By David Pugliese
Canada has received two bids to provide the Canadian Forces with a new automatic grenade launcher but no date has been set for when the winning weapon system is selected.
A Defence Department spokeswoman told Defense Watch on Monday that request for proposal for the Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) project closed on October 8 and the proposals are now being examined by Public Works and Government Services. There is no indication when the winning bid will be selected but defence sources expect that to be completed by January or February 2010.
Rheinmetall Canada and Singapore Technologies each put in a bid, Defense Watch has learned.
Rheinmetall had offered the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations. Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition. If the Singapore Technologies gun is selected, then Canada would join the small number of nations which use the weapon.
The winner will be selected on the basis of the lowest cost meeting the requirements outlined by the Army.
Testing of both weapons was done several weeks ago at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB, according to sources.
The $100 million CASW project has been repeatedly delayed, with some industry officials pointing to it as an example of the major problems plague the Defence Department’s procurement system.
In 2004, Canadian Army officers said the weapons would be delivered in August 2006 for eventual use in Afghanistan. Then the delivery date was later set as the summer of 2008.
Later the delivery of the guns was revised to occur in late 2009.
The new date for delivery is now 2012.
The project had to be restarted in the spring after government bureaucrats ruled that a defence company’s paperwork was not filled out properly.
Only one firm, Rheinmetall Canada, based in Quebec, bid on the project and although the HK gun technically fit all the army’s requirements, the government disqualified the firm’s bid. Public Works informed Rheinmetall Canada that the financial forms attached to its proposal didn’t provide enough information.
Rheinmetall Canada argued that it submitted a fully compliant bid. However, the government did not accept that position and the procurement process was begin again this summer.
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