Fed­eral of­fi­cials had orig­i­nally stated Canada wanted ma­ture, proven ship de­signs to cut down on risk. But the gov­ern­ment and Irv­ing ac­cepted the BAE de­sign, which at the time was still only on draw­ing boards. Con­struc­tion be­gan on BAE’s Type 26 fri­gate for Bri­tain’s Royal Navy in the sum­mer of 2017, but the first ship is not yet com­pleted.Both Irv­ing and Pub­lic Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada have de­nied any favouritism to­wards BAE.But even as Irv­ing re­leased the re­quest for pro­pos­als for the sur­face com­bat­ant pro­gram, it was teamed with BAE to bid on a main­te­nance pro­gram for other new Cana­dian navy ships, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral doc­u­ments. The two firms were not suc­cess­ful on that con­tract, but the gov­ern­ment re­minded Irv­ing it had an obli­ga­tion to “en­sure that the Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ant com­pe­ti­tion is con­ducted in a man­ner that is free from real or per­ceived con­flicts of in­ter­est,” ac­cord­ing to Fe­bru­ary 2017 doc­u­ments pre­pared for De­fence Min­is­ter Har­jit Sa­j­jan.A num­ber of de­fence in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives ac­knowl­edge there is the wide­spread be­lief the BAE pro­posal has the in­side track.In ad­di­tion, sev­eral Euro­pean ship­builders de­cided against sub­mit­ting bids on the Cana­dian pro­gram be­cause of con­cerns about the fair­ness of the process.THE PROJECT WILL SEE IRV­ING BUILD 15 WAR­SHIPS AT ITS HALIFAX SHIP­YARD.

Irv­ing Ship­build­ing in Halifax is set to con­struct the next gen­er­a­tion of Royal Cana­dian Navy ves­sels and is cur­rently work­ing with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to sift through pro­cure­ment bids for the project.

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