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Faster, simpler design to be used for navy warships built in Halifax

Canadian government pairs down warship requirements in effort to save money
WATCH ABOVE: The Liberal government says it is dropping some capabilities for its next generation warships in order to buy an off-the-shelf ship design rather than a custom design. The move is also expected to shave two years off the shipbuilding program's timeline but the government isn't yet announcing the total budget for the project. Global's legislative reporter Marieke Walsh explains.

The federal government said Monday it will streamline its warship replacement program by purchasing an off-the-shelf design to save money and speed the process.

Public Services Minister Judy Foote made the announcement today at Irving Shipbuilding‘s Halifax headquarters, saying a single competitive process will select an existing warship design along with the systems and equipment that will be integrated on the vessels.

READ MORE: N.S. closely watching shipbuilding costs

“The new approach significantly reduces the design and technical integration time,” she said as the sounds of industrial machinery chugged in the background. “Construction of the first surface combatant ship in Halifax can start up to two years sooner than originally planned.”

The Halifax yard is one of two construction sites contracted in the government’s bid to build new warships, with the surface combatant fleet to replace the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates.

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She said the first of the Arctic offshore patrol ships should be finished in 2018 and carry on into the early 2020s, followed by the construction of the warships.

 

READ MORE: First look at Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship under construction

Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, said purchasing a design will save about two years in producing the warships.

“Two years is a long time. You’re essentially saving 10 per cent of the cost if you can knock two years off the time period,” he said after the news conference.

Original projections put the cost of building 15 new vessels at $26 billion, but internal documents and reports published last fall suggest the bill could run as high $40 billion.

Last month, Foote indicated the government would stop making public cost projections to allow for wiggle room as the project evolves. She said the cost savings on using an existing design are yet to be determined.

She estimates that about 2,400 jobs will be created at the peak of construction for the surface combatants and Arctic offshore patrol vessels.

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