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Federal government awards Irving company large support contract for Halifax-class frigates

A worker welds steel into place while working on what will be the polar vessel Max Bernays, in the Assembly Hall at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax earlier this month.
A worker welds steel into place while working on what will be the polar vessel Max Bernays, in the Assembly Hall at the Irving Shipyard in Halifax in late 2019. - Tim Krochak

A company owned by Irving has been awarded a support contract for Canada’s fleet of modernized frigates that could be worth more than $550 million over 22 years.

According to a news release from the Department of National Defence, Fleetway Inc., a Halifax-based engineering consulting firm that is a member of the J.D. Irving Ltd. Group of Cos., has been chosen to continue to provide technical data management and systems engineering support services for the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet of Halifax-class ships.

The department says the contract will secure an expert team to “store and manage thousands of critical ship documents, in addition to producing complex designs to support the installation of new equipment on board the ships.”

The new in-service support contract will replace the services provided by Fleetway Inc. through an existing contract set to expire in October — the department says the new contract was awarded through an open, fair and transparent procurement process.

The first portion of the contract, valued at $72.6 million, is for the first six years of support, with options to extend for up to 22 years for a total value of up to $552 million based on the amount of work completed.

Work under the contract began in April, and will continue until the fleet is retired in the early 2040s. The contract is expected to sustain an estimated 140 Canadian jobs.

The contract is part of $7.5 billion earmarked by the federal government for the maintenance and support of the Royal Canadian Navy’s 12 recently modernized Halifax-class frigates to keep them afloat until they are retired in the early 2040s. The fleet Canadian Surface Combatants being constructed by Irving Shipbuilding will replace both the Halifax-class frigates and the retired Iroquois-class destroyers.

Irving Shipbuilding was also responsible for the $4-billion refit of the Halifax-class frigates, and was one of three shipbuilding companies, along with Seaspan and Davie, awarded a $500-million maintenance contract for the ships last summer.

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