Newspaper article The Canadian Press

At Least Three Companies Participating in Competition to Design New Warships

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

At Least Three Companies Participating in Competition to Design New Warships

Article excerpt

Warship competition alive and well: Officials

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OTTAWA - Federal procurement officials say several companies are participating in a competition to design new warships for the navy -- proof that Canada's largest planned military purchase remains on course.

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 frigates and destroyers.

The design competition is the most recent -- and arguably most sensitive -- phase in the entire $60-billion plan to build 15 new warships, construction of which is expected to begin in 2021.

Yet the competition has been plagued with questions and concerns from the start, including the fact officials have not set a new deadline for bids after extending the competition a second time in May.

Some industry representatives had said the issues were so bad that most of the firms asked to participate would steer clear of the competition, rather than waste millions preparing a bid.

But in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, senior procurement officials revealed that at least three companies have submitted draft bids to make sure they are on the right track.

Officials would not reveal the exact number of draft bids, but said the fact so many companies have asked for feedback is a good sign -- and sets the stage for a strong finish to the competition.

"We've got good competition," said Lisa Campbell, head of military procurement at Public Services and Procurement Canada.

"The standard for that is typically at least three bids, and we've received more than three draft bids."

Those drafts are now being reviewed, she added, after which a date will be set for firms to make final submissions. The new date will be at least four weeks after the draft review is over.

Companies were originally given until mid-April to submit their bids, but the government extended the competition to June before backing off that date as well. …

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