Type 26 frigate

The Ongoing LM/BAE Type 26 CSC Frigate Saga

The awarding of a contract for a new fleet of Canadian warships moved one step closer to reality after the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) rejected a complaint from one of the company bidders, Alion. Alion had stated that the process was flawed, arguing that BAE’s Type 26 will not meetstated requirements that Canada set out for the new warship, including speed, and one related to the number of crew berths, and should have been eliminated from contention. Company claims about what the Type 26 ship can actually do, including how fast it can go, are based on simulations or projections. The CITT, however, has now rejected that complaint. The Tribunal determined that Alion Science and Technology Corporation does not have standing to file a complaint before the CITT. Alion has also filed a legal challenge in federal court, asking for a judicial review of the decision by Irving and the government in its selection of the BAE design.

            The entry of the BAE Type 26 warship in the competition was controversial from the start. Previously, the government had said only mature existing designs or designs of ships already in service with other navies would be accepted for the bidding process, on the grounds they could be built faster and would be less risky – unproven designs can face challenges as problems are found once the vessel is in the water and operating. But that criteria was changed and the Liberal government and Irving accepted the BAE design in the process. Construction began on the first City-class BAE Type 26 frigate in the summer of 2017 for Britain’s Royal Navy. In a letter to the tribunal, Andre Fillion, head of military and maritime purchases for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), said the deal “is urgent” and “a delay in awarding contracts would be contrary to the public interest.” PSPC released a statement noting that it was pleased with the decision. “We have full confidence in our process, and continue to work toward awarding a contract for the design and design team for the future Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC).”             This decision paves the way for the government to sign a deal with US defence giant Lockheed Martin by the Spring of 2019, should the LM/BAE Type 26 consortium meet all requirements. In this very short window, only time will tell. If not, then the next highest bidder will then be considered. Lockheed is offering Canada the Type 26 warship designed by BAE in the United Kingdom and has said that the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Type 26 will meet all of the Royal Canadian Navy’s requirements. The Canadian government hopes to award the contract to Lockheed Martin Canada in the coming months for the CSC frigate. The $60 billion project will see the construction of 15 warships in the largest single government purchase in Canadian history. The new warships will start build at Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding in the next three to four years replacing Canada’s aging Halifax-class frigates and retired Iroquois-class destroyers. The LM/BAE Type 26 Frigates will be the RCN’s backbone for most of this century.

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