The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has stated that it had no need for a second interim support ship following a thorough assessment of whether acquiring such an asset was feasible.
Davie Shipbuilding of Quebec had earlier proposed converting and leasing an existing commercial containership for C$500 million (US$380 million) after having accomplished a similar undertaking for the support ship Asterix (pictured).
Asterix, which was delivered to the Department of National Defence in January 2018, is intended to serve as an interim vessel prior to the planned introduction of the Protecteur-class joint support ships in 2022.
The CAF has affirmed that only one interim support ship will suffice until the newer vessels finally enter service.
In response to the CAF’s announcement, Davie Shipbuilding issued a statement requesting that the government make “decisions based on facts and evidence” as regards the proposed conversion and delivery of the second interim support ship, which would have been named Obelix.
Davie officials pointed out that the assessment that prompted the CAF’s decision not to acquire Obelix was originally conducted in 2014, when the Protecteur-class ships still had a planned delivery of 2019.
A more recent study in 2017 by the defence committees of the Senate and the House of Commons led to both committees concluding that a second interim support ship was indeed necessary for the navy to meet its operational requirements in light of the postponed introduction of the Protecteur-class ships, the Davie statement adds.
Davie has called on the government to request a 30-day independent third-party analysis to more accurately determine Asterix’s utilisation rate as well as when the newer support ships will achieve full operational capability.