Canada has awarded a series of contracts to Chantier Davie and Seaspan’s Victoria Shipyards for the maintenance of Royal Canadian Navy’s Halifax-class frigates.

Under the initial five-year contracts, Chantier Davie and Victoria Shipyards will perform maintenance work on the first group of Halifax-class frigates. Both contracts are each valued at C$500m ($382.88m).

Each shipyard will carry out the work on a minimum of three frigates. Work under the contracts is expected to start in the early 2020s. These contracts are expected to rise in value as additional work packages are added.

Public Services and Procurement Canada added that the value of these contracts could increase when additional work packages are awarded to the shipyards.

Works will support up to 400 jobs at each shipyard, the government added. These contracts are part of the government’s wider investment of more than C$7.5bn ($5.74bn) for the ongoing maintenance of 12 Halifax-class frigates.

The upkeep programme will continue until the vessels retire in the early 2040s. It is likely to include a range of engineering changes, equipment installations, docking work, and corrective maintenance activities.

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Canada National Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said: “This announcement is essential for supporting the modernisation of the Royal Canadian Navy. With our government’s continued investment, our navy will continue to contribute to maritime security and stability around the world.”

The navy’s Halifax-class frigates and retired Iroquois-class destroyers will be replaced by a new fleet of surface combatants that will be based on the BAE Systems Global Combat Ship design.

The country will procure 15 ships under the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) programme.

Seaspan Victoria Shipyards vice-president and general manager Joe O’Rourke said:  “Victoria Shipyards executed the first docking packages on the Halifax-class as they were built and stationed in Victoria, and we are proud and humbled to be awarded a contract that will allow us the opportunity to work these vessels to their end of life.”

Canada is currently finalising a similar contract with Irving Shipbuilding.