AU ship design option

CSC: Off on the Wrong Foot?

Moderator, 21 April 2021

There was an interesting article by Alan Williams in The Hill Times on 19 April 2021. It’s called “Canadian Surface Combatants and the Statement of Requirements Fiasco.” Williams argues that at the base of a successful procurement program is an appropriate statement of requirements (SOR). He says that a SOR must satisfy three criteria, none of which were met in the case of the Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC). First, the requirements should be met through off-the-shelf designs, systems and technologies as much as possible since Canada does not have the resources to take on development. This was not done. Second, the requirements should “facilitate an open, fair and transparent competition,” in which multiple companies can meet all of the requirements. Again, no. Williams says that “Pre-selecting Irving Shipyards Inc. (ISI) as the shipyard of choice and designating ISI as the prime contractor, removed any illusions that this would meet the second criterion.” And, third, the requirements should be met from within the funding available in DND's budget, both acquisition costs and the long-term support costs. This is not going to happen with the CSC. As Williams says “This program alone would bankrupt the DND's capital and maintenance accounts for the next 30 years.” He concludes: “While there are many fatal flaws in the CSC procurement process, the one most directly responsible for the spiralling costs was the release of the SOR to industry in a preliminary rather than a final version.” Very interesting read.


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