Canada will continue to finance CACI International, a US-based security systems supplier, for an additional year of technical engineering services and support for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) programme.

Under this modification, authorised by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 7 February 2024, the contractor will receive $11.3m, $10m (C$13.4m) of which will come from Canadian foreign military sales funds.

Work will be performed in Washington, D.C. and is expected to be completed by February 2025.

This modification builds on a pre-existing contract awarded to the company in February 2023, when it was awarded $11m, with a cumulative value of $92.5m, for the same work on the CSC programme. At the time, the DoD stated that if all options are exercised then work will continue through to February 2028.

Currently, the programme has reached its third ‘definition’ phase where the Canadian Government selects a team and their warship design proposal as well as production engineering suppliers for contract awards – one among them being CACI for technical engineering support services.

This stage precedes phase four, implementation (i.e construction of the vessels) and early delivery expected in the 2030s.

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Plans for the CSC programme

The CSC project is the Royal Canadian Navy’s acquisition programme to build 15 CSC multi-role ships that will replace both the retired Iroquois-class destroyers, in service since the early 1970s, and the Halifax-class frigates, acquired in the 1990s.

This will be the sole new class of major surface combatant for the Navy, with all-round anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-shipping capabilities. One sub-variant is intended to have additional wide-area air defense capabilities with the facilities to act as a task force flagship.

It is the largest and most complex shipbuilding project in Canada since the Second World War. Armaments are to include Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and RIM-66 and 162 air defence missiles.

While the Canadian Government claims to have spent C$738.7m as of February 2021, the overall project is estimated to cost between $56bn and $60bn.

The CSC warships will be constructed by the primary contractor Irving Shipbuilding at its Halifax Shipyard in Nova Scotia, alongside 350 Canadian suppliers directly engaged.

This includes Lockheed Martin Canada, which was awarded $64m for the establishment of the AEGIS CSC land-based test site in New Jersey, US in September 2023. Although originally designed for naval warfare, the AEGIS system has been used effectively as a part of a land-based missile threat detection network in the United States, Poland, and Japan.

The construction of the first vessel is due to begin in 2024.