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November 9, 2023 | Local, Aerospace

US Navy eyes two-submarine delivery rate in 2024 after schedule upset

After trying to deliver 2 subs this year but facing delays over the summer, the Navy hopes 2024 will be the year to get back to 2-a-year deliveries.

https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2023/11/09/us-navy-eyes-two-submarine-delivery-rate-in-2024-after-schedule-upset/

On the same subject

  • Canada to pay $4.1B for Navy support ships in latest cost increase

    June 16, 2020 | Local, Naval

    Canada to pay $4.1B for Navy support ships in latest cost increase

    The Canadian Press OTTAWA — Canada's national shipbuilding plan was rocked by yet another cost increase on Monday as the federal government revealed it will pay $4.1 billion for two long-overdue support ships for the navy — an increase of $1.5 billion from initial estimates. The revelation came as Ottawa officially awarded a contract for the full construction of the two new Protecteur-class joint support ships to Vancouver's Seaspan shipyards, which has already started work on the first of the vessels. Seaspan was first tapped to build the two ships and several coast guard vessels in 2011, at which point the supply ships were expected to cost $2.6 billion. The figure was later revised to $3.4 billion before another $700 million was added Monday. The first of the support ships was to have been delivered by 2019. The government says it now doesn't expect the first ship before 2023, with the second due in 2025. Seaspan has been under contract to work on some parts of the first ship since June 2018. The Royal Canadian Navy has been without a full-time support ship since 2014 and is currently relying on a converted civilian vessel that is being leased from Quebec's Chantier Davie shipyard to fill the gap. That ship, the MV Asterix, was at the heart of the failed prosecution of retired vice-admiral Mark Norman. The Liberal government was playing down the cost increase to the support ships on Monday, with senior ministers touting the importance of the vessels to the Royal Canadian Navy and the jobs that the project is creating in Vancouver and elsewhere. "These new ships will provide a necessary capability for our Royal Canadian Navy, while providing significant economic benefits and jobs to Canadians, including thousands of jobs created or sustained," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement. Yet the cost increase is the latest to hit the shipbuilding plan, which has been plagued by delays and budget increases for years. The plan is intended to recapitalize the majority of Canada's naval and coast guard fleets. The entire plan to buy new warships to replace the navy's frigates and destroyers, several Arctic patrol vessels, a polar icebreaker and four science vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard in addition to the two support ships was pegged in 2011 at $35 billion. The warships alone are now expected to cost at least $65 billion while the rest of the projects have either seen similar budget increases or their budgets are under review. The delivery schedules for the projects have also been pushed back numerous times. Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute noted the new cost for the support ships is almost exactly how much Parliament's budget watchdog estimated following an analysis in 2013. The Conservative government at the time refuted the parliamentary budget officer's estimate, with then-public works minister Rona Ambrose saying appropriate safeguards had been put into place to protect taxpayers. "There's not a lot of detail in this today so it's hard to do a line by line," Perry said. "But superficially at least, the PBO's report from 2013 — which I recall being pooh-poohed pretty extensively — has held up pretty well." Ottawa has in recent years produced update cost estimates for most of the vessels being built through the federal shipbuilding plan. However, budgets for the polar icebreaker and an offshore science vessel for the coast guard are still under review. This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 15, 2020. https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/news/canada-to-pay-4-1b-for-navy-support-ships-in-latest-cost-increase-1.24153254

  • Ottawa awards $2.4B contract to finish building navy's supply ships

    June 16, 2020 | Local, Naval

    Ottawa awards $2.4B contract to finish building navy's supply ships

    The decision signals the project won't be delayed by pandemic-driven deficit spending Murray Brewster · CBC News · Posted: Jun 15, 2020 2:45 PM The Liberal government has awarded a $2.4 billion contract to finish the overall construction of the navy's long-awaited supply ships. Today's announcement moves forward a Joint Support Ship program over a decade-and-a-half in the making. It also appears to signal the federal government remains committed to its multi-billion shipbuilding program despite record levels of pandemic-driven federal deficit spending. The contract, with Seaspan's Vancouver Shipyards, is for the construction of two replenishment vessels, Public Services and Procurement Canada said in a statement. Now that the construction deal has been signed, the overall price tag of the program — including design — is expected to be $4.1 billion, up from an earlier estimate of $3.4 billion. Seven years ago, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) predicted the cost would end up where it has — an estimate that was roundly criticized and dismissed by the Conservatives, who were in power at the time. "The government announcement today did not have a whole ton of detail, so it's hard to do an exact comparison, but I certainly think that PBO estimate from a long time ago has held up pretty well over time," said Dave Perry, an expert in defence procurement and vice president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. The first supply ship is to be delivered in 2023, and the second vessel is supposed to arrive two years later. The yard started construction on certain portions of the first ship in 2018, while final design work was still underway — something that alarmed and even baffled some defence and shipbuilding experts. 'Business as usual' With the federal deficit expected to swell to over $252.1 billion because of COVID-19 relief measures, many in the defence community had been speculating that existing spending plans for the supply ships would be curtailed or scaled back. In a statement, federal Public Services Minister Anita Anand suggested the Liberal government is committed to staying the course. "This contract award is yet another example of our ongoing commitment to the National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is supporting a strong and sustainable marine sector in Canada," she said. Perry said he takes it as a sign the Liberals intend to proceed with their defence construction plans in the face of fiscal and economic uncertainty. "It is an indicator that, despite being business under some very unusual circumstances, it is still government business-as-usual under COVID," he said. In the same government statement, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan pointed out that an enormous amount of preparation work has been done already and he's pleased the project is moving forward. "An impressive amount of work has already gone into the construction of these new ships, and I look forward to their arrival in the coming years." said Sajjan. Construction during COVID-19 A senior executive at Seaspan said work to adapt the design from the original German plan (the Canadian ship is based on the German Navy's Berlin-Class replenishment vessel) was completed last year and work on the superstructure of the first Joint Support Ship — started in 2018 — has been proceeding apace, even through the pandemic. "It is well advanced," said Amy MacLeod, the company's vice-president of corporate affairs. "We are ready to continue. We're very, very happy with the quality of the ship, the progress of the ship, the momentum that we have and the expertise we have gained." The shipyard did not pause construction due to the pandemic — but it did have to figure out ways to carry on under strict physical distancing rules. "We, like everybody else, had to understand how to run a business in a pandemic," said MacLeod. "We made a lot of changes on how we build our ships." Turnstiles to enter and exit the yard were eliminated and the company went high-tech with a "heat map" that shows where everyone is working and how much space there is between individual workers. "And where we couldn't ensure appropriate social distancing because of COVID, we stopped that work." Perry said the gap between the construction of the two supply ships worries him to a degree. Seaspan intends to construct an ocean science vessel for the coast guard under a plan agreed to with the Liberal government in 2019. Any delay or hiccup in the construction of that ship could mean the delivery of the second naval vessel is pushed back even further, Perry said. Extending the navy's range News of the contract will come as a relief to the navy. Having replenishment ships to refuel and rearm frigates would allow the navy to deploy entire task groups to far-flung parts of the world. "With these warships, the Royal Canadian Navy will be able to operate with even greater flexibility and endurance," said Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, commander of the navy. "These ships will not only form part of the core of our naval task groups, they also represent a vital and strategic national asset that will enable the Navy to maintain its global reach and staying power." A tortured history It was 1994 when the replacement program was first discussed. The deficit-slashing years of that decade meant the plan was shelved. Resurrected in 2004, the Liberal government of former prime minister Paul Martin hoped to have the ships in the water by 2008 to replace the three-decade-old supply ships the navy had been operating. Faced with cost estimates well over what they had expected, the Conservative government of former prime minister Stephen Harper shelved the Liberal plan on the eve of the 2008 federal election. More than five years later, the navy was forced to retire both aging supply ships after one of them was crippled by a devastating fire. The absence of replenishment capability led the Harper government to lease a converted civilian supply ship from a private company, Federal Fleet Services, which operates out of the Davie Shipyard in Levis, Que. That plan led to a political and legal scandal when the former commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, was accused of leaking cabinet secrets related to the plan. The Crown withdrew the charge a year ago after a protracted pre-trial court battle. https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/supply-ship-navy-seaspan-1.5612770

  • Trump may have given Trudeau the excuse he needs to ditch the F-35 once and for all

    May 7, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Trump may have given Trudeau the excuse he needs to ditch the F-35 once and for all

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN The defence and aerospace industry is abuzz about the letters the U.S. government sent to Canada over the upcoming competition to acquire a new fleet of fighter jets to replace the RCAF's CF-18s. In short, the Trump administration has given an ultimatum to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. If Canada insists that industrial and technological benefits must come from the outlay of $19 billion for a new fighter jet fleet then Lockheed Martin's F-35 stealth jet is out of the race. Full stop. The U.S. argument is that because Canada is a partner in the F-35 program it cannot ask Lockheed Martin to meet specific industrial benefits for a Canadian competition if the F-35 is selected. Under the F-35 agreement, partner nations are prohibited from imposing requirements for industrial benefits as the work is determined on the best value basis. In other words, Canadian firms compete and if they are good enough they get work on the F-35 program. Over the last 12 years, Canadian firms have earned $1.3 billion U.S. for their work on building F-35 parts. The U.S. had boldly stated it cannot offer the F-35 for the Canadian competition if there are requirements to meet for set industrial benefits. But that ultimatum could seriously backfire on the Trump administration. Trudeau and the Liberal government has never been keen on the F-35 (Trudeau campaigned against purchasing the jet). There have also been a number of negative headlines over the last year outlining the increasing maintenance costs for the F-35s, not a good selling point for the jet. The U.S. ultimatum may have just given Trudeau a way out of his F-35 dilemma, particularly if the prime minister can say that it was it was the Americans themselves who decided not to enter the F-35 in the Canadian competition. Trudeau will also be able to point to the other firms ready and keen to chase the $19 billion contract. Airbus, a major player in Canada's aerospace industry, says it is open to producing its Eurofighter Typhoon in Canada with the corresponding jobs that will create. Boeing, which has a significant presence in Canada, will offer the Super Hornet. Saab has also hinted about building its Gripen fighter in Canada if it were to receive the jet contract. To be sure, if the U.S. withdraws the F-35 from the competition, retired Canadian military officers and the defence analysts working for think-tanks closely aligned with the Department of National Defence be featured in news reports about how the Royal Canadian Air Force will be severely hindered without the F-35. Some Canadian firms involved in the F-35 program may complain publicly about lost work on the F-35 program but companies tend not criticize governments for fear they won't receive federal contracts or funding in the future. There will be talk about how U.S.-Canada defence relations will be hurt but then critics will counter that U.S. President Donald Trump used national security provisions to hammer Canada in ongoing trade disputes. And let's face it. Defence issues are rarely a factor in federal elections or in domestic politics. The Trump administration, which is not the most popular among Canadians, may have just given Trudeau a political gift. https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/trump-may-have-given-trudeau-the-excuse-he-needs-to-ditch-the-f-35

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