Navantia-Saab Team Submits Proposal to Irving Shipbuilding for Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Program

The Navantia-Saab Team has announced the submission of its proposal to Irving Shipbuilding for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Program.

The team is proposing a solution based on the proven F105 frigate design, an upgraded Flight II version of the F100 Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates with a lone example ESPN Cristóbal Colón (F-105) in service with the Spanish Navy. Navantia has a delivered variants of this design to other countries – the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates is based on F100 design while Royal Australian Navy’s Hobart-class air-warfare destroyer is based on F105 design.

According to a statement from Navantia, the team’s proposal is focused on delivering an operationally proven design and leveraging the capabilities key Canadian companies to deliver a ship that is ideally suited to Canada’s requirement.

Navantia-Saab Team incorporates the following key components:

+ Saab’s globally recognized 9LV Combat Management Systems (CMS), in service on over 240 platforms in 16 navies across the globe, including Canada’s own Halifax-class frigates.

+ CEA Technologies Active Phased Array Radar, that is fully compliant with Canada’s requirements and in service onboard the Royal Australian Navy ANZAC-class frigates as well as being mandated for all future frigates to be built for the RAN.

The team’s proposal includes a full technology transfer of Navantia’s design and Saab’s 9LV CMS to Canada to be integrated and maintained by Canadian companies. Key Canadian partners to the Navantia-Saab Team are Lockheed Martin Canada, General Dynamics Mission Systems (GDMS) – Canada, DRS Technologies Limited Canada, OSI Maritime Service and Rheinmetall Canada.

According to a press release, the team’s value proposition to Canada provides the lowest risk solution with a proven, “producible”ship design, for Canada.

The statement added that the Navantia Team is committed to i) creating new high value jobs across Canada, many being qualified engineering positions, ii) investing in Canadian based Innovation that is focused on shipyard 4.0 technologies to support the creation of a sustainable national shipbuilding capability; and iii) developing new export opportunities for the Canadian Defence Industry and partnering Canadian suppliers and producers.

Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Program

The Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program is the procurement project that will replace Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class multi-role patrol frigates with up to 15 new ships beginning in the early 2020s as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The CSC project is the largest and most complex shipbuilding initiative in Canada since World War II.

The replacement vessels will be somewhat larger than the existing Halifax-class, and presumably provide a wide-area air defence capability, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capability, as well as anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capability. The design of these ships is currently underway and both the total number of ships and their capability will be dependent on the budget that is allocated to the project.

The CSC will be able to conduct a broad range of tasks, in various scenarios, including: 1) decisive combat power at sea and support during land operations; 2) counter-piracy, counter terrorism, interdiction and embargo operations for medium intensity operations and 3) the delivery of humanitarian aid, search and rescue, law and sovereignty enforcement for regional engagements.

According to the estimates, the program will cost around $56-60 billion. The actual cost will be determined once the CSC Project Definition Phase is completed.

The three submitted proposals for the project are:

+ British Type 26 Global Combat Ship frigate design proposed by Lockheed Martin Canada and BAE Systems
+ Dutch De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate-based design proposed by Alion Canada and Damen Group
+ Spanish F-105 frigate design offered by Navantia

Canada’s Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has been selected as the prime contractor for both the project definition and implementation phases. Irving Shipbuilding, as the prime contractor, will issue a subcontract to the company selected.

Construction is slated to begin in the early 2020s, with the first ship to be delivered in the mid-2020s. The last ship is expected to have been delivered, commissioned and upgraded to have complete operational capability by the late 2040s.

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