Bidders submit final proposals for Canadian Surface Combatant program

Three teams of bidders have submitted their final proposals for the construction of a fleet of new frigates for the Royal Canadian Navy under the Canadian Surface Combatant Program.

The companies received feedback to revise their proposals in May and the deadline for the final bids to be submitted was Friday last week.

A total of 15 CSC ships are expected to be built by Irving Shipbuilding as prime contractor. The government expects to spend between CA$55 billion and 60 billion on the program but a more specific figure will be known once companies submit their reviewed financial bids, which were also due Friday.

Canada’s Combat Ship Team – composed of Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and CAE, MDA, L3 Technologies, and Ultra Electronics – submitted their proposal based on the Type 26 Global Combat Ship which was recently selected by Australia as the preferred design for a multi-billion dollar frigate construction program.

“With the UK Type 26 program running ahead of CSC, our Canadian ship will benefit from lessons learned on the UK and Australian programs,” said Anne Healey, BAE Systems country director, Canada.

“Canadian companies such as W.R. Davis Engineering in Ottawa, Rolls-Royce in Peterborough and L3 MAPPS in Montréal have already begun work on delivering high-technology systems for the UK’s Type 26, demonstrating the skills and capability available from the Canadian supply chain.”

One of the other two bidders is the Alion Science and Technology-led team with a proposal based on the De Zeven Provinciën Air Defence and Command frigate which is in service with the Dutch Navy.

“Each decision we made for equipment selection and systems integration focused on delivering cost-effective solutions that meet the requirements while delivering robust Canadian content,” Bruce Samuelsen, chief operating officer for Alion, said in December 2017 when Alion announced its participation in the program. “Many original system suppliers are building systems in Canada, but our combat system partners are actually creating manufacturing jobs for Canadians.”

The third bidder is Spanish Navantia with its F-105 frigate design. The company will partner with Saab and CEA Technologies to deliver the ships should it be selected.

Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri tried to seal the deal with its FREMM frigate design in an offer outside the tendering process. Fincantieri oferred to build 15 frigates for a fixed price of $30 billion but the government said it would not be accepting the “unsolicited proposal at the final hour”.

The Canadian government and Irving Shipbuilding are scheduled to announce the winning proposals by the end of the year with construction starting in early 2020s. The surface combatants will be replacing Canada’s Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class frigates.