Mark Collins – Irving Working with BAE Systems: Implications for RCN Canadian Surface Combatant?

Further to this post,

RFP Finally Issued for RCN Canadian Surface Combatant: “eye-watering” Details Wanted

there is something of a fishy smell to the collaboration below in terms of the CSC competition:

Irving joins UK firm on new bid worth $5.2 billion

Irving Shipbuilding [website here] has partnered with UK-based defence company BAE Systems to bid on a the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships [more here] and Joint Support Ship [more here] In-Service Support contract, worth up to $5.2 billion.

BAE announced last week in a press release that the two companies had joined forces under the name Canadian Naval Support Ltd [BAE’s announcement here].

Irving is also responsible building the fleet of six Harry DeWolf-class AOPS, while Seaspan’s Vancouver shipyards are constructing the two Queenston-class auxiliary vessels…

BAE Systems is the the designer of the UK navy’s yet-to-be constructed fleet of frigates — the Type 26 Global Command Ship [more here]. BAE also happens to be one of 12 pre-qualified firms that have been approved to bid on a joint design and combat systems integrator for the Canadian Surface Combatant program. The firm is to expected to submit the Type 26 as an off-the-shelf design for Canada’s new fleet of warships, which will be constructed by Irving Shipbuilding, also the prime contractor.

Last summer, the government drew accusations of stacking the deck in favour of BAE Systems from industry sources after widening the criteria for the new frigate to allow designers to submit bids for ships that have already been built by other countries, as well as those on which detailed design work has commenced, making room for the Type 26.

[But from the company Nov. 4: “BAE Systems has confirmed that the first steel will be cut on the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ships in Glasgow in summer 2017, subject to final contract negotiations with the UK Ministry of Defence…”]

During a media briefing on the the launch of the CSC request for proposal in late October, assistant deputy minister of materiel and retired rear admiral Pat Finn defended the government’s decision to allow for ship designs that have yet to be constructed in the competition, saying that with the number of design changes that will be needed to Canadianize the ship, every bidder could be seen as offering “paper ships.”

Former navy commander and marine security analyst Ken Hansen said the new partnership between Irving and BAE is likely only partially about the support contract. If the Type 26 is being looked on favourably by insiders, as has been alleged, Hansen said the collaboration between them is a smart business move…

No flipping kidding.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


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