CANADA’S ARCTIC PATROL SHIPS TO BE READY 2014: DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN MILITARY NEWS

DND SAYS IT CAN STILL MEET A 2014 DELIVERY DATE FOR THE CANADIAN NAVY’S ARCTIC ‘FRANKENBOAT’

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Work has virtually stopped on the Arctic/Offshore Patrol vessels but the Defence Department says it is confident it can still meet a deadline of having the first ship delivered in 2014.

Like with the Joint Support Ship, the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship project is stalled, awaiting government approval on a new shipbuilding policy. That shipbuilding policy was originally expected to be ready by the “fall” of 2009 but now likely won’t be in place until sometime next year.

That will have an impact on the milestones for the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship program but DND spokeswoman Lynne Rattray told Defence Watch that the original 2014 delivery date still stands.

“The Department is studying various procurement approaches in order to mitigate schedule impact, and continues to advance the project to meet first ship delivery in 2014,” she added.

“When the Government reaches a decision on the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, the way ahead will be communicated in due course.”

The Request for Proposals for ship building and in-service support for the project was originally expected to be released in March 2010. The second phase, Project Implementation, would then have begun when the contracts were awarded in January 2011. Both are expected to be delayed.

In May, Deputy Minister Robert Fonberg assured the Senate defence committee that the delays in moving ahead with the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships –which he labelled as “Frankenboats” — was because DND was being careful on how it was proceeding.

“I do not want to let stand the notion that we are headed for disaster,” Fonberg said.  “One of the reasons that this has been taking time is because we are trying to ensure that we avoid those kinds of problems.  We know what the challenges are of trying to build a sort of “Frankenboat” that does both offshore as well as first‑year sea ice in the Arctic.”

The estimated cost of acquiring these ships is $3.1 billion, with approximately $4.3 billion provided for operations and maintenance over their 25-year lifespan, according to DND.

The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) project is to deliver six to eight multi-purpose, ice-capable offshore patrol ships with the versatility to navigate rivers, coastal waters and open seas, to crunch though Arctic ice and to guard approaches, according to DND. They will be armed and equipped with helicopter landing pads, have a range of 6,800 nautical miles and able to sustain operations for up to four months, the department notes in its background information sheet on the vessels.

In May 2008, a contract was awarded to BMT Fleet Technology to assist in developing technical specifications for the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships project. These technical specifications will then be used to draft a Request for Proposals to select a contractor to design and build the ships.

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

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