Vancouver’s MDA looks set to work on navy’s new warships

Aerospace firm part of consortium just named as preferred bidder for the Royal Canadian Navy's new ships

Vancouver-founded aerospace firm MDA is among the companies that will be putting their expertise to the test as part of the federal government’s plans to replace its aging warships.

Ottawa and Irving Shipbuilding Inc announced October 19 they’ve selected Lockheed Martin Canada Inc. as its preferred bidder for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program.

Lockheed Martin Canada is leading a consortium of companies that feature MDA as well as BAE Systems, CAE, L3 Technologies and Ultra Electronics.

MDA’s role in the consortium is to provide electronics, antennas, radar, software and system engineering for the Royal Canadian Navy’s new ships.

As the preferred bidder, Lockheed Martin Canada will now go through a due diligence process, negotiating intellectual property rights, an assessment of combat systems performance and an assessment of the company’s financial capability to deliver the project.

“Should the preferred bidder not successfully demonstrate to Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. that it meets all of the due diligence requirements, then the next highest ranked compliant bidder will become the preferred bidder,” the government said in a statement.

Ottawa is expected to officially award a contract sometime this winter with plans to begin construction in the early 2020s.

The CSC program is building 15 new ships for the navy to replace the country’s Halifax-class frigates and Iroquois-class destroyers.

The government pegs the CSC program’s costs at $56 billion to $60 billion.

MDA, originally known as MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd., was founded in Vancouver, however, it is now owned by U.S. parent company Maxar Technologies Ltd. (TSX:MAXR).

torton@biv.com

@reporton