In fact it’s hard to see how the number and types of ships planned can be acquired on schedule for the money allotted–especially with the insistence they be built in Canada. It would also be nice if the government would specify exactly what the missions of the planned Canadian Surface Combatants are supposed to be. At MILNEWS.ca:
- Big Honkin’ Ships “Vindicated by revelations this past spring that the Department of National Defence withheld information about the full cost of the F-35 fighter, Parliament’s budgetary watchdog has now turned its attention to the Harper government’s $35-billion national shipbuilding plan [$33 billion for “large vessels”, i.e. over 1,000 tonnes]. The government has maintained the national shipbuilding procurement strategy, as the massive plan to overhaul of Canada’s navy and coast guard fleets is called, is moving full steam ahead. But difficult negotiations with industry, tight budget allocations and schedule delays have been bubbling beneath the surface — and the Parliamentary Budget Office’s involvement threatens to bring them to the surface in a very public way. Liberal defence critic John McKay said PBO officials had confirmed to him they were studying the shipbuilding plan after he asked them to do so in June 2011. That request was made before Halifax and Vancouver were chosen to carry out the majority of work and before the government revealed that delivery of the first ships to be produced under the strategy — seven armed Arctic vessels — would be delayed three years. There are fears that delay will spill over into other shipbuilding projects, affecting plans to have replacements for Canada’s destroyers, frigates and supply ships in place before they are retired ….”
The (current) “Facts”: The CF’s Interminable Procurement Delays
[see Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship and Joint Support Ship]
RCN Capability Gap: Not Exactly Hot News
[Canadian Surface Combatant]
By the way, in the 2012 budget (scroll down to “Strengthening Canada’s Public Infrastructure“) the federal government pledged $5.2 billion dollars over eleven (!!!) years for new Canadian Coast Guard vessels and helicopters (latter not actually mentioned in the budget document). But the government has said nothing about how that figure relates to the total $8 billion (an “umbrella agreement, not a “contract”) in the NSPS for large non-combat vessels for both the CCG and RCN, i.e. how much is additional money? And what sorts of ships are to be built? Note this–the announcement may actually be effectively meaningless in terms of funds, so why make it?
The latest money allotted will likely fall within the $8-billion non-combat package and is not expected to increase its total value, [Jonathan] Whitworth [Seaspan’s chief executive officer] said.
“It’s new ships. It’s not new money.”..
The CCG in particular desperately needs more than one new icebreaker: the youngest of the current six is already 24 years old, and the one really large icebreaker, the Louis S. St-Laurent, is already 44 years old (it’s the ship that is supposed to be replaced in 2017, good luck with the date).
There’s a lot more information on the CCG’s plans, before the 2012 budget, for its fleet at this webpage; if one reads closely one might conclude they are nowhere near adequate, especially for vessels over 1,000 tonnes. Details on those ships are here, but one must search repeatedly under “Vessel Type” and work onward. It’s almost as if the CGG were purposely making it hard to get at the facts about its poor prospects.
Still the government has remained mute on the specifics of the CCG budget announcement.
Disclosure: The last years of my federal public service career were as a bureaucrat at CCG HQ.
I find it hard to believe the money allocated under the NSPS (is there any real new amount for the Coast Guard?) will be there in any timely fashion for the RCN and the CCG.
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger
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