Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Multibillion-Dollar Naval Warship Project Hits Another Delay

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Multibillion-Dollar Naval Warship Project Hits Another Delay

Article excerpt

Naval warship project hits another delay

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OTTAWA - Hopes that the multibillion-dollar effort to replace the navy's warship fleet would move along quickly have taken a hit amid word the massive shipbuilding project has suffered another delay.

The federal government launched a competition last fall asking some of the world's largest defence and shipbuilding firms to design a potential replacement for the navy's 12 frigates and three destroyers.

Companies were given until the end of April to submit their designs, after which one would be selected and constructed by Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding.

Government officials warned at the time that there was little room for delays or other hang-ups.

But the federal public procurement department, which already extended the submission deadline by two months in February, says the companies have now been given even more time to enter their designs.

How much time?

"A new submission deadline will be communicated to the bidders shortly," Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold said in an email.

Officials say the latest extension was needed to finish answering the approximately 560 questions that participating firms have asked the department about the bidding process since the competition started.

But this latest delay in what is the largest military procurement project in Canadian history, with a value of up to $40 billion, is cause for concern, given past assertions about the need for speed.

The navy recently retired all its destroyers, meaning fewer ships to patrol Canada's coasts and operate overseas, as well as a shortage of air-defence capabilities, until the new vessels arrive in the mid-2020s.

But more importantly, government officials said in October that they wanted Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax to begin work on the new warships as soon as it finishes the last of five new Arctic patrol ships in 2019. …

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