Canada to modernize Navy with largest shipbuilding program in country’s history

HMCS Toronto navigates past an iceberg off Baffin Island as part of Operation NANOOK 09

From Reuters:  Canada will sign contracts with shipyards in Nova Scotia and British Columbia under a C$35 billion ($35 billion) shipbuilding program, the largest in the NATO country’s history.

The government set up the program to revive Canada’s shipbuilding industry while modernizing its Navy and Coast Guard, which are still operating some ships that are a half-century old.

The new vessels will play an important role as Canada asserts its sovereignty claims in the Arctic, a disputed region rich in energy and mineral resources.

Halifax’s Irving Shipbuilding Inc and Seaspan Marine’s Vancouver Shipyards Co Ltd have won the right to negotiate contracts to build a total of 28 vessels, the federal government said on Wednesday.

Irving will build warships, worth about C$25 billion, while Seaspan will negotiate to build large non-combat ships, worth about C$8 billion. . . .

The multiple-ship procurement program marks a shift away from a policy of placing piecemeal orders, a move intended to assure predictable, long-term work for Canadian shipyards.

Shipbuilders in the United States have agitated for a similar shift with less success, although the U.S. Navy last year awarded Lockheed Martin Corp and Austal contracts valued at more than $3.5 billion each to build 10 warships.  (photo: Corporal Dany Veillette/Royal Canadian Navy)

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