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July 24, 2018 | Local, Naval

Bids to be submitted today for Canadian Surface Combatant – the countdown begins


The final bids are being submitted Friday by various consortiums for the Canadian Surface Combatant program.

The bids going in Friday involve the finalized portions of the bids on designs (the technical design bids were originally submitted in November but today marks the deadline for responses that deal with any questions the federal government may have had/changes needed to be made) as well as proposals for the financial elements for the project.

The new ships will be the backbone of the future Royal Canadian Navy.

The groups bidding include:

-Lockheed Martin Canada, who will be the prime on the team that includes BAE Systems, CAE, L3 Technologies, MDA, and Ultra Electronics. The team is offering the BAE Type 26 warship for the Canadian program. The proposal will include Lockheed Martin Canada's combat management system, CMS 330, which is currently on board the modernized Halifax-class frigates. A scaled down version of the system will be used on the Royal Canadian Navy's new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship fleet. The United Kingdom is acquiring 8 of the Type 26 ships. Australia has also identified the Type 26 as the design for its future warship.

Gary Fudge, Vice President and General Manager, Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems told Defence Watch that the group's bid was submitted earlier this week. He noted that the Type 26 would be excellent in an anti-submarine warfare role as it is designed to be extremely quiet. The vessel also has room to future modernization, unlike older designs, he added. The Lockheed Martin team, which is making $17 billion in value proposition commitments to Canada, will commit to spending billions in innovation across Canada's priority areas, including $2 billion in supplier development and $2 billion in research and development, and $200 million in advanced manufacturing, the company noted.

-Alion Science and Technology, along with its subsidiary Alion Canada, submitted their proposal based on the Dutch De Zeven Provinciën Air Defence and Command (LCF) frigate. “Our solution delivers an effective, affordable, production-ready 21st century naval capability to meet Canada's defence needs,” Bruce Samuelsen, Chief Operating Officer for Alion, said last year while promoting the firm's bid. The De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate is a proven NATO vessel, built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, with more than 10 years of operational excellence, the company added.

Alion's combat system solution is based on the world-class capabilities of ATLAS-Elektronik and Hensoldt Sensors. ATLAS brings an open architecture Combat Management System that readily accepts new and evolving technologies, the firm noted. Hensoldt's capability and experience in developing and fielding state-of-the art radars was central to meeting the unique Canadian requirements with a fielded, non-developmental radar, the Alion team added in an earlier news release. Other key suppliers include L3 Technologies Canada, Raytheon Canada Limited, DRS Technologies Canada Limited (DRS TCL) and Rheinmetall Canada Inc.

-Navantia of Spain is leading a team that includes Saab Australia and CEA Technologies. Its proposal is based on the F-105 frigate design, a ship in service with the Spanish navy. The design has also already been exported to Norway and Australia. Saab, which would provide the combat management system, has support on the CSC program from Lockheed Martin (Moorestown, New Jersey), General Dynamic Mission Systems – Canada, DRS Technologies Limited Canada, OSI Maritime Service and Rheinmetall Canada, according to Navantia.

The F-105 Anti-Submarine Warfare ship will incorporate Saab's 9LV Combat Management Systems, elements of which are in service on over 240 platforms in 16 navies across the globe, including Canada's own Halifax-class frigates, the company has said.

The budget for the Canadian Surface Combatant project is estimated by the federal government to be between $55 billion and $60 billion. That is a range but specific costs won't be known until contacts are signed and more details worked out. Fifteen warships will be built.

Pat Finn, assistant deputy minister for materiel at the Department of National Defence, told Defence Watch he expects a winning bid to be selected by the end of this year.

After that negotiations would start and a contract is expected to be signed sometime early 2019. If an agreement can't be reached then negotiations would begin with the group that came second in the competition.

About half of the cost of the surface combatant price-tag is for systems and equipment that will go on the 15 ships, according to federal documents obtained by Postmedia through the Access the Information law. “Approximately one-half of the CSC build cost is comprised of labour in the (Irving's) Halifax yard and materials,” the documents added.

Jean-Denis Fréchette, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, estimated the CSC program would cost $61.82 billion. He also warned that every year the awarding of the contract is delayed beyond 2018, taxpayers will spend an extra $3 billion because of inflation.

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