Here are two more pictures of a defence procurement success story: The Asterix, our new mixed (civilian and military) crewed, contracted AOR (supply ship), doing, and passing, the in harbour acceptance trials of the new, Canadian designed, NATO standard Replenishment at Sea equipment:
These are the big hoses through which the AOR (supply ship – tanker) pumps fuel into our frigates, while both ships are moving at 20+ knots. It is a pretty exciting thing to see (we did it during a visit to the fleet when I was in the Staff College many, many years ago).
The key thing about the Asterix and Project Resolve is that it originated as a commercial (as opposed to government) programme with terms and conditions that caused some in government (and in the industry) to catch their metaphorical breath. But it all came together, despite what may have been a Liberal plan to kill the project in order to pay-off their supports in Atlantic Canada. Davie, the Quebec City shipyard, had been left off the Conservative government’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy due to chronic mismanagement ~ the Canadian taxpayers have poured billions into the yard and, essentially, got second rate, overpriced stuff in return … usually late. A new, foreign, ownership team turned Davie around, and Asterix ~ on time and on budget and performing as promised ~ is the result.
Maybe there are lessons here for Prime Minister Trudeau, for his new Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough and DND’s Assistant Deputy Minister Finn for Materiel. Maybe our system is in need of reform … maybe what works best is what happens despite the government’s best efforts.