Vanguard Magazine

Jun/Jul 2015

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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Photos: Sgt Norm McLean, Canadian Forces Combat Camera S Shipbuilding 26 JUNE/JULY 2015 Full ahead: The surFace combaTanT sTraTegy T he federal government may have selected a shipyard to build the Royal Canadian Navy's next fleet of surface combatants, but the op- tions for their design and combat systems integration are still very much on the table. More importantly, the federal government, not the ship- builder, will determine that designer and systems integra- tor and steer the process to select the ships' many lucrative subsystems. That was the overarching message from a technical brief- ing in May as a trio of senior officials from Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC), Industry Canada and the Material branch at National Defence laid out the government's proposed strategy to acquire new warships while maximizing competition and innovation. In January, the government named Irving Shipbuilding as the prime contractor for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). While that would normally grant it full license to se- lect the various subcontractors, the government's proposed approach would appear to ensure it retains direct control over key elements of the project. "Irving [Shipbuilding], as prime, is ultimately responsible for the successful delivery of the ships. However, through- out the process, Canada will set the requirements," said the official from PWGSC. "I want to be clear on this point: regardless of who is executing any particular competitive process, it will be Canada who is setting the standards and ensuring the processes are being conducted properly in a fair, open and transparent manner." "Our overarching goal is to maximize competition for choosing these systems," she added. "We determined that the best approach is to competitively choose the combat systems integrator and the warship designer, [to then] work with us and Irving Shipbuilding to reconcile the require- ments with budget. And then, once the affordable require- ments are known, we can effectively conduct the competi- tion to choose the systems and subsystems for the ship." The CSC is one of the largest and most expensive de- fence projects undertaken by the government in recent history, so every step is being closely scrutinized. Lessons from earlier attempts to replace the navy's replenishment ships – better known as the Joint Support Ship project by Chris Thatcher

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