The National Post reports that “In a surprise twist in Canada’s shipbuilding saga, a foreign consortium is offering the country a way to build a fleet of warships at a guaranteed price of $30 billion — a potential savings of $32 billion … [and] … Fincantieri of Italy and Naval Group of France — major forces in international shipbuilding — don’t believe the current $62-billion Canadian Surface Combatant program, already beset with delays and increasing costs, will be successful, industry sources told Postmedia … [but] … Instead, the French and Italian governments have proposed that Canada’s chosen contractor, Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, build 15 ships based on the consortium’s FREMM frigate design, which is proven and is in operation with the French and Italian navies. They are offering to guarantee the cost of the ships at a fixed $30 billion.“
Over on Army.ca people who I consider “informed” suggest that:
- “With a guarantee like that my first instinct is “What’s the catch?” Too good to be true usually is. I expect they want to build some of the ships in their own yards, or at least parts of them there. Are they that desperate to keep their nationalized shipbuilding industries afloat they would offer a money losing contract? Or are they non-compliant in some of their bid and want to circumvent the process? … [and] … Irving is heavily involved with the design selection. I expect they will put up a fight and try to get all the money themselves. I also expect bureaucratic resistance … [but] … This has the potential to be a political football of epic proportions. I suppose we’ll see a battle between the navies priorities, jobs in Canada’s priorities, strategic industry priorities and saving taxpayers dollars priorities;” and/or
- “This basically means that Fincantieri/Naval Group is bowing out of the NSPS process and taking its parting shot at Irving … [and] … Everything I read so far is that this “offer” from them with guaranteed price is for building the vessels outside of the NSPS. Basically, they would build them in their yards (or perhaps a different Canadian yard, with them in charge – Davie anyone?), but definitely not at Irving. That is the only way they can guarantee cost … [thus] … their parting shot is just there to remind Canadians how much money they are spewing just for the privilege of home built. They know, however, that no Canadian government will ever spend that much money offshore for something they actually can get here, even at inflated prices (which is not the case, for instance for fighter aircrafts).“
It is also reported that the Navantia-Saab Team has submitted a bid for Canadian Surface Combatant Program.
So, that gives us, as of today, three contenders (of maybe two contenders and one parting-shot):
The British Type 26, the Franco-Italian FREMM and the some variant of the Spanish Type 100/105/110 ships … at least the first and last are also being offered to Australia.