The Canadian Surface Combatant is one of Canada's largest shipbuilding acquisitions in history. How does its $60 billion cost break down? And how can you bid for and join the procurement?
The largest and most complex shipbuilding initiative in Canada since World War II
In 2017, Canada unveiled a new defence policy: "Strong, Secure, Engaged" (SSE) and committed to one of the largest acquisitions in Canadian shipbuilding history: the Canadian Surface Combatant.
SSE provides full funding for 15 CSC ships, allowing Canada's maritime combat power to deploy anywhere in the world and for many months with a limited logistic footprint.
A core part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), the next-generation CSC will replace both the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class multi-role patrol frigates.
The CSC is the largest and most complex shipbuilding initiative in Canada since World War II.
$56 - 60 billion - for acquisition alone
The acquisition for 15 CSC ships has an estimated cost of $56 - 60 billion. The actual complete cost for the project will be determined after the CSC Project Definition Phase is complete.
The first CSC ship is expected to be begin construction in the early-2020s with delivery around 2026. The remaining 14 ships will then follow construction and delivery.
Irving Shipbuiling Inc., the NSS's Combat package shipbuilder, was confirmed in November 2017 to be the prime contractor for the CSC project.
Breaking down the Canadian Surface Combatant
Last week, as reported in the May 2018 OMX Files, Pat Finn, the Assistant Deputy Minister for Materiel at the Department of National Defence, provided Ottawa Citizen's Defence Watch with a rough breakdown of the CSC's budget:
- Construction of the ships
$30 - 36 billion
- Integrated logistics support
(Includes spare parts, technical data package, training, ammunition)
$12 - 15 billion
(Construction of jetties, upgrades to existing docks)
- Project office cost over the life of the program
(Salaries for staff, travel, etc.)
- Contingency fund
(Fluctuations in exchange rates, other unforeseen issues)
$6 - 9 billion
The new core operating concept of the Royal Canadian Navy
The CSC ships aren't alone but a part of the Naval Task Group.
The Naval Task Group will be the core operating concept of the Royal Canadian Navy. It will consist of up to four CSC ships, a joint support ship, and supplemented with a submarine as appropriate.
The Naval Task Group will have full combat capability, force enablers, specialized teams, maritime helicopters, and remotely piloted systems and will be configured and crewed to provide its own command and control.
In total, the Royal Canadian Navy will have 15 CSC ships, two Joint Support Ships, and four Victoria-class submarines for the necessary fleet mix and capacity to deploy.
Investments in the Royal Canadian Navy over 20 years
The SSE outlines the following investments in the Royal Canadian Navy:
- Recapitalize the surface fleet through investments in 15 Canadian Surface Combatants and two Joint Support Ships.
- Acquire five to six Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships.
- Operate and modernize the four Victoria-class submarines.
- Acquire new or enhanced naval intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems, upgraded armament, and additional systems for current and future platforms allowing for more effective offensive and defensive naval capabilities.
- Upgrade lightweight torpedoes carried by surface ships, maritime helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft.
The Government will provide $17.5 billion to fund equipment projects for the Royal Canadian Navy over the next 20 years. Of this, $14.6 billion over the next 20 years will fund planned equipment projects - including sufficient funding to acquire the full complement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants.
It is important to note that the Government has only revealed the 20-year view of the equipment investments committed to in SSE. As the first CSC ship is not scheduled to be delivered until 2026 and the fleet is expected to be in service for 30 years, there will be significant expenditures outside this timeframe.