28 novembre 2018 | Local, Naval

Tribunal orders feds to postpone contract in $60B warship project

The Canadian Press, Lee Berthiaume

OTTAWA — The $60-billion effort to build new warships for Canada's navy is facing another delay after a trade tribunal ordered the federal government to postpone a final contract for the vessels' design.

The federal government announced last month that U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin beat out two rivals in the long and extremely sensitive competition to design replacements for the navy's frigates and destroyers.

Lockheed's design was based on a brand-new class of frigates for the British navy called the Type 26. The company is now negotiating a final contract with the government and Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which will build the ships.

But one of the other two bidders, Alion Science and Technology of Virginia, has asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and the Federal Court to quash the government's decision.

It says Lockheed's design did not meet the navy's stated requirements and should have been disqualified. Two of those requirements related to the ship's speed, Alion alleged, while the third related to the number of crew berths

Late Tuesday, the tribunal released a one-page statement ordering the government to “postpone the awarding of any contract ... until the Tribunal determines the validity of the herein complaint.”

Alion has argued that the rules of the competition required the federal procurement department and Irving, which helped evaluate the bids, to reject Lockheed's bid because of its non-compliance. Instead, they selected it as the preferred design.

The company also maintains that its own proposed design, which is based on a Dutch frigate, met the navy's requirements. It has said that it has received no information about why Lockheed's bid was selected over its own, despite requests for answers.

Lockheed Martin and Public Services and Procurement Canada declined to comment because the matter is before the tribunal and federal court. The third company in the competition, Spanish firm Navantia, has remained largely silent on Lockheed's successful bid.

The government is planning to build 15 new warships starting in the next three or four years, which will replace Canada's aging Halifax-class frigates and retired Iroquois-class destroyers. They're to be the navy's backbone for most of the century.

The bid by Lockheed, which also builds the F-35 stealth fighter and other military equipment, was contentious from the moment the design competition was launched in October 2016.

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

But the first Type 26 frigates are only now being built by the British government and the design has not yet been tested in full operation.

There were also complaints from industry that the deck was stacked in the Type 26's favour because of Irving's connections with British shipbuilder BAE, which originally designed the Type 26 and partnered with Lockheed to offer the ship to Canada.

Irving also worked with BAE in 2016 on an ultimately unsuccessful bid to maintain the Canadian navy's new Arctic patrol vessels and supply ships.

Irving and the federal government have repeatedly rejected such complaints, saying they conducted numerous consultations with industry and used a variety of firewalls and safeguards to ensure the choice was completely fair.

But industry insiders had long warned that Lockheed's selection as the top bidder, combined with numerous changes to the requirements and competition terms after it was launched — including a number of deadline extensions — would spark lawsuits.

Government officials acknowledged last month the threat of legal action, which has become a favourite tactic for companies that lose defence contracts, but expressed confidence that they would be able to defend against such an attack.


Sur le même sujet

  • Project to buy new pistols for Canadian Forces is once again underway

    24 septembre 2020 | Local, Sécurité, Autre défense

    Project to buy new pistols for Canadian Forces is once again underway

    David Pugliese The project to purchase pistols to replace the Canadian military's Second World War-era handguns is once again underway and National Defence hopes to have the new weapons by the summer of 2022. The project had been stalled for years after small arms firms rejected in 2011 the federal government requirement that the guns be built at Colt Canada in Kitchener, Ont. In addition, the companies balked at the stipulation they had to turn over their proprietary firearms information to Colt, a firm that some saw as a competitor. But with small arms companies reluctant to bid on the Canadian pistol project, the federal government has had no choice but to drop those requirements and have an open competition. A request for bids will now be issued in early 2021, DND spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande confirmed to this newspaper. She said a “minimum of 9,000” handguns will be purchased. “These are mainly intended for the Canadian Army, and will be issued as required,” she added. The department hopes to have a contract in place by the summer of 2021, with initial deliveries by the summer of 2022, she added. The DND declined to discuss the amount of money that taxpayers will spend on the project. The new handguns will replace the Second World War-era Browning Hi-Power pistols used by the Canadian Forces. The replacement program for the 9mm Browning Hi-Power pistols has been on the books for years. In the fall of 2011, the DND abruptly cancelled plans for the purchase of 10,000 new pistols. The decision to shut the process down came after international firearms companies balked at the stipulation the firms turn over their confidential technical data to Colt Canada so the guns could be manufactured in Canada. Colt is the country's Small Arms Strategic Source and Centre of Excellence. The DND was told at the time by industry representatives that it didn't make economic sense to have Colt manufacture the guns in Canada or to have parts shipped to Colt so the guns could be assembled in Canada. The handgun replacement project has been seen as an example of a highly dysfunctional military procurement system. At one point the DND tried to prevent small arms companies from talking to journalists about the bungled procurement but the department's decree was largely ignored. Under the Munitions Supply Program sole source deals have been directed to Colt Canada to maintain a small arms expertise in the country. In late January Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced the purchase of more than 3,600 new C6AI FLEX General Purpose Machine Guns from the company. The $96-million order was a follow-on deal to the 2017 contract for 1,148 of the same machine guns. Some spare parts are included along with cleaning kits and carrying slings in the purchase. Critics pointed out that the cost of each gun worked out to around $27,000, at least twice the amount that other militaries are spending. In February and April two other contracts were directed to Colt to produce a semi-automatic rifle in 7.62 calibre to be used by Canadian Forces sniper teams as an auxiliary weapon. Lamirande said in 2018 changes were made to improve the Munitions Supply Program. Under those changes, new business was no longer automatically given to members of the supply program. Instead a thorough analysis is to be done to decide whether it is better to open a project up to competition or sole source the deal to firms in the Munitions Supply Program. “Factors that are considered include performance, value for money, flexibility, innovation potential, and socio-economic benefits,” Lamirande explained. “We also include considerations for current availability within timeframes and the long term sustainability of the solution.” https://ottawacitizen.com/news/national/defence-watch/project-to-buy-new-pistols-for-canadian-forces-is-once-again-underway

  • Soumettez votre lettre d'intention maintenant : Financement de la recherche quantique

    31 janvier 2023 | Local, C4ISR

    Soumettez votre lettre d'intention maintenant : Financement de la recherche quantique

    Soumettez votre lettre d'intention maintenant : Financement de la recherche quantique Le ministère de la Défense nationale et les Forces armées canadiennes (MDN/FAC) se préparent à un monde quantique et recherchent vos connaissances et votre expertise. Le programme Innovation pour la défense, l’excellence et la sécurité (IDEeS) financera jusqu'à 3 millions de dollars par proposition retenue pour créer des micro-réseaux de recherche multidisciplinaire par le biais de son élément Réseaux d'innovation afin de développer une expertise dans le domaine de la technologie quantique. IDEeS financera des micro-réseaux pour développer, intégrer et démontrer des technologies quantiques qui peuvent révolutionner les capacités actuelles de défense et de sécurité dans les domaines suivants : Détection et capteurs quantiques (y compris pour le positionnement, la navigation et la synchronisation); Communications quantiques; et Informatique quantique, simulations et algorithmes. Soumettez votre lettre d'intention avant le mardi 7 mars 2023 à 14 h (HNE). Pour plus d'informations, consultez notre page Réseaux d'innovation.

  • ITPS Canada's 5th Generation Surrogate Training Aircraft completes first flight - Skies Mag

    26 septembre 2023 | Local, Aérospatial

    ITPS Canada's 5th Generation Surrogate Training Aircraft completes first flight - Skies Mag

    The 5STA is a Hawker Hunter aircraft with upgraded technology that emulates the performance and avionics of the latest generation fighters.

Toutes les nouvelles