NSPS – Combat Systems Integrator
© 2015 FrontLine Defence (Vol 12, No 6)

In FrontLine’s Aug/Sep (2015 #4) edition, we reviewed the status of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project and focused our attention on what we knew at the time to be the eight potential designs for the Government’s consideration. At DEFSEC in early September we discovered that there was a possible ninth design contender. However that potential supplier, American shipbuilder Huntington Ingalls Industries, has since fallen by the way side, as have several other companies that had indicated interest as potential Warship Designers (WD) or Combat Systems Integrators (CSI).

Photo of HMCS Winnipeg by LS Peter Frew, Formation Imaging Services Halifax

Definitions (for reference)
Developed by the Government of Canada

Warship Designer means an entity that owns the intellectual property (IP) and will license it to Canada and to Canada’s prime contractor for CSC, or which has the rights to license to Canada and to Canada’s prime contractor for CSC, the intellectual property rights to a Design Reference Point (DRP) which may be incorporated into the CSC design. Warship Designers will also need the specific capabilities, competencies and capacities (which will be defined in the eventual bid solicitation for CSC) necessary to deliver warship design services to:

  1. work with the other firms in Canada’s design team to reconcile CSC specific requirements with budget;
  2. evolve the DRP design in accordance with the reconciled CSC specific requirements resulting in an affordable Concept Design for both CSC variants; and
  3. work with the other firms in Canada’s design team to mature the Concept Design for both CSC variants to a completed Preliminary Design for both CSC variants. The specific capabilities, competencies and capacities required to deliver these services may be met by an entity comprised of more than one firm.”

Design Reference Point is a warship of at least 90m length overall, which was delivered to and accepted by a NATO member country or Australia or New Zealand government customer no earlier than January 1, 2000.”

Combat Systems Integrator will have the specific capabilities, competencies and capacities (which will be defined in the eventual RFP for CSC) to successfully deliver the Combat System for the Canadian Surface Combatant, including design, integration and implementation services and the competitive procurement of the Combat System – systems, sub-systems, equipment and services.

In this article, we’ll give a brief update on project developments, including election impacts, the Request for Response for Evaluation (RFRE) results, and what’s expected over the next 18 months in terms of project timelines and activities. Then we’ll look at the capabilities of the companies who were successful in getting through the RFRE hoop for the CSI stream; whether the down-select process and overall programmatic approach chosen by Government is achieving success; and the likelihood that the new Government will re-vamp the existing NSPS construct.

Election Impact
At DEFSEC, the last major defence industry event before the October federal election, there was as much discussion about the upcoming election and recent poll results as there was about National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) projects. A week later, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau pronounced that the CSC project was in dire straits and that he would cancel the F-35 project to bolster funding available to the RCN to support its recapitalization. Various other politicians and pundits also waded into the fray, and then, on 19 October, Mr. Trudeau handily won the election. The following day, he made it clear he would pull Canada’s CF-18s out of the fight against Daesh (or, as they prefer to call themselves, the Islamic State).

Given this overt action to change the former Conservative Government’s position, the consensus is he will make good on his promise to kill the F-35 purchase and put more money into NSPS, and in particular the CSC Project.

Most consider this a moot point, because most of the F-35 budget is money that would be spent on operations and maintenance, not capital expenditure. What remains to be seen, is whether the Liberal Government will stay the course on the methodology put in place for the Harper Government’s NSPS program.

The latest nuance to the whole shipbuilding strategy – and the naval capability gaps they are intended to close – was strongly-worded pressure from Irving to halt the awarding of a contract to Chantier Davie for converting a container ship into an urgently needed temporary replacement for the auxiliary oiler replenishment capability. Neither Irving nor Seaspan have the capacity to add this contract to their existing dockets anytime soon, and the optics that Irving’s intervention may have caused the new Liberal Government to put a hold on the Conservative decision to get this option underway raises many questions about the extent of Irving’s influence. Although the “pause” on the “At Sea Support” project (a.k.a. Project Resolve) was short-lived, and the deal now officially approved, the new Government appears to want to “take a look under the hood” when it comes to Canadian shipbuilding recapitalization of the RCN fleet. The question is, will they be tinkering with the carb, or changing the engine? More on that later.

RFRE Process and Next Steps
Over the past few months, the wheels have turned slowly within the CSC Project offices at DND and Public Works (now known as Public Services and Procurement Canada). The first step in Phase I of the RFRE process, to develop a pool of Short Listed Respondents (SLRs) for each of the two streams was impacted by Government’s clamp-down on activities prior to the election. Credible rumours revealed that the down-select process was completed in September (perhaps even earlier).

Oddly enough, in early November, even though PSPC had not yet officially published the list of the SLRs, WD pre-qualified companies received a qualification solicitation from Irving. They were requested to provide to Irving, by 11 January 2016, all details regarding characteristics and performance (even the most sensitive and classified ones) of their design (Design Reference Point) that they would propose as a candidate for the CSC.

As an additional surprise for these SLRs, Irving had clearly indicated that the provided information would be shared with its subcontractors, most of them American. The most astounding of these subcontractors being placed in Irving’s information pipeline for sensitive proprietary information is Gibbs & Cox – a naval engineering firm and a competitor to all of the short listed respondents. Others include AT Kearney Public Service and Defense Services, LLC (a U.S. consulting firm); Fleetway Inc. (part of the Irving Group); and Systems Planning and Analysis Inc. (another U.S. consulting firm).

Some SLRs have expressed concern over the protection of their Intellectual Property Rights. FrontLine asks: Was the government fully aware of this request and its implications? Would the Auditor General not consider it to be a clear conflict of interest?

Finally, on 18 November – just hours before an Industry Engagement on CSC security requirements – a brief statement appeared on the government’s NSPS web page listing the CSI and WD pre-qualifiers. Only two, DCNS and TKMS, have qualified in both streams.

Pre-election Government-Industry engagements and documents indicated Government will require that SLRs demonstrate they have the IP rights to their Design Reference Point (DRP) and can transfer the rights to modify it and resulting CSC designs to Canada. Irving and Canada will then evaluate the technical and obsolescence risks associated with their design.

Now that the RFRE process is complete, the Government is expected to commence a series of technical seminars and/or workshops and provide classified requirements to the SLRs through a “Reading Room” process. These seminars will include draft RFP-focused engagements to discuss content, including the ITB, VP, model subcontracts, DRP, IP, SOW, proposal evaluation and selection criteria.

The draft WD and CSI RFPs should then be released, presumably by Irving, by the end of 2015 or early in 2016. Over the next three months it is expected that Irving (supported by the Government) will examine each qualifier WD’s DRP through a Qualification Solicitation (QS) process to further reduce the WD stream. This is effectively where the rubber hits the road. Qualifiers left standing will then be provided the final RFPs.

The Government currently states on its NSPS website that the prequalification should be complete in the early fall of 2015 and that the CSI and WD winners will be announced in early 2017. Under the current construct, the Government and Irving Shipbuilding, with the chosen CSI and WD, will undertake multiple design spirals to design the ship within the Government’s pre-determined budget, under a design-then-build approach, which was discussed in the first article in this series.

While it is still possible that the final RFP(s) will be released in February/March 2016 with bids due sometime in June/July, there is some doubt as to the validity of this timeline. With the delay resulting from the October federal election, it is expected that Phase I, the award of WD and the CSI contracts, will not be completed until mid-2017 at the earliest. If the Liberal Government decides to conduct a detailed review of NSPS activities, there may be even further delays.

Combat Systems Integration
In our last NSPS article, we spelled out the overarching requirements for the WD and CSI responders – to demonstrate, through project references, the ability to deliver preliminary platform and combat systems designs for a warship over 90 m. Considering that at least 60-70% of the spend for the project will be on combat systems, weapons, radars, sonar, EW equipment and the like, plus a command and control system to tie them all together, the CSI role is the most complex undertaking (and typically has the lead) on a warship build, requiring undeniable experience.

For the CSI stream, RFRE respondents must have designed, integrated and delivered the command and control software, networked processing and display technology, and the Above Water and Under Water Warfare suites including all the combat systems for the WD criteria for a surface combatant of at least 90m. For instance, the WD preliminary design had to include surface to air and surface to surface missiles, and a 57mm or larger gun, all with control systems; a fire control system supporting the various weaponry; long range and/or medium range radar, and interrogation friend-or-foe (IFF) systems to support surveillance and missile/gun, complete with control system; a hull mounted sonar or towed sonar array; torpedoes with handling systems; and a hangar and flight deck for at least one maritime helicopter.

The CSI reference project contract(s) had to demonstrate that the bidder was responsible for leading the work of the design, integration and delivery of the Above Water Warfare Suite and the Under Water Warfare Suite work.

Before getting into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to remind readers that, under the Conservative Government, the process for determining the final CSC requirements includes a reconciliation process to balance requirements and budget. In the current construct, the CSI, again with Irving and the Crown, will then define the combat system suite and the combat management system (CMS). The agreed upon combat systems and sub-systems components, (e.g. radars, sonar suite, etc) will then be provided by various different suppliers.

The chosen CSI will be responsible for designing and delivering a multi-mission combat system and developing the CMS to tie together all the systems and sub-systems components. Additionally, the CSI and combat system equipment suppliers must comply with the Defence Procurement Strategy and more particularly the Government’s Value Proposition and ITB policies, thus ensuring that the most, if not all of the CSI stream work is done in Canada.

Oct 2015 – LS Micky Lane and LS Matt Johnson, Combat Systems Engineering Technicians on board HMCS Winnipeg, conduct maintenance on the ship’s Close-In Weapons System during Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE. (Photo: LS Ogle Henry, HMCS Winnipeg)

As previously reported, several companies were believed to be pursuing both the WD and the CSI streams for CSC. They included: BAE Systems (Type 26 Global Combat Ship), DCNS (FREMM built for the French Navy), and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (F125 design). DCNS and TKMS were successful with their RFRE submissions. They were also good enough to provide details of their CSI Stream proposals, which we will discuss below before moving to the CSI-only bidders.

The contenders are all counting on a fair competition for all CSC contracts, including WD, CSI, and all of the required sub-systems.

Qualified for both WD and CSI requirements

DCNS Société Anonyme (limited company), through its headquarters in Paris, France, responded to the RFRE in association with its Canadian affiliate, Ottawa-based DCNS Technologies Canada Inc. DCNS has been providing the French Navy and allied navies with a variety of warships, surface vessels and submarines since 1630. The company touts itself as one of the very few companies worldwide capable of delivering the whole spectrum of naval requirements, including design and build of platforms, design and integration of platform systems, design and integration of combat systems, supply of naval systems and equipment and trials, in-service support, modernization, etc.

The DCNS FREMM multi-mission frigate project combines the latest technologies developed by DCNS and the design, adapted to Canadian requirements, is the cornerstone of DCNS’ efforts to share its expertise with Canadian partners.

DCNS has significant CSI project references. It has designed and integrated combat systems for complex, high-performance and sophisticated warships in service with the French Navy, including aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines, area air defence destroyers and multi-mission frigates. In fact, DCNS states that the operational feedback it gets from the French Navy (arguably second only to the USN in terms of global reach and capability), greatly contributes to continuous product improvement. The company is proud of its long tradition of technology transfer and emphasized to FrontLine that it can be a key partner for navies to expand their operational capabilities.

The core of the DCNS CMS for the proposed FREMM design is the SETIS integrated combat management system, which integrates, under an open architecture, sensors, weapons and communications systems, to provide a full range of warfare capabilities. The company has demonstrated its expertise in designing and integrating combat systems for non-DCNS platforms, including new builds like the Royal Norwegian Navy Skjold project, and submarine modernization projects.

French FREMM at sea. (Photo © Marine Nationale)

In addition to the FREMM multi-mission frigates, DCNS engineering teams are working on several simultaneous projects, thus keeping their expertise both as CSI and WD at the highest level. These include submarines of all types: ballistic-capable, nuclear-powered (SSBN); nuclear-powered (SSN); and diesel-powered (SSK); the Gowind Class corvettes; a FREMM area air defence variant; and a new 4,000-ton multi-mission frigate.

DCNS is taking this CSC Project very seriously. DCNS Technologies Canada Inc. was created in April 2014 to develop what it describes as “long-term, high-value naval engineering and industrial partnerships in Canada, which will include IP transfer and job growth in Canada, and development of an international supply chain”.

DCNS is clearly proud of its impressive track record in terms of industrial partnership and transfers of technologies that it has demonstrated in its recent international projects including deliveries to Brazil, India, Egypt and Malaysia and others of Gowind Class corvettes. DCNS also notes that its ships are fully interoperable with all NATO and U.S. navies.

Hervé Guillou, DCNS CEO, recently declared: “DCNS is committed to pursue its international development, and Canada represents a strategic country for the Group. Canadian authorities have launched the largest naval defence program ever undertaken in Canada and we are willing to develop long-term partnership with local industries in the Defence sector, but also in Marine Renewable Energies”.

Olivier Casenave-Péré is the president of Ottawa based DCNS Technologies Canada Inc. In terms of benefits to Canada, he recently stated, “As the parameters of the CSI scope of work and responsibilities is not yet defined, it is too soon to put forward a number of employees [in Canada]. However, if selected, DCNS will provide the necessary resources for successful implement this contract.” Further, he is pleased to state that DCNS has established a supplier Portal for subcontractors.

DCNS believes that the FREMM is a fully sea-proven warship capable of responding to any type of mission, and encompassing all warfare domains (AAW, ASW, ASuW, Land Attack, Command Ship). It believes that a CSC based on the FREMM design and adapted to Canadian requirements would be a cost-effective and risk-free solution. In that regard, Casenave-Péré underlined that the company’s strength resides in its expertise as a whole warship integrator (combining design authority on the platform, its platform systems, and the combat system) to ensure operational capabilities of its ships.

ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems
ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH (TKMS) of Germany was also very forthcoming in providing information on its CSI offering for CSC. Its project references were based primarily on its role as F124 prime contractor, where it was responsible for the development of the Combat Management System software and the integration of entirely new and highly complex sensor and weapon system technologies.

Over the last three decades, TKMS has delivered more than 60 frigates and corvettes to various navies around the world. In addition to being a global shipbuilder, TKMS likes to distinguish itself from other shipbuilders and combat system integrators by its agnostic approach regarding the selection of platform and combat systems elements. This neutrality is intended to allow easy access to international suppliers’ products, and seamless integration into the final platform. The company sees itself as one of only a few truly global shipbuilders / designers with proven expertise and capabilities to undertake the implementation of major combat system elements, platform design, procurement of equipment, construction, and the complete system integration of the platform and combat systems.

Modularity is the heart of the TKMS MEKO design concept, and was featured in the design of the F124, as well as the F125 German frigates. According to TKMS, the MEKO design concept is based on the principle that installation and removal of all modular equipment can be implemented without affecting the structural elements or integrity of the vessel. Modular equipment is installed or removed through openings in module-sized spaces throughout the ship. Through a defined connection via bus interface units, modules can be connected to the ship’s network architecture.

In its role as F124 prime contractor, TKMS was responsible for the development of the Combat Management System software and the integration of entirely new and highly complex sensor and weapon system technologies.

The F124 was reportedly completely different from all previous classes in the German Navy, and its main Anti-Air Warfare role required the development of new radar equipment for this purpose. In addition to the new radar configuration, new product innovations included a long-range surveillance radar, which offered significant range improvements and greater precision, and a comprehensive Information Technology suite. The F124 also employed a fully distributed Combat Management System architecture, which provided a high degree of flexibility, scalability and survivability.

Three German F124 Area Air Defence frigates, designed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Photo courtesy of TKMS)

According to TKMS, the integration of highly complex systems and sub-systems on the F124, involving over 800 subcontractors, was successfully achieved within a rigid schedule and budget constraints. All components were delivered on a “just-in-time” basis, requiring strong team cohesion and precise planning of the construction sequence. TKMS advises that they met this ambitious schedule and delivered all vessels either prior to or on the contractual schedule date.

In terms of providing logistics (spare parts) support, training facilities, operator and technician training, discrete logistics support elements and supply chain management for both the platform and the combat systems, TKMS considers itself fully capable. The company sees itself as a fully integrated naval systems house with an international reputation for technical excellence and a track record for superior performance in the naval shipbuilding sector. Further, TKMS is proud of its considerable experience working in a collaborative manner with local shipyards, as designated by national governments, and in utilizing the local industrial base.

Based on previous experience with similar export projects and the current procurement environment in Canada, TKMS intends to undertake a two-step approach for the CSC CSI workload by augmentation of in-house Canadian engineering resources and the involvement of Canadian industrial partners. TKMS has already undertaken steps in both those areas.

CSI-only Contenders
Recently FrontLine did a survey of potential CSIs, and we will now look at the capabilities and credentials of those who responded as stand-alone contenders for the CSI stream, including a dark horse in the race, only identified recently through the results of the RFRE process.

Atlas Elektronik GmbH
A relative newcomer to the Canadian defence scene, Atlas Elektronik Canada is assisting parent company Atlas Elektronik GmbH in its CSC bid for the CSI Stream.

The Atlas expertise in sonar technology and other technological innovation dates back to 1883, and its shipbuilding to 1911. From its headquarters in Bremen, Germany, Atlas Elektronik GmbH bills itself as “a leading naval electronic house” specializing in passive and active sonar systems for ships and submarines, ASW and mine hunting; integrated naval C2 systems; heavyweight torpedoes and anti-torpedo weapons; plus mine disposal vehicles and autonomous underwater vehicles.

ATLAS Elektronik GmbH reportedly has worked successfully with 14 national and international shipyards to deliver NSPS-like contractual agreements involving combat system integration and the delivery of combat systems (from 4 to 12 systems per ship class) since 1989. These projects have varied in scope that includes modernization, conversions and new build programs.

Atlas Elektronik Canada, established as part of the parent company’s three-year plus industry engagement effort for the CSC project, was identified in their RFRE submission as the Canadian affiliate, as governed by terms and conditions for the RFRE. From its comments to FrontLine, Atlas Elektronik has based its submission on the parent company’s contributions to the German F124 Frigate (Area Air Defence/Flagship) and its role as the CSI on the Blohm+Voss Class F125 destroyer-sized stabilization frigate, now under construction for the German Navy.

The German Type 124, known as the Sachsen Class, consists of three frigates built under a trilateral agreement signed by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain for construction in each country. The Atlas effort on the Type 124 included development of Anti-Air Warfare software and integration support for Standard Missile, Harpoon and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The company also provided two Atlas Elektronik 9600-M I/J-band multi-function ARPA radars, the STN Atlas MSP 500 electro-optical fire control system (which provides target acquisition and tracking for the main gun), and the STN Atlas Elektronik DSQS-24B bow sonar. The integration of the ASW suite was also an Atlas achievement in the generation of the overall CMS.

As a result of their CSI work on the Type 124 in 2009, the ARGE F 125 industry consortium awarded Atlas Elektronik GmbH the contract to design, deliver and integrate the Atlas Naval Combat System (ANCS) for the F125 frigate program. The F125 is designed to lead and conduct multi-national operations, perform surface warfare, and defend against asymmetrical – short range indication threats in the littoral environment. The functionality of Naval Gunfire Support and Joint Fires (situational awareness of army and air force operations) protocol capability are also contracted project deliverables.

The F125’s concept of operations includes deployments away from home port for up to a period of two years using crew rotations. Atlas Elektronik GmbH was therefore required to demonstrate high-reliability systems performance and availability.

The Atlas F125 CMS will also include integration with the Atlas Data Link System – ADLiS. This system will permit the use of a variety of data links to share what it sees with NATO and allied forces, including the employment of key NATO standards (Link 11, Link 16, and Link 22). ADLiS was proven during the LINK- 22 NATO Interoperability Experiment in March 2009, involving dispersed military assets of Germany, France and Spain. Observer nations included Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Italy. The ADLiS solution was delivered to the German Navy, on budget, one full year ahead of schedule.

Located in Victoria, British Columbia, Atlas Elektronik Canada currently employs five personnel involved in CSI-related work, with the majority of this team possessing significant operational and engineering experience in the RCN. Rick Gerbrecht is President and CEO of Atlas Elektronik Canada Ltd and was named as the company point of contact in the RFR submission. Gerbrecht is a graduate of RMC and a former MARS officer who served 27 years in the RCN. He envisions that if Atlas Elektronik is selected as the CSI, the Canadian project team will grow to 40 to 50 engineers, technicians and analysts, and commercial and administrative staff.

An early indication of investment in Canada, in mid-2014, Atlas Canada partnered with a Victoria-based Software Company to realize a prototype biometric identification method for potential integration in their family of C2 systems. In addition to this effort, Atlas Canada, more than a year ago, awarded separate contracts to Ultra Electronics and Focal Technologies (MOOG Components Group), both located in Dartmouth, for the production and delivery of high end components for integration into Atlas Elektronik system of systems to support international submarine and surface ship programs.

Atlas Elektronik Canada states that the corporate target is to achieve a plus 50% rating of made in Canada build. This statement was rightly caveated by the comment that the figure is subject to the reality that associated CSI equipment will be procured as recommended by the Prime Contractor and Canada to satisfy stated RCN requirements. Once this selection process has been sanctioned, all effort will be taken to leverage national content according to negotiation with the yet-to-be-identified OEMs.

Having made the cut in the CSI down-select process was not a surprise as the company presents some strong bona fides. According to Gerbrecht, the company has successfully delivered Integrated command and control systems (submarine & surface ship) to 21 navies – plus sonar systems, torpedoes, mine disposal vehicles, VTS/CSS systems, hydrographic systems, and communications systems to navies and port authorities around the world. They are clearly a strong contender for CSI.

Oct 2015 – PO1 Lee Richardson, PO2 Justin Perreault, and LS Ulric Ferguson, Combat Systems Engineering Technicians on board HMCS Winnipeg, conduct maintenance one of the ship’s radar systems during NATO Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE and Op REASSURANCE. (Photo: LS Ogle Henry, HMCS Winnipeg)

Lockheed Martin Canada
To no one’s surprise, Tier 1 supplier Lockheed Martin (LM) Canada has advised FrontLine that it submitted a proposal for the Canadian Surface Combatant RFRE, solely for the CSI stream. LM Canada’s heritage extends back over 30 years to the original Halifax Class ship program in the 1980s. In 2007/8, LM Canada (with a team including Saab Systems, IBM Canada, xwave and CAE Professional Services), competed for and was selected as CSI for the on-going Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) project for the upgrade and life extension when the two other industry teams opted out of the competition.

Under the HCM project, LM Canada is working in partnership with the navy and shipyards on both east and west coasts to replace major sensors, command and control systems; modernize the operations room; and deliver a suite of simulation and other training systems.

LM Canada currently employs over 850 people across Canada, with major offices in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary and Victoria. The LM Canada Mission Systems and Training (MST) business area, responsible for NSPS projects and who are leading the proposal for CSC, represents 650 of those employees in Canada.

LM Canada MST has extensive experience in both Anti-Air Warfare (AAW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). As part of HCM they implemented a fully integrated Above Water Warfare suite including surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, gun, fire control system, 2D Radar, 3D Radar, an IFF system, a Close in Weapons System, a Softkill capability and an Electronic Warfare capability. The HCM under water warfare suite consists of a torpedo system, hull mounted sonar, towed array sonar, sonobuoy system, bathythermograph system and a sophisticated set of tracking and prediction algorithms.

In the Halifax Class, AAW and ASW capabilities are fully integrated through the Command Management System 330, which provides extensive decision aids and automated processing to ensure the operational team achieves success.

LM Canada states that they expect their historical job creation metrics can be used as an indicator of job creation potential when scaled to the size of CSC. On the Canadian Patrol Frigate program, the total job creation, inclusive of their extended Canadian supplier base, was over 124,000 person years. These jobs covered the period from 1983-1997 and represent a combination of direct program jobs, indirect program jobs, and spin-offs.

In their opinion, the experience gained from these programs enabled their Canadian-based CMS solution to be leveraged in winning the highly competitive program to upgrade the New Zealand ANZAC Class frigates. They have also leveraged this solution to support the AOPS project.

As mentioned, hardware and equipment associated with the CSI will be competed after the requirements reconciliation phase. LM Canada has stated that if chosen as CSI they would make selections based on best value – and Canadian content. They indicated that they have been building and developing their supply chain for several years, reaching out to many different Canadian suppliers.

LM Canada also advised that they have established supplier portals for subcontractors, which can be accessed online. Both resources will allow the supplier to register for either LM Canada or Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Rosemary Chapdelaine, Vice President and General Manager for the company’s MST business area supporting NSPS projects, is leading the proposal for CSC. Former RCAF Lieutenant-General Charlie Bouchard is the Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin Canada. Recently LM Canada moved former RCN officer Mr. Glenn Copeland from the Halifax office, where he oversaw naval training systems, into a new Business Development role in Ottawa where he will likely be a key leader on LM Canada’s CSC pursuit plans.

LM Canada believes they have the right mix of capabilities to work closely with the Government and Irving to design and integrate a combat system that will serve the RCN’s future operational requirements. LM Canada is also overseeing the integration of systems on board AOPS. With this, and their HCM experience, they are seen as a strong contender.

Saab Australia
Saab may be the dark horse in the CSI race. In fact, little is known of their RFRE aspirations or CSI submission, which was generated by Saab Australia Pty Ltd, presumably with the help of Saab resources in Canada.

Saab engages in a number of manufacturing sectors. In defence, this includes everything from the Gripen Fighter aircraft, to the Arthur Mobile weapon locating system, to the Sea Giraffe multi-role naval surveillance radar. Headquartered in Alvik, Sweden, Saab operates in about 30 different countries and has 14,700 employees. In Canada, Saab has offices in Burnaby, Ottawa and Halifax.

Saab Australia Pty Ltd develops and markets what they refer to as “intuitive real-time Command and Control, Command Support, Security and Surveillance, and Air Traffic Management systems for defence and security” applications. On the navy front Saab Australia is the Combat Management System (CMS) integrator for Sweden’s new build Visby Class corvette where they provide the Combat system based on their 9LV Combat Management System (CMS) and Fire Control System (FCS); support for combat system integration; and various sensor and effector subsystems and tactical data links.

Saab Australia’s most likely project reference for the CSC CSI is their experience as the CSI for the new build Australian Canberra Class Landing Helicopter Dock ship, where they provide the combat direction system, again based on 9LV CMS, and the Sea Giraffe radar system, with Link 11, Link 16 and Variable Message Format (VMF) Tactical Digital Information Link communications protocols. The 9LV CMS also integrates IFF all modes including 5 and S, and air space management including aircraft tasking, scheduling and precision approach. The Canberra Class CMS also provides for water craft management, landing craft tasking, tactical overlay and control – in effect, integrated multi-station self-defence.

The 9LV CS appears to be a scalable, open architecture CMS which allows customers to select their preferred products to suit their requirements. Its architecture includes advanced IT security solutions and can support streaming large amounts of video and recording large and complex amounts of data. It also handles weapon system safety requirements, and supports the real-time requirements of the fire control chain. Saab reportedly can scale the 9LV CS to meet customer requirements in terms of matching ship size and capabilities from a patrol craft to a frigate or destroyer.

Saab is also the combat system design and integration authority for the ANZAC class frigate and continuing RAN upgrades to the ANZAC CMS, which is based on the 9LV 453 Mk3E. Other Saab upgrades include full integration of ESSM, anti-ship missile defence including integration of an active phased array radar and multi-channel phased array Continuous Wave Illuminator (CWI) and integration/control of Harpoon and the Nulka active missile decoy systems.

With skills and experience in the various disciplines required for the successful delivery of combat systems and a CMS, Saab also has recent Canadian experience, and perhaps another project reference, through their involvement in the Halifax Class Modernization project where it assisted Lockheed Martin with the Command and Control System upgrade, through provision of CMS modules and an advanced 9LV Mk4 FCS for the 57 mm main gun, CEROS 200 directors, and the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile system.

Selex ES
Selex ES S.p.A., through its relationship with DRS Technologies of Kanata, managed to pre-qualify for the CSI stream. Both Selex ES and DRS Technologies are part of Finmeccanica’s Defence Electronics and Security sector.

Finmeccanica ranks among the top 10 global players in the aerospace, defence and security industry, with 2014 revenues of about €14 billion. Italy’s leading manufacturer in the high technology sector, with 273 locations and production facilities in 20 countries, Finmeccanica is a multinational and multicultural group that can boast a significant presence in four domestic markets: Italy, the UK, the U.S. and Poland.

The Selex / DRS proposal would, in all likelihood, be based on the reference of a 2013 contract ($188 million AUD) from the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation. Selex, with support of other Finmeccanica companies and a range of Australian and international companies, will provide an integrated suite of state-of-the-art communications capabilities for the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) eight ANZAC Class frigates. The solution involves enhanced external RF communications and internal tactical communications equipment, the provision of a high-data-rate-line-of-sight bearer capacity and the introduction of a modern communications management system. The first upgraded ship is planned to enter service in 2018.

It should be noted that in October 2014, Selex completed the acquisition of Tactical Technologies Inc. (TTI) of Ottawa. TTI offers worldwide electronic warfare analysis software and services and is well-known for its Tactical Engagement Simulation Software (TESS) family of products that range from off-the-shelf editions to completely bespoke applications.

TESS products create physics-based simulations that assist with the analysis of electronic warfare products, particularly in the field of electronic defence. This local Ottawa connection may be used to support the ITB and Value Added requirements for the Selex CSI bid.

Thales Nederland B.V.
Another multi-national, Thales Group, was also successful with their CSI RFRE submission, relying primarily on their international credentials and project references from Thales Nederland B.V. There is no doubt Thales is definitely positioning to be a major provider of combat systems and CSI capabilities.

Thales has integrated Combat Systems across 27 shipyards on nearly 200 naval platforms, making it one of the leading Naval Combat Systems Integration companies in the world, and Thales Canada has been the largest supplier of naval sensors to the RCN for the past 40 years. Thales is proud of its track record in integrating Above Water and Underwater Warfare suites and its extensive experience integrating communications suites.

Although not explicitly stated, the Thales proposal is believed to be centred on the Thales Combat Management System (TACTICOS), which is considered one of the most capable CMS systems at sea in modern warships. It is reportedly highly adaptable and scalable across all areas of naval warfare.

Thales also has a number of systems in modern frigates, including the APAR radar, SMART-L, communications, and C2 systems in Danish warships.

Thales indicates it has delivered complete CSI services, AAW services, UWW services, plus many other complex system solutions to over 50 navies. Thales has developed what they refer to as an integration “toolbox” that encompasses the complex naval combat systems (by both Thales and other suppliers) that have already been integrated into the TACTICOS CMS worldwide. As Thales sees it, their toolbox will enable Canada to demonstrate value for money and fully support the CSC Most Competitive Process as system integration risk is reduced, which reduces both cost and schedule considerations.

Thales Canada has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Vancouver. As a Tier 1 partner with Seaspan for the delivery of all of Mission Systems solutions for JSS and Coast Guard vessels, Thales already has many Canadians directly employed in providing solutions to the RCN and Canadian Coast Guard. Thales Canada has grown by over 200 this year alone to 1,800 people and expects to continue to grow to deliver programs such as CSC to compliment the already established base in Canada. Thales contends that the CSC program will create a large number of new jobs and its commitment remains maximum investment in Canada to ensure the RCN will receive the CSC solution by Canadians and be fully supported by Canadians in the future.

Thales stressed that they will meet or exceed Canada’s new Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, which includes the Value Proposition Program. They intend to maximize direct Canadian content in all of their equipment and services, and will be endeavouring to spread the benefits of the program across Canada, and down to Small and Medium Enterprises.

Like many of the other potential CSI bidders, Thales is maintaining close contact with all of the potential CSIs and would likely be a supplier to the eventual CSI winner in their strong suit – Naval Combat System products in the areas of Naval Radars and Electro-optical solutions, Naval Underwater systems, Electronic Warfare systems, and Naval Communications.

The Thales Canada website has an NSPS portal that they are using to qualify potential suppliers for all naval programs. President and CEO of Thales Canada, Mark Halinaty, who resides in Toronto, is supported in Ottawa by Jerry McLean, VP and Managing Director Thales Canada Defence and Security. Given that they are also engaged in NSPS activities as the CSI for JSS, Thales gets a strong endorsement as potential CSI for CSC.



Oct 2015 – Leading Seaman Jose Villano, a Combat Systems Engineer Technician, streams out the tow array as HMCS Winnipeg transits through the Eastern Atlantic Ocean during Exercise TRIDENT JUNCTURE as part of Operation REASSURANCE. (Photo: LS Ogle Henry, HMCS WINNIPEG)

Thus far, Government’s RFRE process has reduced the WD and CSI fields to seven each. This is hardly a significant achievement in terms of reducing the field, however the contenders are all strong options. Although there will be a further reduction in the WD stream through the DRP QS process, there will still be a significant number of proposals to evaluate in order to complete Phase I.

On the CSI selection process, LM Canada would appear to have an inside track as the company already works with Irving for HCM, however the government may prefer a company like TKMS or DCNS to assure proven integration by providing combined WD and CSI solutions. Thales and Atlas Elektronik also have demonstrated abilities to put them among the CSI contenders. Although not as well known in Canada, Saab and Selex also have impressive credentials.

The CSC project is referred to by many as “the Crown Jewel” in the NSPS. Certainly it’s the lion’s share of the $39B at stake. The Liberal government has shown early on that it wants to review, and if necessary revamp the previous Government’s initiatives.

In the first week of December, the Navy appeared to take the fall for what has been rumoured for years to be a fully inadequate budget. The warship portion was originally set at $14B. The new estimate is $30B, bringing the cost for the whole NSPS program to more than $42 billion.  

Within 24 hours, the Government followed up with a statement from Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote that her department is hiring an independent “shipbuilding expert” to fill “a gap in expertise in her department, tasked with managing the massive multibillion-dollar ship program.”

As a strategy for job creation and investment in Canada is the NSPS construct a sound plan? What kinds of restrictions, if any, are being placed on Irving for choosing suppliers? The Liberals may be aware that a plethora of Canadian SME naval manufacturing suppliers have been expressing extreme dissatisfaction at being systematically shut out of any attempts to join Irving’s supply chain, and the government’s potential reset may address that issue.

It appears that the Liberal Government is about to go beyond merely hitting the pause button or making a symbolic name change. They want to take a deep look under the hood and, with the services of the soon-to-be-hired “shipbuilding expert”, open up the remaining portion of the NSPS for close examination which, truth be told, a number of contenders, as well as taxpayers, will be pleased about. Two questions come to mind: (a) Will the contracts signed under the previous Government allow for a major overhaul? (b) Where will they find a shipbuilding expert with no skin in the game?

HMCS Winnipeg sails just ahead of HMCS Halifax during NATO Exercise JOINTEX 15. (Photo: LS Peter Frew, Formation Imaging Services Halifax)

Some say this recent event signals rough times ahead and significant delays for delivery of new combatants for Canada’s Navy. Others are convinced that we are paying too much for the entire NSPS (even the most complex warships designed and built in Europe are significantly cheaper), and that timelines can be shortened and IRBs more effectively leveraged if other options are considered.

No matter what the outcome, establishing or furthering relationships with the potential WD and CSI companies will help the smaller Tier2/3 and SME sized companies to position as a supplier – possibly worldwide. With that in mind, in our fourth article in this series, FrontLine will look at the importance of the overall supply chain to the CSC project and how, and to what degree, it can impact the Canadian economy. We will also update on the evolving NSPS situation and profile a number of the suppliers who may figure into the outcome and how they are faring while navigating the shoals of CSC procurement.  

What do you think of this article?
Do you want to read more on this topic in future editions of FrontLine? Let us know. To comment online, visit the “Magazine” menu on our web site to find this article. defence.frontline.online
© FrontLine Defence 2015