Canada Signs With Lockheed-BAE Team for Frigate Mega-Contract
Canada has formally signed a $185 million contract with Lockheed Martin, BAE and Irving Shipbuilding for the design of the Royal Canadian Navy's next-generation frigate, marking the first step in what will be the Canadian government's largest purchase ever.
A Lockheed-BAE joint proposal won the contract last year with a design based on BAE's Type 26 frigate, which is currently under construction for the Royal Navy and Australia. Lockheed is also a partner in the consortium building the Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ship, and is designing a "frigate" variant based on the LCS hull form in the competition for the U.S. Navy's FFG(X) contract.
The $45 billion, 15-ship contract for Canada's next warship is the "largest, most complex procurement ever undertaken by the Government of Canada,” according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. The vessels will replace Canada's current large surface combatants and will provide the bulk of its naval power for decades to come.
On Friday, union officials at Irving Shipbuilding celebrated the news of the contract award. "We are very happy to see this deal made official, and I'm proud to stand beside my sisters and brothers at the yard today and every day," said Ryan Lapointe, the president of the local branch of the amalgamated union Unifor. "All I can say is: there's no ship like a Halifax-made ship."
Other bidders for the contract included Spain's Navantia and U.S. contractor Alion, a behind-the-scenes defense technology company that served as the naval architect for the Zumwalt-class destroyer. Alion is currently suing the Canadian government over the process that led to the contract for Lockheed-BAE.