Canada se­lects Bri­tish de­sign

PressReader - Tke Channel - Canada se­lects Bri­tish de­sign
The Cana­dian govern­ment has se­lected a con­sor­tium closely linked to Irv­ing Ship­build­ing to pro­vide it with a new war­ship de­sign for the most ex­pen­sive de­fence project the coun­try has ever seen.Canada an­nounced Fri­day it had cho­sen the Type 26 war­ship de­sign by Bri­tish de­fence firm BAE for the $60-bil­lion pro­gram to re­place the Royal Cana­dian Navy’s Hal­i­fax-class frigates. Lock­heed Martin Canada is lead­ing the BAE con­sor­tium and will be the prime con­trac­tor. The group’s win had been an­tic­i­pated since 2016, how­ever, af­ter ri­val de­fence firms raised con­cerns that the com­pe­ti­tion had been rigged in favour of the Bri­tish de­sign.The Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ant project will see the Hal­i­fax-based Irv­ing Ship­build­ing build 15 war­ships, which will form the back­bone of the fu­ture Royal Cana­dian Navy. It will be the largest and most com­plex pro­cure­ment in Cana­dian his­tory. How­ever, it is seen as a ma­jor de­par­ture from pre­vi­ous pro­cure­ment pro­cesses, as Irv­ing is play­ing a sig­nif­i­cant role in se­lect­ing the win­ning de­sign.The pre­vi­ous fed­eral pro­cure­ment min­is­ter, Judy Foote, had said only ma­ture ex­ist­ing de­signs or de­signs of ships al­ready in ser­vice would be ac­cepted for the bid­ding process, on the grounds they could be built faster and would be less risky — un­proven de­signs can face chal­lenges as prob­lems are found once the ves­sel is in the wa­ter and op­er­at­ing. But the Lib­eral govern­ment and Irv­ing ac­cepted the BAE de­sign into the process, though at the time it ex­isted only on the draw­ing board. Con­struc­tion be­gan on the first Type 26 frigate in the sum­mer of 2017 for Bri­tain’s Royal Navy, but it has not yet been com­pleted.Both Irv­ing and the fed­eral govern­ment have in­sisted the pro­cure­ment was be­ing con­ducted in a way that en­sures all bid­ders are treated equally, over­seen by a fair­ness mon­i­tor with no un­fair ad­van­tage given to any in­di­vid­ual bidder. Nonethe­less, while three con­sor­tiums sub­mit­ted bids for the sur­face com­bat­ant pro­gram, sev­eral Euro­pean ship­builders de­cided against par­tic­i­pat­ing be­cause of con­cerns about the fair­ness of the process.Oth­ers raised con­cerns about BAE’s close­ness with the Hal­i­fax firm.Last year a French-Ital­ian con­sor­tium also de­clined to for­mally sub­mit a bid and in­stead of­fered Canada a fleet of ves­sels at a fixed price.Of­fi­cials with Fin­cantieri of Italy and Naval Group of France said they don’t be­lieve the pro­cure­ment process as it is cur­rently de­signed will be suc­cess­ful. The fed­eral govern­ment, how­ever, re­jected the deal.The fed­eral govern­ment had to re­mind Irv­ing about the po­ten­tial for con­flict of in­ter­est when the firm joined forces with BAE in late 2016 to bid on a multi-bil­lion dol­lar con­tract to pro­vide main­te­nance and sup­port for the navy’s new Arc­tic pa­trol and sup­ply ships.The Irv­ing-BAE al­liance was not suc­cess­ful in that bid, but it led the govern­ment to re­mind 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 and re­leased to the Con­ser­va­tives un­der the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion law.An­dre Fil­lion, as­sis­tant deputy min­is­ter for de­fence and ma­rine pro­cure­ment at Pub­lic Ser­vices and Pro­cure­ment Canada, said Fri­day’s de­ci­sion is not a con­tract award. “It’s an im­por­tant step to get­ting to con­tract award in the com­ing months,” he said.Ne­go­ti­a­tions will now be­gin with Lock­heed Martin. if ne­go­ti­a­tions pro­ceed ac­cord­ingly a con­tract is ex­pected to be signed some­time be­tween Jan­uary and March 2019.But Fil­lion said if there are is­sues with those ne­go­ti­a­tions and an agree­ment is not reached, the govern­ment will then turn to the next high­est-ranked bidder. The govern­ment has de­clined to iden­tify that firm, but the other bid­ders were from the U.S. and Spain.The Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ant pro­gram has al­ready faced de­lays and ris­ing costs. In 2008 the then-Con­ser­va­tive govern­ment es­ti­mated the project would cost roughly $26 bil­lion. But in 2015, Vice-Ad­mi­ral Mark Nor­man, then com­man­der of the navy, voiced con­cern that tax­pay­ers may not have been given all the in­for­ma­tion about the pro­gram, pub­licly pre­dict­ing the cost for the war­ships alone would ap­proach $30 bil­lion.IT’S AN IM­POR­TANT STEP TO GET­TING TO CON­TRACT AWARD IN THE COM­ING MONTHS.

An artist’s ren­der­ing of the Type 26 Global Com­bat Ship, Lock­heed Martin’s pro­posed de­sign for Canada’s $60-bil­lion fleet of new war­ships.

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