Hepburn Engineering has secured a contract to provide replenishment-at-sea (RAS) systems for the Royal Canadian Navy’s new Joint Support Ships (JSS).

The contract has been awarded by Seaspan Shipyards and requires Hepburn to supply four replenishment stations.

The RAS systems are intended to allow the JSS to provide underway support to naval task groups, including the transfer of fuel, freshwater, and solid goods.

Seaspan stated that the systems will be fully compatible with Nato standards.

Canada Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said: “The partnership between Seaspan Shipyards and Hepburn Engineering demonstrates how defence procurement supports the growth of our innovative small and medium businesses.

“This investment will create good jobs for Canadians while providing the Royal Canadian Navy with the tools they need to succeed.”

The replenishment capability will increase the operational range of Canadian and allied task force ships.

The JSS vessels are currently under construction at Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards.

Seaspan Shipyards CEO Mark Lamarre said: “The work taking place at Hepburn is indicative of the world-class standard of products and services that Canadian companies are able to competitively deliver as part of the broader shipbuilding industry.”

Being built under the country’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, the JSS ships will replace the auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) vessels.

The project includes two Protecteur-class ships, with the delivery of the first vessel, the future HMCS Protecteur, expected to take place in 2022-23.

Once the ship is delivered, it will undergo a series of trials to test whether it meets the operational requirements.