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July 14, 2010

Canada to go ahead with Joint Support Ship

Peter MacKay, Canada's Minister of National Defence, together with Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada and Minister for Status of Women, and Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Government is moving forward with procurement of two new Joint Support Ships (JSS), with the option to procure a third. The JSS project represents a total investment by the Government of Canada of approximately $2.6 billion.

Those with a long memory will announce that something very similar was announced back in 2006. That procurement was scrubbed back in 2008, on the grounds that bidders had failed to meet budgetary targets. This time it looks as though the budget being set for two ships plus an option is pretty much what was budgeted for three ships last time around.

The primary role of the JSS will include supply of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water. The JSS will also provide a home base for the maintenance and operation of helicopters, a limited sealift capability, and logistics support to forces deployed ashore.

The ships will be built in Canada under Canada's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, and today's announcement "will lead to the creation of long-term, skilled jobs for Canadians and will reinvigorate Canada's marine industry, allowing it to compete on the world stage," says Minister Ambrose.

"Today's announcement will mean jobs for Canadian workers, as shipyards across the country produce elements of this fleet," said Minister Clement. "When all is said and done we are beginning the process to build these ships, and that is great news for our Navy, for our shipbuilding industry, and for Canada."

The first step of the process, known as the definition phase, will involve the assessment of both new and existing designs. Existing ship designs are those already built, operating, and that meet key specific Canadian requirements.

A new ship design is being developed by government and industry officials working side-by-side. The selected ship design will be based on the best value in terms of capability and affordability, ensuring the successful delivery of the JSS. The design is expected to be available in approximately two years, at which time a Canadian shipyard, selected as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, will be engaged to complete the design of and build the Joint Support Ships.


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