CSC virtual ship

PBO Report Speculation

Dr. Ann Griffiths, 2 February 2021

The Parliamentary Budget Officer is due to release a report on the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project some time this month. The report is awaited with great fear and trepidation in some quarters. The PBO will examine both costs and alternative options to the Type 26 frigate, specifically, the French/Italian FREMM Multi-Mission Frigate and the British Type 31 General Purpose Frigate. Questions abound. What will the PBO report say about the costs of the CSC project? Given the pandemic spending of the past year, what will the government reaction be to costs outlined in the report? Will the result be similar to what happened after a PBO report on the F-35 acquisition a few years ago – i.e., cancellation of the project and a long painful process of renegotiation and re-setting the parameters? What will the PBO say about alternatives to the Type 26? Will the RCN be forced back to the drawing board to look at a different design? Will the PBO look into the planned capabilities of the CSC, and declare some of them too expensive? Will several different versions of the CSC be built? Will the number of ships be reduced? By how many? And will the existing frigates last until the CSCs are built? Who knows. But there are questions as we wait for the report.

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