The Canadian government has awarded Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards a contract valued at C$2.4 billion (approx. US$1.8bn) to start full rate construction of the two joint support ships (JSS) for the Royal Canadian Navy.
Worth noting, the contract award comes several months after the shipbuilder held a keel-laying ceremony for the first ship in the class, the future HMCS Protecteur.
The deal will allow the transition to full-rate construction of the first ship, the construction of early blocks for which began in June 2018, with the second ship following suit later. Seaspan started building JSS blocks as away to keep Vancouver shipbuilders busy over a period of time when the works on three Coast Guard fisheries vessels were nearing completion before the design for a new coast guard ocean science ship was ready.
The first JSS is expected to be delivered in 2023, and the second in 2025. The total JSS budget includes C$3.1 billion for the purchase of the ships and initial spares, as well as C$1 billion for design and production engineering work, project management and associated contingency costs, resulting in a total value of C$4.1B.
The JSS will deliver fuel and other vital supplies to vessels at sea, offer medical and dental services, and provide facilities for helicopter maintenance repair. As warships based on the German Type-702 Berlin-class design, the JSS will include damage control and self-defense systems that will allow them to conduct military operations in high-threat environments.
“These new ships will provide a necessary capability for our Royal Canadian Navy, while providing significant economic benefits and jobs to Canadians, including thousands of jobs created or sustained right here in Vancouver and across Canada,” Canadian defense minister Harjit S. Sajjan commented. “An impressive amount of work has already gone into the construction of these new ships, and I look forward to their arrival in the coming years.”
“These ships will not only form part of the core of our naval task groups, they also represent a vital and strategic national asset that will enable the Navy to maintain its global reach and staying power,” Royal Canadian Navy Commander Vice-Admiral Art McDonald added.