Thales has announced its selection to provide in-service support (ISS) to minor warships and auxiliary vessels in the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) fleet.

Thales’ contract costs C$450m ($329m) for a service period that will span five years, with an option to extend the period to 19 years.

On top of its recent service in delivering a combat management system for the RCN’s Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPVs), this latest contract makes Thales as Canada’s principal ISS provider building on almost 60 years of Canadian ISS.

Under the nation’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, which began in June 2010, Thales’ ISS service will help to maintain the service life of 100 vessels from 24 different classes. According to GlobalData intelligence, this includes the Navy’s 12 Kingston-class light combat vessels, 8 Orca-class auxiliary vessels, tugs, dive tenders, research vessels, range vessels, and other auxiliary support vessels.

ISS maintenance for a digitalised force

The Thales contract has been in the works since the Nato military alliance summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in July, when the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced its “unwavering commitment to Nato”.

The North American country will maintain a credible force size as it continues to support Nato under Operation Reassurance, Canada’s largest oversea mission to central and eastern Europe.

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One way that Thales is committed to empowering Canada’s naval force is through its digital capabilities.

The ISS contract relies on Thales’ strong expertise in digital technologies, such as AI, big data, connectivity and cybersecurity, to update and optimise the fleet.

In July this year, Thales acquired Cobham Aerospace – valued at $1.1bn, the buyer sought to strengthen its portfolio by leveraging Cobham’s communications and connectivity expertise. Likewise, Thales also purchased the Australian cybersecurity firm Teserent for $125m (A$195m) a month before as a way of accelerating its cybersecurity development roadmap.

Thales’s Canadian ISS portfolio will enable skills development and the creation of thousands of jobs across hundreds of Canadian suppliers of all sizes.