By David Pugliese
Is there potential work for companies on the Royal Canadian Navy’s Kingston-class ships? The answer could come later this year. The RCN is now conducting a feasibility study about extending the life of the Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs).
The vessels have a design life of 25 years making the “end” of life of the ships between 2020 to 2023, Royal Canadian Navy officers recently told industry representatives.
The ships were delivered starting in the mid-1990s. The RCN has operated its ships beyond their life expectancy by doing various upgrades.
The RCN is now studying the potential for life extensions of five, 10 and 15 years on the Kingston-class ships, industry reps were told. It hopes to complete its study by August 2016.
Fleetway and Irving Shipbuilding announced a $15 million contract to the Halifax-based company Bluedrop Training & Simulation, for the design of the training and simulation software for theArctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).
The AOPS, currently under construction at Irving’s Halifax Shipyard, are the first ships to be built under the combat vessels package of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS).
“This contract with Bluedrop provides a significant investment in Nova Scotia, creating jobs and economic spinoff in the province,” Kevin McCoy, President of Irving Shipbuilding, said in a statement. “By investing here at home, Irving Shipbuilding can help ensure Canadian companies who are engaged in the shipbuilding industry remain competitive for years to come.”
Currently, Bluedrop’s Halifax office has 25 full- and part-time employees dedicated to work on the AOPS project, including eight positions that were created as a direct result of the contract, the firms noted.
Discovery Air Defence Services Inc. (DA Defence ) recently flew in the first-ever German Air Force Eurofighter Fighter Weapons Instructor Course (FWIC). Two DA Defence A-4N Skyhawks flew a number of support missions as Red Air to provide aggressor and dissimilar air combat training (DACT) for Eurofighters from Tactical Flying Wing 73 “Steinhoff” in Laage, Germany, according to the company.
“These missions mark an important achievement in our German program,” Rolf Brandt, Senior Program Manager – German Operations, DA Defence, noted in a statement. “The Luftwaffe has placed their trust in Discovery Air Defence to deliver professionally operated, highly-representative adversaries to train Germany’s elite Eurofighter pilots in advanced fighter weapons skills and tactics.”
DA Defence began its contracted airborne training services for the German armed forces in January 2015.
Rheinmetall will supply training equipment for the new Embraer KC-390 transport plane. Rheinmetall’s simulation and training business unit will design, manufacture, deliver and support all training devices for the aircraft, including cargo handling, procedure and maintenance trainers as well as flight and mission training systems.
The Canadian government awarded Raytheon Canada Limited contracts, estimated to be worth $36 million, for the acquisition of up to 58 Naval Remote Weapon Stations.
The new weapon stations will be installed on Canada’s existing fleet of Halifax-class modernized frigates, as well as on the future Queenston-class Joint Support Ships. The deal also includes maintenance of the equipment for an initial five years, and will include two weapon stations for use in training at both the East and West Coast fleet schools.
Ottawa-based engineering firm WR Davis Engineering Ltd is the first Canadian company to secure a manufacturing contract to provide key equipment to the Royal Navy’s Type 26 Global Combat Ship Program, according to BAE Systems.
BAE Systems, the designer and manufacturer of the anti-submarine warfare ship, awarded the $12 million contract to WR Davis for the uptake and downtake elements of the ship’s funnel and exhaust system for the first three Type 26 ships. These components are key elements of the engine and propulsion system in the UK’s new Royal Navy ships.
The Canadian government and DND renewed its operations contract with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) of Richmond, BC will continue to provide operational support for the East and West Coast RADARSAT-2 ground systems that support the Polar Epsilon Near Real-Time Ship Detection(NRTSD) system. The option is estimated at $2.4 million and extends support until March 2017.
The NRTSD system is a broad-area surveillance system that was delivered by MDA to DND in 2012. The system delivers space-based, day and night, all-weather maritime surveillance information of Canada’s Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and includes global high-resolution surveillance capabilities to support deployed Canadian Armed Forces.
Meanwhile, MDA has a new CEO. On May 16 Howard L. Lance took over as CEO, replacing Daniel Friedmann, who had been chief executive of the British Columbia-based space and defence technology firm since 1995. “This appointment is part of MDA’s broader strategy to position itself to enable the company to bid and execute a much broader range of U.S. government and commercial contracts,” the firm noted.
The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, National Research Council and Royal Canadian Navy flew an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near Fogo Island, off the north-east coast of Newfoundland, in late March to assess its potential to support Coast Guard operations at sea.
On March 28, the UAV was launched from the flight deck of a light icebreaker and sent real-time data on ice conditions to the ship, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The trial will help the Coast Guard determine how UAVs can assist during icebreaking operations. It will also help Transport Canada explore the use of similar technology.
The trials were conducted in partnership with Schiebel, the Austria-based company that developed the UAV, the department noted. The UAV model that was tested is a Schiebel Camcopter S-100, which can operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range of up to 200 km both on land and at sea.
“The Camcopter S-100, equipped with the Wescam MX-10S payload camera, once again demonstrated its operational value and mission effectiveness in open waters under icy winter conditions,” Schiebel noted in a statement. “The combination of the VTOL air vehicle and the Wescam MX-10S camera demonstrated its potential to easily identify vessels, animals and objects at long ranges at sea.”
France’s DCNS consortium will build Australia’s new submarine fleet in a deal estimated to be worth up to $50 billion. Twelve submarines will be constructed. DCNS will build a diesel-electric variant of its Barracuda-class nuclear attack submarine.
Postmedia has discovered that the Harper government quietly helped fund improvements for Seaspan in its Vancouver shipyard. Those improvements came as the company was preparing for its role in the NSPS. The funding runs contrary to claims made by the government that yards would receive no money to improve their facilities, according to Postmedia.
Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards received about $40 million in 2014–15 to get its engineering systems up to speed as it prepared to build non-combat vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard, it reported.
Public Services and Procurement Canada acknowledges the money was provided to the company in what is called the Horizontal Engineering Program Plan (HEPP) contract.
“The work under the HEPP contract is clearly distinguished from the capital investments made by the shipyards, which have been made at zero cost to Canada,” Public Services spokesman Pierre-Alain Bujold told Industry Watch. “It is in no way related to the criteria which the shipyards were required to meet, at their own cost, to achieve target-state to start building vessels.”
But Bujold acknowledged that HEPP “is a services contract that aims to coordinate, align and manage the non-combat package more strategically.”