Further to this post,
in which the possibility of foreign designs is mentioned, it may now be the Navy’s new ships could end up being largely of such designs–depending of how one parses things here:
Navy fleet will include Canadian design, but costs must be kept in check: Harper
The next fleet of navy ships will contain components designed by Canadians, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday [Jan. 12] as he announced an agreement in principle in Halifax to begin building the vessels under the $35-billion federal shipbuilding program…
He was asked whether the designs for the fleet — which include icebreakers [for the Canadian Coast Guard], Arctic patrol vessels and destroyers — would be done by Canadian naval architects.
“Obviously we try to minimize design costs, but there will be ultimately Canadian design components involved in all of this [emphasis added, that sounds pretty thin].”
“Design work is all ultimately part of the package,” he said…
The president of J.D. Irving Ltd., the parent company of the Halifax shipyard, echoed the prime minister’s concern about keeping costs down.
“We want to keep … jobs in Canada, we’d like to keep jobs in Nova Scotia,” Jim Irving said after Harper’s announcement. “But we have to get good value and the best expertise [emphasis added, unlikely to be in Canada, no major naval vessel has been designed and built here for a long time].”
MP Peter Stoffer, who serves as the NDP’s shipbuilding critic, said he is concerned that some of the best-paid work may end up being shipped offshore.
Stoffer said when the national procurement strategy was first announced last year, it wasn’t clear whether the vessel designs had to be done in the Canadian shipyards or whether they could use off-the-shelf designs from other countries.
“When I hear the prime minister say that some components of the design process will be Canadian, I’m really not sure what that means,” said Stoffer, who represents the Halifax area riding of Sackville-Eastern Shore.
“What I’m concerned about is the millions of dollars that leave the country that go to other countries looking for designs when I honestly believe we could do it here in Canada.”
Steve Durrell, the president of Irving shipyard in Halifax, said he doesn’t know who will do detailed drawings for the warships his workers will build.
“We don’t know if we’ll take an off-the-shelf design and Canadianize it, or if we do blue-sky approach and a clean piece of paper,” he said in an interview…
By the way the CCG’s new Mid-Shore Patrol Vessels are of Dutch design (see “About the Ship“, more here and here). One does hope the government will in fact continue along these lines; otherwise cost over-runs will be even larger than I am sure they will be in any event. At least the government seems to be becoming less pig-headed–from March 2011:
Canada, U.K. won’t collaborate on warships
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger
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