The warship that will form the backbone of the country’s future maritime force was originally rejected by Canada’s defence department years ago as not capable of meeting the needs of the navy, according to documents obtained by Postmedia.
The Liberal government announced Friday that it had entered into a contract with Irving Shipbuilding to acquire new warships based on the Type 26 design being built in the United Kingdom.
Procurement minister Carla Qualtrough said at the announcement the Type 26 meets Canada’s requirements and the government feels it is the best design for the navy. Government officials say the design will be modified for Canadian needs and ultimately 15 of the ships will be constructed in the $60-billion Canadian Surface Combatant program.
The embrace of the Type 26 is a change from the Department of National Defence’s earlier examination of the vessels as it was being developed by the United Kingdom’s defence ministry. The DND had its eye on the Type 26 as far back as 2011 but rejected taking part in the program as well as any interest in the design as it did not meet Canadian needs, according to briefings obtained by Postmedia through the Access to Information law.
An examination into the Type 26 by the DND noted that the design could be modified for Canadian needs but concluded the “technical and programme risk would be high.”