A joint-venture (JV) between Thales Canada and Thales Australia has secured a C$5.2bn ($4.13bn) in-service support (ISS) contract for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Arctic and offshore patrol ships (AOPS) and joint support ships (JSS).

The new contract demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to renewing Canada's federal fleet of combat and non-combat ships via the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).

The deal will see the JV carry out various servicing and maintenance operations, including refits, repairs, maintenance and training for the RCN’s fleet.

Thales is also expected to deliver initial ISS for a period of eight years for up to C$800m ($635.6m) as part of the initiative, with provisions to extend services to up to 35 years.

The new contract is known as AJISS and is to be carried out under a close collaboration between Thales and the Canadian Navy's support facilities and personnel.

It is expected to generate an economic benefit of more than C$250m ($198.6m) in research and development (R&D) for Canada, in addition to creating and maintaining more than 2,000 middle-class jobs across the country for a period of up to 35 years.

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"Thales’s ISS programme solution will create jobs across Canada and will ensure that the ships are mission-ready, where and when they are needed."

Thales Canada country director Mark Halinaty said: “As Canada’s partner of choice for AJISS, Thales is committed to empowering Canadian industry to support this programme for decades to come.

“Thales’s ISS programme solution will create jobs across Canada and will ensure that the ships are mission-ready, where and when they are needed, from coast to coast to coast.”

Work for RCN vessels to be delivered in the east will be carried out in the Atlantic provinces of Quebec or Ontario, while work on the ships to be delivered in the west will be conducted in the country's western provinces and territories.

The initially government launched the open competition for the AJISS ISS contract in July 2016.

Irving Shipbuilding is currently constructing six AOPS for the RCN, and the first vessel is scheduled to be delivered by 2018.

The first of two JSS vessels to be built by Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards will be handed over in 2021.