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February 4, 2019 | Local, Naval

Contracts awarded to enhance tracking and detecting capabilities of Halifax-class frigates

February 1st, 2019 –– Halifax (N.-S.) –– National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

As outlined in Canada's defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is providing the Royal Canadian Navy with enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Today, on behalf of Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, the Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development, announced the award of two contracts valued at $186 million to General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada to upgrade and maintain underwater sensors installed in the modernized Halifax-class frigates.

The majority of this work will occur in Canada, creating and maintaining about 120 highly skilled jobs while supporting the continued growth and competitive advantage of the underwater sensor industrial capabilities in Canada.

As a result of this investment, the Halifax-class frigates will be able to detect quieter targets at increased ranges. In addition, improved automation will allow sonar operators to improve their underwater warfare performance work and to focus on other priorities. This will make our frigates more effective in both coastal regions and the open-ocean.

The Halifax-class multi-role frigates will remain the key contributor to naval operations for the next 20 years. The contracts announced today will increase the frigates' overall ability to deal with emerging and future threats, and ensure that the women and men of our Royal Canadian Navy have what they need to do the important job we ask of them.


“Through our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, we are investing in the women and men of our Royal Canadian Navy and making sure they are well equipped to address emerging threats. Threat detection is critical to initiate rapid defence countermeasures that protect our sailors and our ships. As the security environment continues to evolve, we will continue to adapt our naval capabilities, enabling effective defence of Canadian waters and meaningful contribution to international operations and exercises.”

Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“Communities across Canada, and here in Nova Scotia, will greatly benefit from this important long-term investment in skilled employment in Canada's technology sector. Our Government is making sure defence contracts bring prosperity and support as well as critical Canadian Armed Forces equipment. ”

Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy helps to create jobs, supports innovation and stimulates economic growth in Canadian communities. These contracts will continue to advance Key Industrial Capabilities in Canada and help support our Royal Canadian Navy.”

Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“Our Government is committed to building a more agile, better-equipped military, while supporting the Canadian economy. These enhancements to the Halifax-class frigates will provide the Royal Canadian Navy with the latest technology it needs to detect incoming threats.”

Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility

“Defence contracts create tangible benefits for Canadians. These defence contracts will bring highly skilled jobs and generate economic opportunities to communities on the East Coast and in Canada for many years, while supporting the operations of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Andy Fillmore, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism

Quick facts

  • Halifax-class frigate sonar operators detect, locate and track surface and sub-surface threats through the continuous monitoring and collection of information via high-tech sensors.

  • The $186 million contracts include acquisition and upgrade for the first six Halifax-class frigates ($103 million) and in-service support (potentially $83 million).

  • The contracts include options to upgrade all twelve Halifax-class frigates, which would bring the acquisition portion of to $170 million.

  • The in-service support contract will maintain and sustain upgraded suites for up to 23 years, if all options are exercised.

  • The first installation of the upgraded underwater warfare suite is expected to be completed in 2021 and operational in 2022.

  • Licensed Defence Research and Development Canada Intellectual Property forms the basis of the winning technical bid for the UWSU Project. A repository of re-usable software has been developed over 25 years by DRDC in support of RCN and RCAF technology demonstration projects in underwater warfare.

  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy applies to this project, creating jobs and supporting key industrial capabilities in Canada.

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