Ships, again: Type 26 for Canada

canadat26Both the Ottawa Citizen and CBC News are reporting that the BAE/Lockheed Martin Type 26 ‘Global Combat Ship,’ a British design has been selected to be Canada’s new major surface combatant warship ~ the backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy for the next generation.

The CBC News report says that “Procurement services and defence officials say this is not the final step; they will now enter into negotiations with the winning bidder to confirm it can deliver everything promised in the complex proposal … [and] … The company must now go through a “due diligence process,” which includes further negotiations over intellectual property rights, combat systems performance assessments and a review of the company’s “financial capability to deliver the project,” the government said … [therefore] … The federal government does not expect to award a final design contract until next spring … [and] … It could be 2023 before construction actually gets underway at the go-to yard for warships — Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax.” But even at that we may be ahead of the Royal Navy who may not get their first Type 26 frigate until as late as 2027.

I don’t know enough about ships to have had a ‘favourite’ in this contest but it is reassuring that we and the Australians and the Brits have all picked the same ship. What concerns me is that we will face the British dilemma of affordability; dollars (£ in their case) forced the British to drop their Type 26 purchase from 19 to a mere eight and they will compensate by building a larger number of smaller, cheaper, Type 31 vessels … I have discussed a similar possibility before: we may (I say do) need about 15 to 20 major surface combatants warships, but what if we can only afford, say, 10 to 15 of the new Type-26s? Should we, too, then settle for a mixed fleet of, say, 10 or 12 Type-26 combat ships and say, 12 to 16 smaller, cheaper ( to build and, especially, to operate) corvettes?

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