Canada to spend billions to build new warships

08:08, June 04, 2010      

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Canada has unveiled a shipbuilding strategy that will spend more than 30 billion Canadian dollars over the next 30 years to build 28 large vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard and navy, as well as 100 smaller ships, Defense Minister Peter MacKay said Thursday.

MacKay said, at the CANSEC arms show in Ottawa, that the federal government will establish a long-term relationship with two Canadian shipyards for the procurement of the large ships, one to build combat vessels, the other non-combat.

"The plan is to select two Canadian shipyards in a fair and transparent process," he said on Canada's efforts to reinvigorate its moribund shipbuilding industry. "We expect to have these contracts signed within two years."

Canada has been trying to iron out a national policy that would get major shipbuilding companies to work together and become more efficient.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose said, at the same event, that the national shipbuilding procurement strategy will bring predictability and eliminate the cycles of boom and bust of the industry.

"It is about using Canadian sources to fill Canadian needs," he said, adding that the investment will result in thousands of new jobs over the 30-year lifespan of the plan.

Earlier on Wednesday, Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defense staff, said that it has been 14 years since the last major warship was launched in Canada.

He noted the 38-year-old, 5,100-tonne command-and-control destroyer HMCS Iroquois will soon be the oldest frontline warship in the western world.

Canada, which borders three oceans -- Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic, currently operates 66 commissioned and auxiliary ships, including Halifax-class multi-role patrol frigates, Victoria-class long-range patrol submarines, Iroquois-class area air defense destroyers, Protecteur-class auxiliary oil replenishment, Kingston- class coastal defense vessels, Orca-class training tenders, and Torpedo and Sound Ranging Vessels.



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