Type 26 GCS - CSC

CSC Costs: Is Even the Sky Not the Limit?

Dan Middlemiss, 18 June 2021

There has been much discussion about the projected costs of the CSC, and it would appear that even the most ardent supporters of the CSC have now abandoned their earlier contention that the CSC will not cost significantly more than roughly comparable ships now in service or at the point of construction elsewhere.

Recently, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) estimated the total costs of the CSC to be $77.3 billion, with that amount rising to $82.1 billion if the contract is signed in 2022-23.[1] A DND spokesperson recently announced that an initial, limited-build contract would likely be awarded in 2023.[2]

DND has stated that it remains “confident” that its estimate of $56 billion to $60 billion (before taxes) for the CSC project remained valid.[3]

Putting aside the issue of which set of estimates is likely to prove accurate, a simple question arises: is there no cost beyond which the CSC could be deemed excessive?

I invite Broadsides readers to weigh in with their views on this basic matter. What level, if any, of CSC costs would you consider to be too high – and why?

[1] Canada, Parliamentary Budget Officer, “The Cost of Canada’s Surface Combatants: 2021 Update and Options Analysis,” Ottawa, 24 February 2021, p.6.

[2] David Pugliese, “Government to commit to building first three warships despite budget concerns,” Ottawa Citizen, 8 June 2021.

[3] “DND Releases Statement Regarding PBO Report on the Canadian Surface Combatant - Canadian Defence Review,” canadiandefencereview.com, 24 February 2021.

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