CSC vs Arleigh Burkes cost


David Dunlop, 10 January 2021

Let us take a quick look at CSC frigate costs as of early 2021 and compare them to say, buying off-the-shelf.  The CSC cost figures according to the Public Budget Office (PBO) are approximately $70B CAD for all 15 CSC frigates; that much we know. If we could turn back the clock to say 2018, we could have built 15 Arleigh Burkes (ABs) Flt IIIs for 5.1B USD each (fixed prices in 2018 as a contract to build the first 5 ABs FLT IIIs has already been struck). This works out to be $6.47B CAD per ship or just over $97B CAD for all 15 ships. As you can see, much more than $70B CAD for 15 CSCs at 2021 prices and who knows where the refits would have to be done (NSS down the tubes, maybe?).

The problem you would have with that, is convincing Canadians to buy them from the USA and have them built in Canada. Our friends south of the border would be very hesitant to have them built outside of the USA. But who knows. We could have struck a deal to have them built here in Canada however, at what cost? The Life Cycle Costs (LCC) for the 15 CSC Frigates are reported by the PBO to be between $213-219B CAD, making the ABs coming in between $290-300B CAD, a very hard price to swallow and a cost that could be prohibitive for Canada.  As it is, for better or worse, we seem to be stuck with what we have.


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