Canada’s quest for a new fleet of warships is off to a rocky start with all bidders failing to meet some of the federal government’s requirements.
Procurement officials are now trying to regroup on the $60-billion project and figure out ways that bidders might be able to change their proposals to make them acceptable, a number of defence industry executives pointed out.
The problems centre around technical issues. Some are minor but in other cases there is a view among defence industry officials that Canada is asking for too much in some areas such as radar, which may be causing problems with meeting requirements.
Public Services and Procurement Canada spokeswoman Michèle LaRose said the bids received for the Canadian Surface Combatant project have not been disqualified. Three bids have been received. The federal government and Irving Shipbuilding are still evaluating the proposals, she added. LaRose pointed out that the evaluation is at the second stage in the process.
Government officials say that involves what is known as “the cure process” in which bidders will be given details of how their proposals have failed to meet the stated criteria. They will then be given only one opportunity to fix issues with their bids.
If they are still considered “non-compliant” after the cure period they “will be eliminated from the competition,” according to the federal government.
Technical specifications are now being evaluated by the government. Later this year, the companies will provide the financial information related to their bids.
Warship builders submitted their bids on Nov. 30. A winning bid is expected to be selected sometime this year.
Irving Shipbuilding will begin construction of the first ship in the early 2020s and delivery of the first vessel is expected in the mid-2020s, according to the federal government.