ontario news watch

Halifax shipyard cutting steel as navy aims for first new destroyer operating by 2035

HALIFAX — The Irving shipyard in Halifax is cutting steel for Canada’s new destroyers, though the navy says it will be about a decade before the first 8,000-tonne vessel joins military operations.

At an announcement today in Halifax, the 15 warships received their official designation as River class destroyers, named after the warships Canada used during the Second World War.

On Thursday, federal procurement officials said the final, detailed contracts for the first three destroyers haven’t been signed yet with Irving — and won’t be formally awarded until late 2024 or early 2025.

The final design of the ships isn’t complete but early production of steel plates has begun in order to keep the project moving ahead.

Officials predicted that the first ship would be launched by “the early 2030s” but likely wouldn’t be part of Royal Canadian Navy operations until 2035, after testing and trials at sea.

They also said the first nine ships are expected by 2040, with the full fleet to be delivered by 2050.

Government and Royal Canadian Navy officials said Thursday that the costs for the warship program will rise from earlier estimates of roughly $60 billion, but they didn’t confirm a 2022 report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer that the price will be a little more than $80 billion.

Officials said the Halifax shipyard has begun producing what’s referred to as “thin-steel” plates, which will be used in the destroyers. The steel is less thick than the materials in the Arctic patrol vessels under construction at the yard.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2024.

The Canadian Press