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New Canadian Shipbuilding Strategy

Dana381

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Me too.

As soon as the F-35 goes ioc, the Air Force should start realistic planning for what comes next. That many not be possible and likely won’t happen. This is military procurement.

Canada doesn't know what plane the Americans want us to buy yet. We can't plan for something when we are not allowed to think for ourselves on it.
 

Dana381

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"A 32-year BIW employee and third generation shipbuilder, Mr. Lesko held leadership positions including Vice President DDG 1000 Program"

Just what Irving needs, the guy who ran the Zumwalt program. I guess Irving figures they need professional help bilking Canadian taxpayers out of every last available dime. This ought to take their game up a couple notches. He even looks like he can't be trusted.
 

Navy_Pete

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Does that really have anything to do with BIW though? The zumwalt program has a long history of shooting for the stars and hitting their own foot, before they ever got near construction.

Also, I don't think Irving needs help bilking the taxpayers; until the politicians grow some intestinal fortitude and stop taking their calls they have us over a barrel.
 

Rainbow1910

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Irving Shipbuilding (ISI) is proposing to expand and modify the site and facilities at the Halifax Shipyard. The Halifax Shipyard site expansion will include dredging, marine structures and rock infill behind the structure creating approximately 13 acres of additional yard space.

The newly expanded area will not extend farther into the channel than the limits of the floating dry dock that was previously located at Halifax Shipyard.

This project will increase the capacity of the shipyard and support the fabrication, launching, and maintenance of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) vessels, which are being developed under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

This might be old news for some but I recently came across it myself, I found it interesting regardless.
 

MarkOttawa

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The NSS demolished, in terms of costs per ship and times of construction compared to other countries' efforts, by a Canadian naval architect--the start and conclusion of a piece at FrontLine Defence:
The National Shipbuilding Shambles


Jul 26, 2022

The House of Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates held hearings on the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) from February to June 2022. Video records and transcripts of the sessions can be found at OGGO - Meetings - House of Commons of Canada.

Some interesting items can be found among the materials – although very little hard data.
Most of the witnesses were there to promote vested interests and to paint over the cracks in the NSS. As I stated in my own testimony, subsequent to my retirement from a long career in the Canadian marine industry, I am now completely independent of any ties to NSS beneficiaries and gatekeepers, and can thus offer a frank and objective assessment of the status of this important program.

My unbiased assessment is that NSS has failed, is continuing to fail, and needs to be scrapped in order to prevent irreparable damage to the Canadian Navy and Coast Guard...

Where do we go from here?

What might the solutions look like? I’m not suggesting we abandon building ships in Canada – we have significant capabilities here, if they are marshalled in the right way. But we also need to be realistic about the limitations of those capabilities, and whether some things, or even whole projects, are better outsourced in the near term in the interests of having a sustainable approach for the longer term.

For example, it does not seem sensible for two shipyards each to gear up to build a single polar icebreaker, with no similar follow-on work in prospect. It doesn’t require an economist to point out that all economies of scale, even with only two ships are lost when two shipyards gear up to produce a single version of the same vessel.

The average Canadian can also see that investing hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading a yard to build CSCs does not make sense if this is not the project that Canada needs.

At the end of the day, we need to decide what level of premium we are prepared to pay for build-in-Canada solutions – 100%, 125%? I don’t believe that 300-500% is either reasonable or sustainable – nor is it responsible.

While I understand the case for spin-off benefits, we are living in a world of skills shortages, not jobs shortages. NSS projects are currently absorbing capacity that could probably be used to greater economic effect in other sectors of the economy, without making a meaningful contribution to safety and security.

I hope this material will encourage objective evaluation of what needs to be done. The timescales for all NSS projects may give the impression that there is still time to solve problems but, in reality, Canadian ship procurement is in a crisis right now, and will only get worse with time.

We need to put an end to the decade of delusion in Canadian ship procurement.

___
Andrew Kendrick is a naval architect and ocean engineer who has worked in ship design, research, and regulatory development for over 45 years as an engineer, project manager, and company executive. He retired from full-time employment in late 2020, but continues to be active on projects in Canada and internationally, and volunteering for several professional and technical organizations in the marine sector.

Delusion indeed.

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Colin Parkinson

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The NSS makes sense, it's 20 years late, but it makes sense and is likely as good as it will get considering the politics of this country. The case of the polar icebreaker is more to do with politicians seeking votes and appeasing regions than the NSS itself. If you scrap the NSS, you are still dealing with political favouritism, regionalism and now you have no coherent plan to address the looming crisis. We at least have a flawed plan that is pumping out ships right now.
 

Jimbolio

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The average Canadian can also see that investing hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading a yard to build CSCs does not make sense if this is not the project that Canada needs.
Nowhere in the article does he make this case. Also, although most of the article complains about NSS, the sentence I've quoted could be interpreted as having an issue with CSC. It's not clear. I was looking for a little more insight from someone who claims so much experience. Other than complaining about NSS, though, no viable alternatives are proposed (except, maybe offshoring, but that's hardly new, and not a goal of NSS).
 

Navy_Pete

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Any estimates of an NSS premium are an apple/orange comparison; even the PBO couldn't make it work, as countries report completely different info when they cost things, and completely different contract structures.

Some countries have some project costs in the build, others exclude some project/material costs, and Canada tends to include everything tangentially related to the project as well as contingency funding.

There is a lot of 'premium' that is strictly due to our bureaucracy as well, all the shipyards have a whole directorate of people who work just on government reporting and interface.

We could save a lot of time and money by just streaming our oversight/reporting requirements and using standard commercial terms, but then the entire DPS, ISED and other wings of the GoC that have their fingers in the pie would be largely irrelevant. Being clever, we'd probably want to do the same thing even with overseas builds, so would cost even more.
 

Dale Denton

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The NSS makes sense, it's 20 years late, but it makes sense and is likely as good as it will get considering the politics of this country. The case of the polar icebreaker is more to do with politicians seeking votes and appeasing regions than the NSS itself. If you scrap the NSS, you are still dealing with political favouritism, regionalism and now you have no coherent plan to address the looming crisis. We at least have a flawed plan that is pumping out ships right now.
Something something bathwater...

The failings of the NSS were predictable. Did anyone expect this to go any other way? You can tell how successful a program is based on how little information is available on the NSS at any given time.

Where is the long-term strategy for the RCN? How does it tie-in with NSS?

My view is that NSS is a long-term commitment to Canadian shipbuilders and their employees/voters. Gov't did not anticipate any delays (or didn't care) and we've been stuck with a less than ideal number of interim ships to pretend to cover these gaps.

We should have partnered with international shipbuilders and leveraged their experiences and processes and slowly adapted them to our needs. But instead, like almost everything else, we chose to do something 100% on our own like our requirements were that unique. Our non-combat CCG/RCN yard have been in partnership with say a...South Korean yard for our AORs. A third yard should've been signed from the get-go, to refurb or refit existing vessels as well.

The most important thing they can do is methodically fix NSS shortfall, learn from allies, and taking these lessons into Army/RCAF NSS.
 

Edward Campbell

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I agree with Colin; the political aim of the NSS was sound, back in 2008/09, when then PM Harper sent a "tiger team" of very senior officials (mostly (all?) deputy ministers) away to find a way to make Canada's shipbuilding industry competitive. I'm not sure the political aim was realistic. I'm not sure that Canada's shipbuilding industry was ever globally or even regionally competitive. But the aim was politically sound.

I think the NSS was about as good a plan as responsible officials could come up with at the time.

Whether or not it could or can ever work is an open question ... my guess is not. But doing nothing was, and remains, a worse choice.
 

Edward Campbell

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Something something bathwater...

The failings of the NSS were predictable. Did anyone expect this to go any other way? You can tell how successful a program is based on how little information is available on the NSS at any given time.

Where is the long-term strategy for the RCN? How does it tie-in with NSS?

My view is that NSS is a long-term commitment to Canadian shipbuilders and their employees/voters. Gov't did not anticipate any delays (or didn't care) and we've been stuck with a less than ideal number of interim ships to pretend to cover these gaps.

We should have partnered with international shipbuilders and leveraged their experiences and processes and slowly adapted them to our needs. But instead, like almost everything else, we chose to do something 100% on our own like our requirements were that unique. Our non-combat CCG/RCN yard have been in partnership with say a...South Korean yard for our AORs. A third yard should've been signed from the get-go, to refurb or refit existing vessels as well.

The most important thing they can do is methodically fix NSS shortfall, learn from allies, and taking these lessons into Army/RCAF NSS.
The NSS was NEVER about warships or the RCN's or the Coast Guard's requirements. It was ONLY ever about trying to make two or three yards internationally competitive and, therefore, self sufficient. The RCN's role is to provide a cover for pumping government funds into shipyards in a way that is justified under international trade law.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Even the Korean built ships are not without their drama. The hardcore reality is that without new builds and the capital investments that support them, our shipyards will wither away and then we have no ability to to even repair them. We neglected our shipbuilding industry for a long time. Out on the West Coast they survived on building a good rep for good and on time repairs with commercial interests, but new builds were few and far between. I am personally seeing a lot of infrastructure improvements both at Seaspan and at VDC as a result of the NSS and that translates into better quality repairs and projects as new equipment is purchased. Such as this

That means more contracts for repairs, generally VDC has 2-3 contracts for refits or repairs at any one time, quite a few of them are foreign or US flagged vessels. This work means a lot of sub contractors get work and I see 8-9 different contractors go through the gate on any one day. We can't compete with Asian or Eastern European yards on labour costs, but we can compete on quality, on time and on budget, with a refit or repair that will be passed by the surveyors. I can't speak for what the East Coast is doing or how well, I let others comment on that. But NSS pumps a lot of money into my region and it is generating work for skilled tradespeople and providing steady work for this new generation of tradespeople and the next generation as well.
Maybe spend more time ripping all of the previous governments for allowing us to get into this crisis which they all knew was coming and did precious little to resolve.
 

YZT580

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Even the Korean built ships are not without their drama. The hardcore reality is that without new builds and the capital investments that support them, our shipyards will wither away and then we have no ability to to even repair them. We neglected our shipbuilding industry for a long time. Out on the West Coast they survived on building a good rep for good and on time repairs with commercial interests, but new builds were few and far between. I am personally seeing a lot of infrastructure improvements both at Seaspan and at VDC as a result of the NSS and that translates into better quality repairs and projects as new equipment is purchased. Such as this

That means more contracts for repairs, generally VDC has 2-3 contracts for refits or repairs at any one time, quite a few of them are foreign or US flagged vessels. This work means a lot of sub contractors get work and I see 8-9 different contractors go through the gate on any one day. We can't compete with Asian or Eastern European yards on labour costs, but we can compete on quality, on time and on budget, with a refit or repair that will be passed by the surveyors. I can't speak for what the East Coast is doing or how well, I let others comment on that. But NSS pumps a lot of money into my region and it is generating work for skilled tradespeople and providing steady work for this new generation of tradespeople and the next generation as well.
Maybe spend more time ripping all of the previous governments for allowing us to get into this crisis which they all knew was coming and did precious little to resolve.
not to mention funding several skills building courses in metallurgy, welding etc. Its a win-win for those kids lucky enough to obtain a position and there are a number of first nation people who can look forward to a decent career
 

Kirkhill

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The NSS makes sense, it's 20 years late, but it makes sense and is likely as good as it will get considering the politics of this country. The case of the polar icebreaker is more to do with politicians seeking votes and appeasing regions than the NSS itself. If you scrap the NSS, you are still dealing with political favouritism, regionalism and now you have no coherent plan to address the looming crisis. We at least have a flawed plan that is pumping out ships right now.
Pumping?

Or grrrrrriiiiiinding?
 

Kirkhill

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The NSS was NEVER about warships or the RCN's or the Coast Guard's requirements. It was ONLY ever about trying to make two or three yards internationally competitive and, therefore, self sufficient. The RCN's role is to provide a cover for pumping government funds into shipyards in a way that is justified under international trade law.

In my view the tragedy of the NSS program is that Seaspan was in the process of building a useful local reputation for refit and repair. It also benefited from the Kvaerner connections that transferred Beaufort sea ice technology to the Baltic and OPV technology to Canada. Svalbard was a Kvaerner design that was refined, and costed on the West Coast to create the AOPS which was then tossed to the East Coast who then proceeded to redesign it and recost it.

In the meantime it seems that West Coast has caught the same bug infecting the East Coast.
 

Swampbuggy

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Even the Korean built ships are not without their drama. The hardcore reality is that without new builds and the capital investments that support them, our shipyards will wither away and then we have no ability to to even repair them. We neglected our shipbuilding industry for a long time. Out on the West Coast they survived on building a good rep for good and on time repairs with commercial interests, but new builds were few and far between. I am personally seeing a lot of infrastructure improvements both at Seaspan and at VDC as a result of the NSS and that translates into better quality repairs and projects as new equipment is purchased. Such as this

That means more contracts for repairs, generally VDC has 2-3 contracts for refits or repairs at any one time, quite a few of them are foreign or US flagged vessels. This work means a lot of sub contractors get work and I see 8-9 different contractors go through the gate on any one day. We can't compete with Asian or Eastern European yards on labour costs, but we can compete on quality, on time and on budget, with a refit or repair that will be passed by the surveyors. I can't speak for what the East Coast is doing or how well, I let others comment on that. But NSS pumps a lot of money into my region and it is generating work for skilled tradespeople and providing steady work for this new generation of tradespeople and the next generation as well.
Maybe spend more time ripping all of the previous governments for allowing us to get into this crisis which they all knew was coming and did precious little to resolve.
The NSS, as a concept, is an excellent way to develop, expand and sustain both skill sets and human expertise in all of the above mentioned trades. I believe that where it struggles is when it is applied to a situation that needs to replace 30+ highly important vessels in short order. As Colin said, it’s about 20 years too late. And, yes, that’s a failing of every previous government since the 80’s. The question now is if there are going to be enough ships in the short term to get the job done before the program completes the arguably most important classes (AOR, CSC, Polar Ice Breakers). If not, what are the options that can address the need? Used interim oilers from the USN to supplement ASTERIX or find another Heavy Ice Breaker on the market, etc? The pattern so far has been to find immediate answers outside of the NSS, like ASTERIX or the VIKINGS. I wonder if, when or what the next mad scramble will address?
 

FSTO

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After WWII we had a fairly mature shipbuilding capability although I'm unsure if any of the Tribals being built in Halifax actually saw action. Then from 1953 to 1972 there was a continual build of RCN ships and we grew from the DDE's to refitted DDE to DDH (Fraser) to DDH from the keel up (Annapolis and Nipigon) to the Tribals with their twin helo's and SAM missiles. We also tossed in 3 AORs (1 refit and 2 purpose built). By 72 we had rid ourselves of the Nav Architect community, the will to build upon previous experience, and a government hell bent on gutting the CAF (willingly or unwillingly). We come to 1985 and we realize that we've wrung the last bit usefulness from the steamers and made the decision to replace them. Did the government actually look at building offshore? I'm not sure but the result was to pour oodles of money and sweat into resurrecting a warship building capability that by 1996 was pumping out frigates at a good rate and with the knowledge that EOL of the TRUMPs and AORs was rapidly approaching. So instead of having the yard pivot to next requirements the decision was made to shut the whole thing down again. And now we find ourselves in the early teens and the entire government fleet is on the verge of falling apart and rightly the PM forced (?) the GoC to come up with the NSS to address the rust out issue of the fleets of the GoC. Any person who had an ounce of experience with government programs knew that there will be cost overruns because that is just the way things work. The NSS is a MASSIVE program, much more complex than the child care or I'd even argue the Medicare system but if we power through there will be a decent payoff in the end.
The one problem is see in the future is that we've built a whole group of ships in one go and they are not staggered enough and we'll be in the same situation again in 30/40 years. I'm hoping that we decide not to do mid life refits, or do them at year 12 and get rid of them at year 25, instead of refit at year 22 and them sinking on their own at year 45.
 

MarkOttawa

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The NSS makes sense, it's 20 years late, but it makes sense and is likely as good as it will get considering the politics of this country. The case of the polar icebreaker is more to do with politicians seeking votes and appeasing regions than the NSS itself. If you scrap the NSS, you are still dealing with political favouritism, regionalism and now you have no coherent plan to address the looming crisis. We at least have a flawed plan that is pumping out ships right now.

Chantier Davie completed CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent's 1/3 series of work ahead of schedule:

CCGS George R. Pearkes will be well into her forties (if not older) when her replacement from Seaspan arrives sometime next decade:

Hamilton company gets $36.14 million contract to upgrade Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker ship​

The Canadian Coast Guard announced Wednesday that it has awarded a $36.14 million vessel life extension contract to Hamilton’s Heddle Shipyards [the company has been lobbying furiously for work on new vessels too].

The George R. Pearkes will be dry-docked and enter an extended maintenance period designed to increase its operational life. The ship primarily performs light icebreaking and buoy tending and is available for search and rescue and environmental response operations on Canada’s east coast...

The vessel life extension work includes:
  • steel hull reinforcement;
  • hull, superstructure, deck and mast recoating;
  • galley modernization;
  • replacement of the bow thruster, cycloconverter, propulsion generator and internal communication system;
  • tail shaft and rudder inspections; and
  • domestic and auxiliary system upgrades.
This contract award falls under the repair, refit, and maintenance pillar of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, created to ensure that Canada has a safe and effective fleet of ships for years to come while providing ongoing opportunities for shipyards and suppliers across the country.

The George R. Pearkes entered into service in 1986. Stationed in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, the vessel was named for Victoria Cross recipient George Randolph Pearkes.

While the ship undergoes vessel life extension from Winter 2023 to Spring 2024, the Canadian Coast Guard will reallocate its other maritime resources...

pearkes.jpeg

Mark
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Colin Parkinson

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The Pearkes (served on her) and the Black spent the first decade and a bit of their lives on the West Coast, so they are in much better shape that the East Coast vessels. less harsh weather and better maintenance.
 

Underway

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I'm glad to see Davie making a good name for themselves in modification, maintenance and repair. We'll see how well they do when VDQ shows up shortly for her refit. I'm looking forward to seeing how they deal with the RCN, who are by and large far more... particular (read anal retentive) than the CCG as a general rule.
 
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