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  • Joint Support Ship cost up by $1.1 billion - taxpayers will now spend $3.4 billion on project

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Naval

    Joint Support Ship cost up by $1.1 billion - taxpayers will now spend $3.4 billion on project

    DAVID PUGLIESE, OTTAWA CITIZEN Taxpayers will have to spend $1.1 billion extra on new navy supply ships that are going to be built starting this summer, the Liberal government now acknowledges. Previously the cost of building the two ships at Seaspan shipyards in Vancouver, BC had been pegged at $2.3 billion. But the government ordered a review of that cost figure and in an email to Postmedia, Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough's office now confirms the cost for the Joint Support Ships, or JSS, is set at $3.4 billion. Pat Finn, the head of procurement at the Department of National Defence, said the new price tag came as the government decided to do an additional analysis of the project and include other items it had not previously included. In some cases equipment for the ship has been purchased so there are better costs available on those items, Finn said in an interview Monday. Also taken into account was new infrastructure and the delays with the program, which, in turn, drove up the price as the cost of material increased over the years. “The build period has changed quite dramatically,” Finn acknowledged. At one point, the first ship was supposed to arrive in 2012. That has been changed a number of times with the government later hoping for a 2018 delivery and then a 2019 arrival for the first vessel. The Department of National Defence is now hoping for the delivery of the first ship in 2022 or 2023. Construction will begin at Seaspan this summer of some initial portions of the vessels, Finn said. The government hopes starting construction on the supply ships in the summer will head off any potential layoffs of skilled employees at Seaspan. Finn said of the $3.4 billion figure, the actual cost of building the two ships accounts for a little more than 60 per cent. Finn said the new costing model for the JSS is more akin to the one used by the parliamentary budget office. That office had an even higher estimate for JSS when it concluded in 2013 that the final tally for taxpayers would be $4.13 billion. The Joint Support Ships are critical for the navy as they provide fuel and supplies for warships at sea. But the Royal Canadian Navy retired its last two aging supply ships years ago. One was damaged beyond repair in a fire. The other was removed from service because of excessive corrosion. The Canadian military had been relying on the Spanish and Chilean navies to provide supply vessels for short periods of time to help fuel up Canadian warships at sea. Because of the delays in the JSS program, the previous Conservative government entered into agreement with Davie Shipyards in Quebec to lease a commercial vessel that had been converted into a refueling and supply ship. That ship, the MV Asterix, is at the heart of federal government's case against Vice Admiral Mark Norman. Norman has been accused by the RCMP of warning Davie in the fall of 2015 that Liberal cabinet ministers wanted to derail the Asterix project. Word of the Liberal plan leaked out to the news media and the resulting embarrassment forced the Trudeau government to back down on its plans and the conversion of Asterix proceeded. Norman was put under investigation and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau predicted on two occasions the officer would ultimately end up in court. In March, the RCMP charged Norman with a single count of breach of trust. A date for the trial has not yet been set. Norman denies the charge and has said he looks forward to clearing his name. Asterix is considered a rare achievement in Canadian military procurement in that it was delivered on time and on budget. The supply ship is now at sea with Royal Canadian Navy and is headed to a major military exercise to begin later this month. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/joint-support-ship-cost-up-by-1-1-billion-taxpayers-will-now-spend-3-4-billion-on-project

  • Here are just some of the ways Canadian technology keeps Americans safe

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Here are just some of the ways Canadian technology keeps Americans safe

    It's been a week since the Trump White House slapped Canada with steel and aluminum tariffs on the ground that reliance on our imports was threatening the “national security” of the United States. If Canadians are particularly galled at this, it might be because no foreign country in modern times has done more to arm and equip the United States than Canada. “I would not be surprised if every single major aircraft or warship in U.S. military service today has Canadian components in it,” said Richard Shimooka, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Below, a cursory summary of some of the Canadian stuff used by history's most powerful military. Landing gear We'll start with an entry that directly concerns steel and aluminum. Quebec-based Héroux-Devtek is the world's third largest aircraft landing gear company, and some of that is thanks to a longstanding relationship with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Specifically, Héroux-Devtek is in charge of landing gear repair and overhaul for several large U.S. aircraft, including the heavy-lift C-130 Hercules. Of course, landing gear is made almost entirely of steel or aluminum. So, thanks to these new tariffs, American military procurers are either going to start getting hosed on their Héroux-Devtek contracts — or they're going to have start getting their landing gear overhauls from a U.S. company that isn't their first choice. Armoured personnel carriers “Canada and the US have been building military equipment for each other since the summer of 1940,” David Bercuson, a military historian at the University of Calgary, told the National Post. “Literally billions of dollars of such equipment has passed the border since then.” The most obvious example is the Stryker. There are nearly 5,000 Stryker armoured personnel carriers in the U.S. military, and all of them were built in London, Ontario. Not only that, but the Stryker is even based on a Canadian design, the LAV III. Coming in at a rock bottom $4 million apiece, the Americans use Strykers for everything: Ambulances, firefighting, missile platforms, chemical weapons defence and mine detection. They even started rigging them up with giant lasers to shoot down enemy drones. Armoured vehicles happen to be a Canadian specialty. While the United States was busy throwing money at big ticket items such as tanks and attack helicopters, the shoestring Canadians have gotten very good at the much cheaper task of simply strapping guns and armour to oversized trucks. And if a U.S. diplomat found themselves touring Iraq in an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser, chances are good they were shielded from bullets and IEDs by Canadian workmanship. Specialized aircraft Here again, the United States has it covered when it comes to big ticket aircraft such as fighters or bombers. But the U.S. military will occasionally call up Canadian plane-makers when it needs something quirky. Bombardier has retooled some of its airliners and business jets to act as airborne radar platforms. When the United States Army Parachute Team appears at air shows, they're jumping out of a Canadian-made de Havilland Twin Otter. De Havilland has also hooked up the Americans with some of its famously rugged prop planes for use in electronic warfare, remote cargo drops or simply moving National Guard troops around Alaska. All told, the U.S. military is flying more planes built in Canada than in any other foreign country. The U.S. military's only cargo drone (and it has the most Canadian name imaginable) A U.S. special forces unit is pinned down on a remote Central Asian mountaintop. Surrounded by militants on all sides, it needs an emergency airlift of water and ammunition to even see daybreak. Enter the SnowGoose, an unmanned autogyro specializing in precision deliveries to special forces. The SnowGoose is the U.S. military's only cargo drone, and it's an all-Canadian creation. An emerging theme on this list is that Canada is great at building niche military hardware for cheap, and the SnowGoose is no exception. As the drone's Stittsville, Ont. builders note, it can move cargo across a battlefield at a fraction of the price of other drones. Nuclear fuel Uranium is a big part of the modern U.S. military. It has more than 100 nuclear-powered vessels in the navy, and there's also those 7,000 atomic weapons it still has lying around. Canada has sold a whole lot of uranium to the U.S. military, going all the way back to the initial atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. However, the taps were somewhat shut off in the 1960s, when Canada started limiting uranium exports to “peaceful” purposes. Still, with Canada ranking as the United States' top uranium dealer, we help keep their uranium topped up enough to have plenty left over for the military. Speaking of nuclear weapons, it might behoove the White House to remember that if a Russian or North Korean missile should happen to be fired in their direction, a Canada-based NORAD station will likely be among the first to let them know. Making fighter jets last forever This entry should fill thrifty Canadians with particular pride: We've gotten so good at squeezing every penny out of our CF-18s that we're now globally renowned experts at fighter jet life extension. Among other things, Canada invented “robotic shot-peening,” a method of using robots to restore aging aircraft with a precision never before known. The technology has been exported to Europe, Australia and, in 2013, the U.S. Navy brought in the Quebec aerospace company L-3 MAS to give its jets a makeover. Battlefield communications Tactical radios are another niche technology in which Canadian companies have a built a slow but steady reputation with the Americans. In a 2017 reporton Canada/U.S. military industrial cooperation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that the U.S. military has been using Canadian radios since the 1960s. Ultra TCS, headquartered in Montreal, remains a supplier of tactical radios to both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. And these aren't just walkie-talkies; they're hyper-advanced networks that can provide email, voice and even video hook-ups to American troops in battle. Jeeps That's right. The Second World War-era Willys Jeep — one of the most American vehicles in history — was manufactured in part by Canada. Ford Motor Company of Canada churned out thousands of Jeeps after the Second World War. In 1952 alone, Canadian factories were making an average of seven of them per day. According to Ford Canada's website, “these postwar Canadian-made Jeep were shipped to the United States, for the American military forces.” Space robots DARPA is the U.S. agency tasked with pursuing military so cutting edge that they occasionally veer into outright science fiction. Last year, DARPA signed a deal with Canada's MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to design robots that could be dispatched into space in order to repair U.S. military satellites. And like most times Canada is brought in for U.S. military stuff, the robot space mechanic program is indeed intended as a cost saving measure. Canada has been a leader in space defence for some time. Our beloved Canadarm, in fact, technically qualifies as an early military space robot. Over the course of the space shuttle program 11 missions were sent up to perform classified work for the Pentagon. We still don't know the specifics of what the Canadarm did for Uncle Sam on those missions, but the arm is a certifiable Cold Warrior. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/security-threat-our-butt-here-are-just-some-of-the-ways-canadian-technology-keeps-americans-safe

  • Création d'un conseil conjoint de Défense Canada-France

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Création d'un conseil conjoint de Défense Canada-France

    La France et le Canada ont décidé de rapprocher leurs armées en créant un conseil conjoint de Défense d'ici la fin de l'année, a annoncé mercredi à l'AFP une source gouvernementale canadienne. Ce «Conseil de défense conjoint ministériel sera convoqué d'ici la fin de l'année 2018» et permettra de mieux coordonner les actions des armées canadiennes et françaises, a déclaré à l'AFP ce haut responsable canadien. Cette annonce intervient à l'occasion de la visite à Ottawa du président français Emmanuel Macron, venu se coordonner avec le premier ministre Justin Trudeau en amont du sommet du G7 qui se tient vendredi et samedi au Québec. Intitulée officiellement «Conseil franco-canadien de coopération en matière de défense», cette structure doit permettre aux armées des deux pays de conduire davantage d'opérations conjointes, a précisé cette source. Il est notamment «envisagé» de mener à terme des opérations de maintien de la paix franco-canadiennes sous les auspices des Nations-Unies, a-t-on précisé. En outre, Paris et Ottawa «s'engagent à mettre en place un Conseil des ministres franco-canadien, autour du président de la République française et du premier ministre du Canada», selon une déclaration transmise à l'AFP. Ce Conseil des ministres se réunira «au minimum» tous les deux ans «pour faire un bilan de cette coopération renforcée et développer des actions conjointes», a ajouté le haut responsable canadien. La France mène déjà de tels Conseils des ministres binationaux avec l'Allemagne et le Québec. http://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2018/06/06/creation-dun-conseil-conjoint-de-defense-canada-france

  • House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    BY REBECCA KHEEL - 06/06/18 12:39 PM EDT The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday unveiled its $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2019. The bill would provide $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year's spending level. The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. “With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “This legislation does all of this by including robust funding for our troops, the defense programs and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.” The money would pay for a boost of 15,600 troops across the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members, both matching what was requested by the administration. The bill would also provide $145.7 billion for equipment purchases and upgrades. That's split $133 billion for base requirements — or $2.5 billion more than requested — and $12.7 billion in OCO. The procurement money includes $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships, two more ships than the administration requested. The two extra ships are littoral combat ships, which Congress continues to support buying — despite the Navy's plan to transition away from the ship — so that shipyards keep working and will be able to keep pace on future orders. The bill would also fund a slew of aircraft, including $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets and $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The bill includes funding for the procurement of 16 more F-35s than requested. The plane is built by Lockheed Martin in defense appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger's (R-Texas) district. Granger said the bill is an extension of last year's efforts to address readiness shortfalls. “It is a product of countless meetings and briefings with our military leaders and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the U.S. military is the strongest, most capable military in the world,” she said in a statement. “Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world.” http://thehill.com/policy/defense/391001-house-panel-unveils-6746b-pentagon-spending-bill

  • DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    Murray Brewster National Defence fell $2.3 billion short in its plan to re-equip the military in the past year — a failing that one defence analyst says guarantees many important decisions on warplanes, ships and vehicles will be pushed beyond next year's election. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed the figure Wednesday as he launched the department's long-anticipated investment plan at a major defence industry trade show in Ottawa. The plan is the Liberal government's spending roadmap for its defence policy, released a year ago, which pledged $6.2 billion in new capital spending in the first year. New figures show $3.9 billion was spent. Later in the day, the chair of the Liberal government's council of economic advisers underscored the importance of investment in the defence sector and how it will drive innovation in other sectors. "If we want to grow — and we can in Canada, and we want to grow more significantly — the defence sector is going to play an essential part in doing that," Dominic Barton said. Leading-edge military technology and the possibilities for its commercialization can transform the broader economy, he added. However, the investment plan presented by the Liberals on Wednesday leans heavily on refurbishing existing technology and equipment — mostly aircraft — in the coming decade. The Defence Capabilities Blue Print will see the air force's CF-18 fighter jets, C-140 Aurora surveillance planes, C-144 Challenger executive jets, C-150 Polaris refuellers and transports, CT-114 Tutor trainers and demonstration jets, C-149 search and rescue helicopters and CH-146 Griffons all given life extensions and upgrades. New aircraft, including drones, won't be introduced until the mid-2020s — or later. A defence analyst said that's no surprise since many major decisions will be pushed past the 2019 election. That means it will be up to the next government to make the tough decisions on how much to buy and how much to spend. "Unless we see an extremely busy June with a lot of announcements on milestone projects, a lot of the work is going to be left until later," said Dave Perry, an expert in procurement at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They're not moving ahead as quickly as they suggested in the defence policy." The government could leave even more money on the table this year. Figures compiled by Perry, using the federal government's own budget documents and records, suggest as much as $3 billion could go unspent on military equipment in the current fiscal period. The former Conservative government was repeatedly criticized for promising the military big things in terms of equipment, but rarely delivering and allowing allocated funds to lapse. That cash was eventually kicked back to the federal treasury and used for deficit reduction. DND gets to keep money, spend it later Sajjan said defence spending is now guaranteed in the fiscal framework, the government's long-term financial plan. That means National Defence gets to keep the money and spend it later. "We always know we might not need the extra funds, but they have to be there just in case," Sajjan said. "Rest assured, the unspent $2.3 billion dollars is protected. Those funds remain available when we need them." He defended the spending "delta," saying that 30 per cent of it comes because projects came in under budget. Another 42 per cent was because of delays by defence contractors. Approximately one-third, though, relates to the department's inability to make a decision — or develop specifications on time. Sajjan took a shot at the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper, which used to regularly publish its defence spending plans, but never had specific funding attached to individual projects. Conservative defence critic James Bezan said there is a disconnect between the government's defence policy and its spending plans as outlined in federal budget documents. "Nothing seems to match," said Bezan, who treats the federal budget as the last word in spending. There was no mention of National Defence in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest fiscal, presented in February. Defence officials insist that is because the department's spending is already accounted for in the fiscal framework. The federal Treasury Board, however, must approve funding on a project-by-project basis — and Bezan said that hasn't been done. "There's no money to do the things Sajjan is out there talking about," he said. "We are still dealing with the problems of getting procurement done in a timely manner and getting it done on budget." The head of a defence industry group — Sajjan's audience as he made the announcement — said the government does deserve credit for consulting more about projects ahead of time, but there are obvious shortcomings. "Any time funding moves to the right, it is a predictability problem for us. We want as as predictable and as stable funding as we can get," said Christyn Cianfarani, the president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. "I still think, systemically, there is a problem and if we don't turn it upside down and shake it — the whole procurement system — and do things differently ... many, many things differently, we'll still see sluggishness in the procurement system." He said the Liberal investment plan is not "aspirational" and states clearly where the cash is coming from. The Conservative guidebook in the end "did not deliver for the men and women in uniform," Sajjan told the audience of defence contractors. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sajjan-dnd-equipment-funds-1.4683606

  • The U.S. Navy Is Developing Mothership Drones for Coastal Defense

    June 11, 2018 | International, Naval

    The U.S. Navy Is Developing Mothership Drones for Coastal Defense

    By Patrick Tucker, The service is looking to accelerate the way it buys, builds and drills drones and robotic ships. The U.S. Navy and researchers from Florida Atlantic University are developing robotic boats that can launch aerial and sub drones to protect U.S. coastal waters. “Our focus will be on developing a multi-vehicle system that can safely and reliably navigate coastal waters with a high level of autonomy while performing assigned tasks,” Manhar Dhanak, director of SeaTech, the Institute for Ocean and Systems Engineering in FAU's Department of Ocean and Mechanical Engineering, said in a press release. The AU researchers will develop new software tools for better sensing and collision avoidance as well as to allow the ship “to serve as a docking station” and power sub and air drones that latch onto it, according to a statement from the University. One aspect of the effort, developing software to help the surface vessel obtain a clear picture not just of obstacles to avoid but also friendly and hostile elements in the area, to help it better plan routes and paths for different missions. It's an example of the types of prototypes that will become more common, according to a Navy roadmap for the development and acquisition of autonomous systems. This Strategic Roadmap for Unmanned Systems, which began circulating around the Pentagon last year, has not yet been released. But a predecisional copy obtained by Defense One shows that the Navy is pushing to develop and buy its drones faster, integrate them more aggressively in exercises and other activity, and work more closely with universities and other non-traditional research partners particularly in the design of new prototypes. The Navy's research into unmanned weapons goes back to World War I research into flying munitions and torpedos. The term “drone” was coined in the 1930s by Cmdr. Delmar Fahrney, who was in charge of Navy research into radio-controlled aircraft. More recently, the Navy has sought to incorporate ever-higher levels of autonomy into drills and activity. In 2014, the service ran a dramatic experiment that showed that a swarm of 13 autonomous roboticized boats might help defend a warship. The Navy has also developed (and plans to soon deploy) the Sea Hunter, an unmanned ship that can guide itself on the open water while obeying international maritime laws. Former Defense Undersecretary Bob Work speculated that the Sea Hunter could be armed with ballistic missiles. “We might be able to put a six-pack or a four-pack of missiles on them. Now, imagine 50 of these distributed and operating together under the hands of a flotilla commander,” Work said at an event sponsored by CNAS. “This is going to be a Navy unlike any navy in history, a human-machine collaborative battle fleet that will confound our enemies. The Navy is experimenting with a widening menagerie of novel aerial drones, such as a tube-launched rotary-wing drone called the Nomad, which was launched off of the destroyer Pinckney in2016. Another is the hybrid flying-swimming Glider, a drone that can deploy from a plane, fly along the surface of the water, and then submerge to a depth of 200 meters. Flight-testing for a new version of Glider is scheduled for later this year, and the Naval Research Laboratory expects to a full demonstration in 2019. The new Navy roadmap argues that the service's adoption of unmanned and robotic capabilities must move far more quickly than it buys human-operated planes, boats, and ships. It outlines steps to accelerate their building, buying and deploying. One key is moving away from a “platform-centric model” — think big, expensive ships that only serve one role. Instead, envision small, cheap robots that can be robustly networked and easily configured to new tasks. “The Navy must evolve from today's platform-centric, uncontested-environment [unmanned systems] operating concept to the concept of a platform-agnostic force,” it says. “A cross-domain, distributed, netted, self-healing, highly survivable, and collaborative communications network made of manned and unmanned nodes will enable multi-domain communications. These nodes will fuse big data to interpret the environment, share relevant information, and introduce increased risk, uncertainty, and mistrust in the adversary's systems.” Marcus Weisgerber contributed to this post. https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2018/06/us-navy-developing-mothership-drones-coastal-defense/148696/

  • FINAL SUMMARY REPORT Regional Marine Industry Consultation Workshops (MCMO-005)

    June 6, 2018 | Local, Naval

    FINAL SUMMARY REPORT Regional Marine Industry Consultation Workshops (MCMO-005)

    As part of the ongoing effort to establish National Marine Program Strategies, the Marine Procurement Modernization (MPM) working group hosted four regional workshops across Canada between November 2017 and April 2018. Collectively, the regional workshops included participation from close to 100 Industry representatives (regional boat builders, suppliers, marine engineering firms and repair yards as well as provincial counterparts and regional development agency representatives. Industry's in-session contributions provided the MPM working group with a better understanding of the Canadian Marine Industry's issues and concerns across the four themes (outlined below). The sessions identified a number of recurring points while identifying new ideas and approaches to improve federal marine procurement practices. https://buyandsell.gc.ca/procurement-data/tender-notice/PW-18-00830335

  • State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    May 25, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) joined forces with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) to publicly release a new report on Canada's defence industry for decision makers. Features of the report include building analytic capacity through collaborative research, economic impact, innovation, exports, and supply chains analysis. https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ad-ad.nsf/eng/h_ad03978.html

  • Feds OK early start to construction of navy's new supply ships

    May 18, 2018 | Local, Naval

    Feds OK early start to construction of navy's new supply ships

    OTTAWA — The federal government has approved plans to start some work on the navy's new support ships in the coming months in a bid to keep delivery of the much-needed vessels from slipping farther behind schedule. Seaspan Shipyards is expected to begin cutting steel on some parts of the two vessels in Vancouver this summer during a lull in the construction of two science vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard, several sources told The Canadian Press. The science vessels will still be delivered first, but officials are hoping that the head start will result in the first Protecteur-class joint support ship, as the naval vessels are officially known, being delivered 2022. That would be a year earlier than the Department of National Defence's current estimate for the ship's completion, which was recently revealed in an annual report tabled in Parliament. Construction on the first vessel was supposed to start in 2016, with delivery slated for 2019, but the project has been plagued by delays and the government says its $2.3-billion budget is under review. The navy has been without a permanent support ship since 2015, when it was forced to retire its existing vessels due to an unexpected fire and corrosion issues, though it is leasing a temporary replacement, the MV Asterix. The Asterix is at the heart of the criminal case against Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, who has been charged with breach of trust for alleging leaking government secrets about the project to a Quebec shipyard in 2015. Norman has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to fight the charges in court. An official announcement about the plan to start work on the support ships, which are considered essential for supporting a modern navy on international operations, was expected this week but has been delayed. Seaspan, which is responsible for building the two support vessels as well as four science ships and a polar icebreaker for the coast guard, initially pitched the plan in a bid to prevent layoffs between construction of the science ships. National Defence publicly backed the proposal last month as a way to save time and it was touted in the department's annual report to Parliament, which was written before the federal government signed off on the plan. “Current discussions underway between Canada and the shipyard could also result in schedule compression opportunities being exploited,” the report reads, “including the potential to commence the early construction of some JSS components.” Yet the report also confirmed what many have feared: The project continues to experience delays. The department predicted last year that the first ship would be delivered in 2021; the new report says it will be delivered in 2023, though officials hope that the advance work will cut that time to 2022. The cause of the delays has been sharply contested by the government, National Defence, Seaspan and other industry players, with fingers pointed in all directions. Defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute said while starting work soon on the support ships has merit, the ongoing delays point to much wider issues with regards to how the entire national shipbuilding plan is unfolding. “These mitigations keep talking about making something less late than it otherwise would be, not delivering them earlier than planned,” he said. “It's not really clear, but at a minimum, the Crown hasn't really demonstrated that they've reached any kind of stability in terms of the schedule.” http://thestarphoenix.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/feds-ok-early-start-to-construction-of-navys-new-supply-ships-sources/wcm/cdc8e162-7d54-4493-90c2-6d883a7b03dd

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