Defence Procurement

  • Streamlined and flexible procurement is necessary for the successful and timely delivery of the modern capabilities required to ensure the Canadian Armed Forces is ready and equipped to conduct operations.
  • Defence procurement is a whole-of-government effort.
  • That is why we are working with our key partners at PSPC, ISED, Defence Construction Canada, and Shared Services Canada to improve the speed at which we deliver capabilities and to consider more innovative approaches to procurement.
  • For example, the PSPC-led Risk-based Approach to Contract Approval for low-risk defence projects has removed several check points throughout the procurement process, improving timeliness for the delivery of projects and capabilities.
  • We have applied this approach to a few procurements, such as the Heavy Weight Torpedo Upgrade, Naval Engineering Test Establishment, and Minor Warships and Auxiliary Vessels.
  • We must also work more collaboratively with our industry partners to ensure alignment and find realistic solutions and deliver on schedule. 
  • Through the Defence Capability Blueprint we’re ensuring transparency of our upcoming procurements to offer industry the opportunity to properly plan and compete for defence procurement opportunities.
  • Further, the Defence Policy Update will seek to build upon ongoing initiatives to enhance and modernize the defence procurement process.

If pressed on staffing shortages of procurement specialists:

  • Project management of complex defence procurement projects, such as fighter aircraft, surface combatants and NORAD modernization, requires skills that are built over many years.
  • National Defence manages hundreds of projects in various phases of the project life cycle and supported by a workforce of close to 1,000 project management personnel working towards delivery.
  • To address increased demands for procurement expertise, the department is closely prioritizing and focusing efforts on the most critical capabilities and procurements, such as ammunition and urgent operational requirements.
  • Growing the project management and procurement workforce continues to be a priority as we move forward on the delivery of critical capabilities to the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • As we take steps to grow and develop our procurement experts, we will ensure we offer a respectful, diverse, inclusive and supportive workplace.

Key Facts

  • The ongoing war in Ukraine has emphasized the need to be innovative in our approach to procurement. Further, interoperability with Five Eyes partners, the United States, as well as our NATO Allies has progressively become a critical enabler to operations.
  • Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+): The Defence Team will continue to build the capacity to conduct, apply and incorporate GBA+ findings into decision-making for equipment acquisition and materiel support activities, specifically when evaluating requests for proposals.
  • Industrial and Technological Benefits: National Defence works closely with ISED to leverage the ITB policy on defence and security procurement to create highly skilled jobs and economic growth across Canada.


Streamlining Defence Procurement (Process Improvements)

  • National Defence is leveraging the PSPC-led Risk-Based Approach to Contract Approval, for eligible, low-risk project, procurements, which has improved the timeliness of low-risk defence procurements.
    • This initiative enables lower complexity projects to progress through the acquisition process with fewer check points, allowing the overall program to progress towards a timely delivery of projects and capabilities.
  • National Defence has implemented a phased roll-out of the new contracting authorities for goods and services, allowing the Department the authority to proceed directly with approximately 80% of contracts.
    • National Defence maintains authorities to $7.5 million for competitive contracts and $375 thousand for non-competitive contracts.
  • The Tailored Project Approval Process was implemented in 2017 to provide a flexible and scalable framework for DND to fully leverage its Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment Level, through improved internal coordination, increased delegation, and strengthened approval processes. Low to Medium Risk Projects that follow the tailored approval process progress on average two to three times quicker.
  • In November 2022, National Defence’s Project Approval Directive was amended regarding the Urgent Operational Requirement process, resulting in significant time savings throughout the Project Phases for those capabilities that are most urgently needed.
  • National Defence works with government and industry partners to optimize defence procurement, including through new initiatives such as Continuous Capability Sustainment (CCS).
    • CCS seeks to identify ongoing investments in technology upgrades over the in-service phase of a capability to ensure CAF equipment remains technologically relevant, fit for purpose, and aligned with the extant high level mandatory requirements.
  • An Infrastructure Renewal initiative will enable a shift from traditional infrastructure management to modern, enterprise-wide practices aimed at financial sustainability and operational resilience throughout asset life cycles.
    • This initiative will prioritize environmental sustainability, supporting the Greening Government Strategy. It will also support Defence’s climate resilience commitments and Indigenous reconciliation initiatives.
  • Through its digital transformation initiative, the department will leverage necessary upgrades to its enterprise resource planning function to transform and modernize business processes, improve operational effectiveness and decision support at all levels. Through the increased use of analytics and a heightened trust in the data within the system, the Department will be able to better harness vital data to inform decision making.

Professionalization of Procurement Staff (Staff Capacity)

  • A number of steps have been taken to strengthen the capacity of the procurement specialist workforce (project managers, procurement officers and cost estimators).
    • The Project Manager Competency Development (PMCD) program provides project managers with development and learning opportunities through a defined framework for accreditation. Within project implementation organizations, project managers are matched with projects of an appropriate level of complexity and risk.
    • The Competency-Based Project Management Organization seeks to enhance project management as an aspect of organizational culture with the following goals:
      • develop an engaged workforce that demonstrates the desired project management competencies;
      • improve workforce planning to ensure the right people are matched with the right projects;
      • provide an inclusive project management environment, and improve overall delivery of projects. 
    • A Centre for Costing in Defence (CCD) was established to generate life cycle cost estimates for each project as it advances through the project life cycle. The cost estimates are based on the best possible information available at the time, and will evolve as more information in known. The cost estimates are provided to project sponsors and decision makers, who use them to set realistic budgets and make informed decisions.
    • An ‘academy’ is being established which will recruit and develop procurement and materiel management specialist throughout their careers. The initial proof of concept of this professionalization and training system is currently under development to address the gap in training to develop advanced proficiency in procurement. The fundamental program (entry level) will begin summer 2023, along with the program development of additional streams for procurement officers and managers.  

Engagement with Defence Industry

  • National Defence is committed to increasing transparency and timeliness of communication with the Canadian defence and security industry, including through mechanism such as:
    • The Defence Industry Advisory Group is an important vehicle used to discuss critical issued that affect the broad segments of the Canadian defence industrial base, such as NORAD modernization and defence supply chain resiliency.
    • Defence officials participate in several major industry events throughout the year, such as CANSEC and the CAF Outlooks, to keep industry informed of defence investment plans and the progress of defence projects, as well as to engage industry on their concerns and challenges.
    • The Defence Capability Blueprint (DCB) provides information about defence procurement and contracting opportunities in an online searchable format. The DCB includes funding ranges and project timelines for 178 major capital equipment, information technology and infrastructure projects, and significant in-service support contracts.
    • The information contained in the DCB is intended to help industry plan and compete for defence procurement opportunities and can be used to make informed research and development at strategic partner decisions based on projected needs of the CAF.  

Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC)

  • National Defence is committed to meeting 21st century security challenges, including by providing our Royal Canadian Navy with next-generation warships.
  • We are working with industry to finalize the selected ship design for the Canadian Surface Combatants, with a view to beginning initial low-rate production in 2024, and full scale production in 2025.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is requesting $1.08 billion to support shipyard infrastructure and help advance infrastructure initiatives to support the project through the definition phase. 
  • The new Surface Combatants will ensure Canada can continue to monitor and defend its waters and make significant contributions to international naval operations.
  • This project will also reinvigorate Canadian shipbuilding by promoting investments in innovation and supplier development, generating at least 31 billion dollars in GDP, and creating and sustaining more than ten thousand jobs over the next 25 years.
  • This includes job training and apprenticeship opportunities for Indigenous Canadians, visible minorities, and underrepresented groups.
  • We will remain transparent as we work with industry to find efficiencies, accelerate project timelines, and update costs as the design progresses.

If pressed on delays and cost increases:

  • While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted project schedules due to temporary shipyard closures and supply chain challenges, we are still making important progress.
  • This involves preparations to begin initial low-rate production in 2024 and the continued purchase of long lead acquisition material.
  • Given the early stages of the process, National Defence continues to focus on finalizing the ship design.
  • Project costs are continually being reviewed. While the project budget has not changed, we are assessing potential cost increases, mainly due to delays in the project schedule and higher than forecasted inflation.

Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Report:

  • The PBO’s report estimates entire life cycle costs for the Canadian Surface Combatants, from the development to the disposal phase.
  • National Defence is in the process of updating life cycle cost estimates for the Surface Combatants in advance of entering the Implementation Phase of the project.
  • This update will be informed through collaboration with allied and industry partners as well as through the work of third parties such as the PBO.

Key Facts

  • Estimated Budget:  $56-60B (Design and Acquisition)
  • Timeline: First delivery in early 2030s
  • PBO 2022 Report Costs:
    • Total Life-Cycle Cost: $306B
      • Development: $4.3B
      • Acquisition: $80.2B
      • Operation & Sustainment: $219.8B
      • Disposal: $1.7B
  • GBA+: CSC ships will include berths, wash places, bathrooms, medical facilities, and off-duty areas that are designed to accommodate all genders and promote privacy.
  • Indigenous Relations: Irving Shipbuilding Inc. is leading initiatives, including job training and apprenticeships for Indigenous Canadians, visible minorities, and underrepresented groups in shipbuilding.


  • The CSC will replace and update the capabilities found in both the retired Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates. This single class of ship will be capable of meeting multiple threats on the open ocean and the coastal environment.
  • The new warships will be able to conduct a broad range of tasks, including:
    • Delivering decisive combat power at sea, either independently or as part of a Canadian or international task group;
    • Conducting counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, interdiction and embargo operations for medium intensity operations; and,
    • Delivering humanitarian aid, search and rescue, and law and sovereignty enforcement for regional engagements.

Project status

  • In February 2019, the Government selected a design for CSC, and announced that Irving Shipbuilding had contracted Lockheed Martin Canada to provide the design and design team.
  • Canada is now working with Irving Shipbuilding, Lockheed Martin Canada, and their subcontractors to evolve the selected ship design and systems integration.

Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) estimates

  • PBO 2022 report: On October 27, 2022, the PBO published a report on the total life cycle cost for the CSC project, projected to be $306B.
  • Total life cycle costs includes costs from the development through to disposal phases of the project. Previous PBO reports focused solely on the cost of the acquisition and development phase.
  • The report estimates the development and acquisition phase to be $84.5 billion (excluding taxes).
  • The estimated increases in cost compared to previous PBO reports is attributed to the increase in consumer price index and updated project production timelines, mitigated by the removal of provincial taxes which had been included in the previous PBO estimate.
  • A costing refresh will be conducted by National Defence before entering the Implementation phase of the project.

Economic benefits:          

  • Construction will occur in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Irving Shipbuilding.
    • More than 10,000 jobs will be created over the 25-year build period.
  • The CSC project will promote growth of key industrial capabilities in Canada by creating investments in innovation, supplier development, and export opportunities with a focus on cyber security and the marine sector.

Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS)

  • National Defence is committed to enhancing Arctic capabilities and supporting Canadian sovereignty in the North.
  • That is why National Defence is procuring six new Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships, designed to operate in previously inaccessible northern waters.
  • In these Main estimates, National Defence is requesting $345.3 million to continue construction of the three remaining ships.
  • Three of the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships are already in the water, and we anticipate the delivery of the remaining three by 2025.
  • We are aware of some in-service technical issues. Addressing these is our priority to ensure our ships are returned to operations and that our personnel in uniform remain safe.
  • Technical issues are not unusual during the introduction period of a new capability.
  • As issues are resolved, the corrections will be taken into account during the production of follow-on vessels.
  • National Defence will continue to advance this project, which supports over 2,000 jobs in the Canadian economy, including in Nova Scotia and within the broader shipbuilding industry.
  • This project is also promoting growth and investment in innovation, supplier development, and export opportunities in Canada’s marine sector.

If pressed on cost increases:

  • Ship production is complex and relies on multiple activities, such as forecasted cost and availability of material and labour.
  • The increased cost is due primarily to accumulated costs of the pandemic, higher than forecasted inflation, longer lead time in procuring parts and challenges associated with ongoing ship production.

If pressed on who will pay for repair costs:

  • A shipbuilder’s Material and Workmanship warranty is in effect for 12 months following a ship’s delivery. To date, the Material and Workmanship warranty has covered $4.73M in repair costs.
  • A technical investigation into the main diesel generators was completed in February 2023. Any proposed design modifications resulting from the investigation will be implemented on ships 1 & 2 and applied to follow-on ships as appropriate.
  • Ships 1 & 2 are now outside their warranty period, and repair work will be undertaken by the in-service support contractor (ISSC).
  • Ship 3 is still under warranty, and repair work will be conducted by the builder.

If pressed on delays for the Nanisivik Naval Facility:

  • Infrastructure work in the Arctic poses many challenges, including a harsh climate and isolated work locations.
  • National Defence is also mindful of the need to respect the environment and local communities. For instance, the Royal Canadian Navy have agreed with the Government of Nunavut to not break ice near the facility in order to protect community access to frozen waters and protect wildlife.
  • The Nanisivik Naval Facility is nearing completion and will operate as a docking and refueling facility to support the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and other government vessels.
  • We are working to find solutions that could allow the Naval Facility to begin operations in 2025.

If pressed on the heating of the Nanisivik Naval Facility’s fuel tanks:

  • This facility is a strategic asset for Canada and will be used not only by Defence, but also by the Coast Guard.
  • Operating in the High Arctic for four to six weeks is a critical milestone towards operating for longer periods.
  • National Defence is working on a longer term plan to lengthen the operating season, once success and capabilities have been established with the current model.

Key Facts

  • Budget: Up to $4.98B
  • Timeline:
    • July 31, 2020: The first AOPS vessel delivered. 
    • 2021: HMCS Harry DeWolf completed a circumnavigation of North America, including a transit of the Northwest Passage.
    • August 15, 2022: Production of the sixth and final ship for the RCN began.
    • September 2, 2022: The third ship, HMCS Max Bernays, accepted.
    • 2025: Delivery target for the final ship.
  • Indigenous Relations: Each ship will be affiliated with an Inuit region to build strong ties with Arctic Indigenous communities as they operate in and around their territories.
  • GBA+: The AOPS were designed to accommodate a mixed-gender crew:
    • Reduced cabin occupancy to facilitate a mix-gendered crew, create privacy, and promote greater comfort;
    • flexible use spaces will accommodate various spiritual practices and promote welfare and team cohesion; and
    • Integrated Wi-Fi will facilitate crew communications with families back home.


Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships

  • Built at Irving Shipbuilding Inc., Halifax.
  • The AOPS will be able to operate in up to one meter of first-year ice, which is the ice condition experienced annually in the various waterways of the Canadian Arctic between June and October. Ice capability provided by the AOPS will provide a greater and longer Canadian Armed Forces presence in the Canadian North.
  • This will allow the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to have unescorted access to areas of the Arctic that were previously inaccessible.
  • These vessels are able to perform a wide variety of tasks, including:
  • Surveillance operations of Canadian waters;
  • Support of sovereignty operations;
  • Support to international operations;
  • Humanitarian assistance, emergency response and disaster relief;
  • Search and Rescue.


  • Ship 1 delivered on: July 31, 2020
  • Ship 2 delivered on: July 15, 2021
  • Ship 3 delivered on: September 2, 2022
  • Ship 4 anticipated delivery: 2023
  • Ship 5 anticipated delivery: 2024
  • Ship 6 anticipated delivery: 2025

Indigenous Relations:

  • Each AOPS will be affiliated with a region of Inuit Nunangat. These affiliations are a long-standing naval tradition and deeply valued by the sailors and the civilian communities.
    • HMCS Harry DeWolf formally affiliated with the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut: May 2019.
    • HMCS Margaret Brooke formally affiliated with the Nunatsiavut region on September 21, 2022 in Hopedale, Labrador.
    • The remaining ships will be affiliated with the following regions in Inuit Nunangat: Kitikmeot; Kivalliq; Nunavik; Inuvialuit.
  • Over the next several years, the six vessels and their crews will build ties with the communities in these regions, founded on mutual respect, during routine operations in Canada’s Northern waters.
  • HMCS Margaret Brooke participated in Op NANOOK TUUGAALIK (Op NA-TU) and NUNAKPUT (Op NA-NU) from August 2, 2022 to September 29, 2022.
    • One of HMCS Margaret Brooke’s central tasks on Op NANOOK was the development of meaningful and longstanding relationships between the ship and its affiliated region.
    • HMCS Margaret Brooke conducted a visit to Hopedale, NL during which they conducted an affiliation ceremony with the Nunatsiavut Government. This ceremony was of great importance as it strengthened the relationships between the community and the ship.

Recent issues and repairs to AOPS

  • A Technical Investigation into issues with the Main Diesel Generator (MDG) on the AOPS was finalized in early February 2023. 
  • Ship’s 1 and 2 (Harry DeWolf and Margaret Brooke) are undergoing repairs to their Main Diesel Generators and Central Fresh Water Cooling System. This work is expected to be completed in May and August of 2023.
  • Work on Ship 4 (William Hall) is nearing completion after inspections were carried in December 2022. Issues identified in-service are being rectified proactively during the construction of new ships, including Ship 4, which is scheduled for delivery later this year.
  • Repair work on Ship 3 (Max Bernays) is being undertaken and is expected to be completed in June 2023 under the builder warranty.

Nanisivik Naval Facility

  • In 2007, the Government announced its plan to convert the deep-water port at Nanisivik to a logistics hub, which will operate as a docking and refueling facility for the Royal Canadian Navy and other government vessels, and serve to enhance the Navy’s presence in the North.
  • The construction of the Nanisivik Naval Facility in Nunavut is nearing completion. The primary role of the facility will be to refuel the Royal Canadian Navy’s Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships during the navigable season, while also continuing to provide the Canadian Coast Guard with refueling support and storage capacity for re-supply missions.
  • The Auditor General’s report on Arctic Waters Surveillance noted that the Nanisivik Naval Facility (NNF) would not be equipped with heated fuel tanks, limiting its period of operation to approximately 4 weeks per year.
  • As an Arctic facility, the operational year is usually from early August to as late as October, depending on ice-coverage and temperatures. As long as the waters are navigable and the facility is accessible, the site will be open to ships. There are a number of factors which contribute to the length of the facilities operating season.
  • For example, the NNF requires fuel to be shipped in at the start of the season and removed at the end of the season. The fuel barge cannot typically access NNF until early August because of ice coverage. Depending on the temperatures in late September, fuel may start to thicken as the fuel tanks and lines are not heated, limiting the Navy’s ability to use the fuel. At that time the fuel must be removed from the tanks.
  • National Defence is working on a longer term plan to lengthen the operating season, once success and capabilities have been established with the current model.

Joint Support Ships (JSS)

* Includes lines on Auxiliary Oil Tanker Replenishment (iAOR)

  • National Defence is committed to procuring two Joint Support Ships that will help defend Canada and contribute to international security by providing crucial at-sea replenishment capabilities.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is requesting $656.2 million to continue construction of Joint Support Ships one and two.
  • These ships will also have military capabilities, providing our sailors the protection they need when deployed in high-threat environments.
  • The Joint Support Ships are critical for the future of the Royal Canadian Navy and will serve to increase the range and endurance of our naval fleets.
  • These ships are a key element of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ability to provide medical and humanitarian assistance in response to crises around the world.
  • The construction of both ships is underway with the delivery of the first ship forecast for 2025.
  • National Defence continues to review timelines as we monitor production efficiency in the shipyard.
  • The procurement of two Joint Support Ships will sustain over 1000 jobs at Seaspan shipyard in British Columbia and a total of 3,900 jobs in the broader marine industry.
  • This project represents a $2.4 billion investment into the Canadian economy.

If pressed on the MV Asterix

  • The MV Asterix is an interim commercial solution while the Joint Support Ships are being built, and mitigates the capability gap.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is requesting $101.2 million for contractual provision of service costs and vessel operating expenses.
  • While the Asterix is fulfilling an immediate need, the ship is not equipped to conduct the full spectrum of military activities required by the Royal Canadian Navy.
  • The period of service of the Asterix was recently extended to January 2025. The contract option periods provide a potential interim capability up to January 2028.

Key Facts

  • Budget: Up to $4.1BFootnote *
  • Timelines:
    • Joint Support Ship 1: Cut steel: 2018; Planned delivery: 2025
    • Joint Support Ship 2: Cut steel: 2022; Planned delivery: 2027
  • GBA+: The JSS were designed specifically to accommodate a mixed-gender crew by including gender-inclusive toilets, chair heights and sightlines, and private showers and changing areas.


  • In June 2020, a $2.4 billion contract (including taxes) was awarded to Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards to progress with full-rate construction.
  • The two new JSS are intended to replace the Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels (iAOR). They will provide at-sea support to naval task groups, limited sealift capabilities and support to operations ashore.
  • The JSS are critical to the future of the RCN, and constitute a vital and strategic national asset. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of a naval task group, permitting it to remain at sea for significant periods of time without returning to port for replenishment.
  • The JSS will provide Canada with a modern, task tailored, globally deployable, naval support capability that can provide support to the ships and aircraft of a naval task group at sea. They will be crewed by CAF personnel.
  • The new JSS will have capabilities such as:
    • Underway support to naval task groups:
      • Re-supply of fuel, ammunition, spare parts and other supplies between ships at sea;
      • Operation and maintenance of helicopters; and
      • Task group medical and dental facilities.
  • Sealift: JSS will be capable of transporting and delivering cargo both in support of task group operations and in support to operations ashore.
  • Support to operations ashore: To meet a range of possibilities in an uncertain future security environment, the JSS will leverage its on-board facilities to support operations ashore, ranging from combat to humanitarian and disaster relief.
  • Support to northern operations: JSS will have an Enhanced Ice capable hull designed to operate in limited Arctic waters and will be able to access the Nanasivik Naval Facility during summer navigation season.

JSS Survival capabilities

  • Equipped with systems to detect and protect against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear threats.
  • Equipped with a full range of features and systems that enhance their survivability and allow them to fully integrate with other warships (e.g., a combat management system, multiple defensive weapons systems, an electronic support measures suite, air search radar and dual shafts for enhanced redundancy).

Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Estimate

  • In November 2020, the PBO released a fiscal analysis of the JSS project in response to a request from the House of Commons Government Operations and Estimates Committee (OGGO).
  • The PBO estimated that the JSS will cost $ 4.1 billion (with taxes) which was in line with National Defence's cost estimate.

Victoria-Class Modernization Project

  • National Defence is committed to ensuring that our submarines can defend North American waters and work with our international partners and allies abroad.
  • Victoria-class submarines are among Canada’s most strategic assets for conducting surveillance of Canadian, international, and near-Arctic waters.
  • Our submarines are a highly effective strategic deterrent that enable Canada to project power and influence globally, alone or in cooperation with allies.
  • That is why we launched the Victoria-Class Modernization Project to update this fleet and ensure it remains operationally relevant in an evolving operating environment.
  • In these Main Estimates National Defence is seeking $3.3 million to enhance our Victoria-class submarines’ capabilities, improve submarine living and deployment conditions, and ensure survivability against future threats.
  • Specifically, this funding will support eight projects that are in the design or implementation phase, including periscope modernization, radar cross section signature reduction, and mess upgrades.
  • The decision to modernize remains the most effective means of ensuring continued submarine operations into the mid-2030s
  • The Victoria-Class Modernization Project will also support jobs across Canadian shipyards and through the supply chain.
  • This will include the supply chains for equipment, providing opportunities for Canadian small and medium-sized businesses.

Key Facts

  • Budget: Up to $1.0B
  • Timelines:
    • First modernization starting date: 2023
    • First delivery: 2026
    • Final Delivery: 2036
  • The Victoria-class Modernization Project involves 17 projects. Eight of these projects are in either the definition or implementation phase.
  • The funding requested in these Estimates will support these eight projects, including:
    • Periscope modernization;
    • Radar cross section signature reduction;
    • Flank array modernization;
    • Galley improvement;
    • Mess deck (accommodation spaces) upgrades;
    • Heads and wash places (bathrooms);
    • Food storage; and
    • Mess upgrades.
  • Economic benefit: This modernization project will benefit Canadian industrial and technological sectors and provide robust economic benefits for Canada.
  • Maintenance and modernization projects will support jobs across Canada both at the shipyards and through the supply chain.


  • Canadian submarines deliver a world-class, force-multiplying deterrent effect as well as an unmatched sovereign defence and security capability.
  • These submarines are capable of covertly monitoring evolving situations at home and abroad.
    • At home, submarines provide critical, sovereign force protection capacity for our sea-based forces when required.
    • Abroad, these submarines can conduct “indications and warnings” and vital joint-targeting information, weapon delivery, or Special Operations Force insertion.
  • Canada purchased four Victoria-class submarines from the British Government in 1998.
  • The first three Victoria-class submarines were accepted into service between 2000 and 2003. The fourth submarine suffered a fire in transit to Canada, which delayed its acceptance into Royal Canadian Navy service until 2015.
  • These submarines are scheduled for end of life in the 2034-2040 timeframe.
  • The decision to modernize remains the most effective means of ensuring continued submarine operations for the Royal Canadian Navy into the 2030s.
  • The Victoria-class Modernization Project will focus primarily on enhancing three distinct capabilities:
    • Habitability – to improve habitability and deployment conditions onboard Victoria-class submarines;
    • Joint Force Capability – position the Victoria-class submarines to contribute meaningfully to joint operations ashore; and,
    • Survivability – to ensure the survivability of the Victoria-class submarines against an evolving complex threat in an ever-changing battle space.

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

  • New equipment will enhance accessibility for crew members, including improvements in both privacy and functionality of:
    • Sleeping areas;
    • Wash places (including gender-neutral washrooms); and
    • Dining/social areas.

Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP)

Defence of Canada Fighter Infrastructure Program (DCFI)

  • On January 9, 2023, the Government announced that it had finalized an agreement with the United States Government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of 88 F-35 fighter aircraft.
  • This represents the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Airforce in more than 30 years.
  • The rigorous and competitive procurement process has ensured that we have selected the right fighter aircraft, at the right price, with the right benefits for Canadians.
  • This project will leverage Canadian capabilities and support the growth of Canada’s aerospace and defence industries.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $19.8 million to commence implementation activities.
  • Additional funding will be requested in the Supplementary Estimates to reflect the recent commitment to purchase an initial tranche of F-35 aircraft.
  • The F-35 will be essential for protecting the safety and security of Canadians and enhancing Arctic sovereignty while allowing Canada to meet its NATO and NORAD obligations.
  • F-35 deliveries will begin in 2026 and support initial training that will be conducted in the United States.
  • To prepare for the arrival of these aircraft in Canada, we have already taken steps for the construction of Fighter Squadron facilities in Bagotville, QC and Cold Lake, AB.
  • Construction of these Fighter Squadron facilities will generate over 900 jobs in the surrounding regions.
  • In addition, Canada’s participation in the multinational Joint Strike Fighter Program has yielded approximately $2.8 billion in contracts for Canadian companies since 1997.
  • We are confident this procurement will deliver the capability needed for the Royal Canadian Air Force, while providing high-value economic benefits for Canada's aerospace and defence sector for decades to come.

Key Facts

  • Project Budget: $19 billion in acquisition funding was established in Strong, Secure, Engaged. This includes the aircraft, associated equipment, sustainment set-up and services, as well as the construction of Fighter Squadron Facilities inCold Lake, AB, and Bagotville, QC.
  • Procurement: Canada has committed to an initial tranche of 16 F-35A aircraft via the Production, Sustainment, and Follow-on Development Memorandum of Understanding (PSFD MOU).
  • Delivery of first aircraft as early as 2026. The project will work with the F-35 Joint Program Office (JPO) through the project implementation phase to acquire additional F-35A fighter aircraft along with the associated equipment and services.
  • Initial Pilot Training: The initial aircraft will be located at the F-35A Pilot Training Center in Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to enable the training of RCAF pilots while DND builds the necessary infrastructure to support aircraft delivery and commence operations in Canada.
  • Fighter Squadron Facilities: To prepare for the arrival of the aircraft, National Defence will continue the infrastructure work that has begun in Cold Lake, AB, and Bagotville, QC, and begin the construction of the Fighter Squadron Facilities at these locations. These facilities will be home to the operational and training squadrons as well as provide space for some maintenance activities.
    • August 2020: 9.2 million design contract awarded for the Fighter Squadron Facility in Cold Lake.
    • September 2020: 12.1 million design contract awarded for the Fighter Squadron Facility in Bagotville.
  • GBA+: A GBA+ analysis was conducted for the FFCP, and the project will continue to assess potential differential impacts based on gender and other identity factors. This includes considering GBA+ impacts on equipment/aircraft design and training, as well as design of facilities in Bagotville & Cold Lake.
  • Economic Benefits: Canada’s participation in the Joint Strike Fighter Program MOU has resulted in $2.8B USD in contracts awarded to Canadian companies.
  • Lockheed Martin and Pratt and Whitney have committed to provide economic benefits equal to contract value over the life of the Joint Strike Fighter Program.
  • Indigenous Relations: The infrastructure design-builders in Bagotville and Cold Lake will prepare benefit plans to support Indigenous procurement objectives.
  • Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) Report: PBO is undertaking an independent life-cycle cost analysis of the announced F-35 procurement and is expected to publish their report in May 2023.


Project Details

  • The Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) will successfully acquire and transition into service 88 advanced fighter aircraft along with the associated equipment, weapons, infrastructure, information technology, and sustainment, including training and software support.
  • The process, led by Public Service and Procurement Canada, is overseen by an independent fairness monitor.

Project Timelines

  • December 2017: The Government of Canada launched an open and transparent competition for the permanent replacement of Canada’s fighter aircraft fleet.
  • July 23, 2019: The Government of Canada released the Request for Proposals to eligible suppliers.
  • July 31, 2020: Bids received from eligible suppliers.
  • December 1, 2021: The Government of Canada announced that following evaluation of the proposals submitted, two bidders remained eligible—SAAB (Sweden) and Lockheed Martin (U.S. Government).
  • March 28, 2022: The Government of Canada announced that it would enter into the finalization phase with the top ranked bidder: the U.S. Government and Lockheed Martin, for F-35 fighter jets.
  • January 9, 2023: Canada announced that it had finalized an agreement with U.S. Government and Lockheed Martin with Pratt & Whitney for the acquisition of 88 F-35 fighter jets for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Economic Benefits

  • Canada has implemented a Value Proposition to motivate generational investments in our aerospace and defence industries over the coming decades, and to drive innovation, exports, and skills development in Canada’s Key Industrial Capabilities including In-Service Support, and Aerospace Systems and Components.
  • To date, Canadian companies have secured approximately USD $2.8B in production contracts. 

Fighter Squadron Facilities (FSF)

  • In anticipation of the arrival of the aircraft, National Defence is preparing for the construction of some of the new fleet’s facilities in Bagotville, QC, and Cold Lake, AB. This will support long-term maintenance and operation of the aircraft.
  • Construction on both facilities is expected to begin in early 2024.

Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA+)

  • New infrastructure for the future fighter capability will be designed to take into account GBA+ considerations, including safety and the equitable fairness of infrastructure such as washrooms, sleeping quarters, and cultural spaces. The following GBA+ considerations are being incorporated into the design of the FSF:
    • A lactation room has been incorporated into the design of the FSF facilities based on DND Policy requirements that a lactation room be made available to CAF personnel;
    • A multi-faith room has been included in the design of the FSF based on the Chaplain Guideline for Canadian Forces Sacred Space;
    • An area for Indigenous Smudging ceremonies has been included in the design of the FSF;
    • The FSF will be accessible for persons with disabilities and to personnel requiring assistance in alignment with Government of Canada requirements for accessibility excluding maintenance and service areas; and
    • Respectful gender inclusive washrooms, showers, and change rooms have been incorporated into the design of the infrastructure based upon consultations with stakeholders.

Indigenous Considerations

  • The requirement for federal departments and agencies to ensure a minimum of 5% of the total value of each department and agencies contracts are awarded to Indigenous businesses does not apply to FFCP procurement. 
  • This commitment came into effect after FFCP’s release of its Request for Proposal, during the Proposal evaluation phase. Also, the FFCP procurement is conducted through Government-to-Government Arrangements (MOU and FMS Cases) and is therefore not subject to the set-aside Program for Indigenous Business.
  • However, FFCP has endeavored to find means to directly and indirectly support the Government of Canada’s Indigenous commitments.
  • Specifically, within the FFCP Infrastructure component, proactive engagements are taking place by the Modified-Design Build (MDB) contractors with identified Indigenous communities with the intent that the Indigenous partnerships formed will contribute to mutually beneficial and sustainable economic benefits to the Indigenous communities in the Bagotville and Cold Lake areas.

Joint Strike Fighter Program (JSF) and Production, Sustainment and Follow-on Development (PSFD) MOU

  • The JSF Program is a U.S.-led multinational cooperative effort to build an advanced combat aircraft equipped to fulfill multiple roles.
  • The objectives of the JSF program include: developing, producing, and sustaining the most advanced, affordable fighter for participants; maximizing commonality to achieve affordability and coalition interoperability; implementing a global sustainment system to deliver continuous cost and performance improvements; and promoting industrial involvement for participants.
  • Canada has been an active participant in the JSF Program since it began in 1997, and in 2006 became a partner in the Production Sustainment and Follow-On Development (PSFD) MOU, which was renewed in 2021.
  • To date, Canada has spent USD $712.5M to participate in the program. The most recent payment was for USD $99.5M, made on 1 May, 2022.
    • The payment in the current fiscal year is expected to be USD $89.3M.
  • As of December 2022, approximately USD $2.8B in contracts had been awarded to Canadian companies for JSF program-related work since program inception in 1997.
  • The annual payments also provided Canada with the option to buy the aircraft at the lowest possible cost and with priority access to the production line. This provides Canada with production and delivery flexibility, even as the number of Foreign Military Sales customers steadily increase.
  • 8 partner countries are part of the JSF PSFD MOU: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, United Kingdom, and the U.S.
  • To date, there are 9 foreign military sales customers: Belgium, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Poland, Singapore, and Switzerland.

Hornet Extension Project (HEP)

  • National Defence is taking concrete steps to ensure that the Royal Canadian Air Force can protect North American airspace and continue to fulfil NORAD and NATO commitments.
  • The Hornet Extension Project will help ensure that Canada’s CF-18 (Hornet) fighter fleet can continue to meet these commitments until 2032, when the replacement fleet is expected to be fully operational.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $371.4 million to continue the implementation of key upgrades. 
  • This spending will be for deliveries of new radars, missiles and other equipment; systems integration and engineering, the production of modified CF-18 fighters for Squadron operations, and to conduct flight testing to confirm the proper functioning of new systems.
  • This project will directly benefit Canadians by providing up to $800 million in investment into the Canadian economy.
  • Firms contracted under the Hornet Extension Project have committed to undertaking business activities equal to the value of their contracts, including investments in cutting edge Research & Development projects, supply chain partnerships, and collaborative skills development.

Key Facts

  • Budget: $1.3B
  • Industrial Technological Benefits: Up to $800M
  • The Project is being delivered in two phases:
    • Phase 1: Focused on addressing evolving civilian air traffic management regulations and meeting Allied military interoperability requirements through enhancements to:
      • Air traffic control and navigation equipment;
      • Cryptographic systems to ensure secure voice radios and satellite communications; and,
      • Targeting pods, helmet night vision equipment, simulators, and aircraft mission computers.
    • Upgrades will be delivered on up to 88 aircraft.
      • This includes up to 13 Australian fighter aircraft.
    • Phase 2: Focused on additional combat capability upgrades, through:
      • New sensors;
      • New weapons; and,
      • Enhanced survivability and improved mission planning and security systems.
    • Upgrades will be implemented on 36 aircraft.

Defence of Canada Fighter Infrastructure (DCFI)

For information on Future Fighter Capability Project

  • The Defence of Canada Fighter Infrastructure Project will ensure the required infrastructure is in place to receive up to 88 F-35 fighter jets acquired under the Future Fighter Capability Project.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $154.7 million to begin construction on Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) bases across Canada, including the squadron facilities in Bagotville, QC, and Cold Lake, AB.
  • The Defence of Canada Fighter Infrastructure project will design and construct new infrastructure, as well as modernize and recapitalize existing infrastructure.
  • This project will also provide upgrades to information management/information technology infrastructure, improvements to power grids, airfield rehabilitation, and professional services, in support of future fighter capability.
  • These upgrades will generate regional employment near several Royal Canadian Air Force Wings and Northern locations, including in professional services to support facility design and a variety of trades to support ongoing construction efforts. 
  • This infrastructure project is an important part of Canada’s NORAD modernization plan and will support both domestic and continental defence by allowing the F-35 to operate across the country, including in the North and Arctic.

Key Facts

  • Over its duration, the Defence of Canada Fighter Infrastructure Project (DCFI) project will deliver 33 elements. Each element is an individual piece of infrastructure or upgrade which is grouped into four main categories:
    • operations;
    • logistics;
    • personnel support infrastructure; and
    • enabling infrastructure work.
  • The DCFI project will upgrade airfields, electrical and IM/IT systems, and build hangarettes, Quick Reaction Alert facilities, maintenance facilities, storage warehouses, accommodations, and training facilities to support operations, personnel, and logistics. 
  • A majority of the infrastructure investments under the DCFI project will occur at the main fighter operating bases in 4 Wing Cold Lake and 3 Wing Bagotville, but investments will also be made to support fighter operations and deployment across Canada, including at the following Wings and northern locations:
    • 19 Wing Comox,
    • 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters Winnipeg,
    • 17 Wing Winnipeg,
    • 8 Wing Trenton,
    • 14 Wing Greenwood,
    • 5 Wing Goose Bay,
    • Forward Operating Location Yellowknife,
    • Forward Operating Location Inuvik, and
    • Forward Operating Location Iqaluit.


Project Background

  • On 9 January 2023, the government of Canada announced that it had finalized an agreement with the United States Government and Lockheed Martin to acquire up to 88 F-35As to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF)’s CF-18s.
  • Concept work for the Future Fighter Capability Project (FFCP) indicated that the current infrastructure layout and design at Canada’s two main airbases, Cold Lake and Bagotville, is outdated and retains design elements from the 1950s. These facilities are no longer fit-for-purpose and require extensive upgrades to accommodate the future fighter aircraft.
  • In response to both new infrastructure requirements for future fighter capability and legacy infrastructure issues, National Defence established the DCFI project as a distinct endeavour from the FFCP acquisition.
  • The DCFI project was announced by the Prime Minister, during a visit by the President of the United States, on 24 March 2023.
  • This new project builds on earlier infrastructure work that began under FFCP, modernizing or recapitalizing existing infrastructure and adding new critical elements.

Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR)

  • National Defence is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the necessary equipment to serve Canadians.
  • This is why we are procuring 16 new Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft (CC-295 Kingfisher) to enable more effective missions in all weather conditions.
  • We have already welcomed 15 of these aircraft and anticipate the initial operational capability of the new fleet in 2025-2026.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $62.8 million to continue with the implementation of this purchase agreement.
  • These funds will be used for the acceptance of the 16th and final aircraft, continued development of training courseware, and for payment of various work deliverables under the contract.
  • This project will generate positive economic dividends for the Canadian economy, including by providing highly skilled jobs across the country.
  • For example, Canadian companies are providing many key components, such as the engine and infrared vision systems, which will be integrated into the manufacturer’s broader supply chain.
  • Airbus (the manufacturer) has also developed a joint-venture with Newfoundland-based PAL Aerospace to provide in-service support for the Kingfisher aircraft in Canada.
  • We will continue to advance this project, despite unforeseen delays, and welcome the many jobs and investments it generates for the Canadian economy.
  • To ensure life-saving search and rescue services continue uninterrupted, existing fleets are being used until the transition to the new aircraft is complete.

If pressed on delivery delays:

  • We are currently working with the manufacturer to ensure the design and development challenges associated with the integration of the new technical capabilities are addressed.
  • We remain confident that Canada will be provided with an advanced search and rescue capability that will support Canadians for years to come.

Key Facts

  • Contract Value: $2.9B and up to $5.4B (including taxes).
  • Economic Benefit: As part of the Request for Proposal, Airbus is required to reinvest 100% of the contract value into the Canadian economy.
  • GBA+: The Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Training Facility in Comox will include:
    • Gender neutral washrooms that accommodate those with disabilities;
    • Nursing rooms;
    • Cultural rooms for prayer; and
    • All equipment has been designed to accommodate all genders.



  • Ground and flight testing is currently being conducted in Spain, the U.S., and Canada. Five aircraft are in Comox, BC, and 10 remain in Seville, Spain, in preservation state.
  • Many certification issues remain to be addressed before the aircraft can become operationalized.
  • Initial operational capability was anticipated for summer 2022; however, this timeline has shifted to 2025-2026. This delay is attributed to several factors related to the progress of the aircraft’s certification, technical considerations, and training maturity.
    • March 2019: The first aircraft rolled off the production line.
    • September 17, 2020: The first delivered aircraft arrived at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia.
    • November 2022: Initial aircrew flight training for the initial operational test and evaluation crews began.
    • December 23, 2022: The fifteenth and latest aircraft was accepted in Spain.
    • May 2023: Initial operational testing and evaluation is scheduled to begin.
  • Initial Operational Capability is currently anticipated in the 2025-2026 time period.

The new aircraft will:

  • Detect, identify, and classify objects and people, in low light and challenging conditions, using state-of-the-art sensors;
  • Communicate better with other search and rescue systems through modern communication, navigation, and data management tools;
  • Conduct searches across the full range of Canada’s search and rescue areas of responsibility; and
  • Be available when needed as a result of robust in-service support, including maintenance, engineering, and training support.

Economic Benefits

  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy applies to the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft Replacement (FWSAR) contract. Bidders were required to partner with a Canadian company to deliver a maintenance and support program that ensured Canadian businesses were involved.
  • Airbus partnered with Newfoundland-based PAL Aerospace, and developed a joint-venture, Airpro SAR Services, that serves as the in-service support Canadian integrator. This approach ensures the majority of the maintenance and support services work is performed in Canada through a network of suppliers under a program managed by Airpro SAR Services.
  • In addition, many of Canada’s leading aerospace and defence companies have been provided opportunities to integrate into the CC295 program for Canada and into Airbus’ broader global supply chain. For example:
    • Pratt & Whitney Canada has provided the engines.
    • L3 Harris (Wescam) the electro optical infrared vision systems.
    • CAE has been subcontracted to deliver the training program and training centre in Comox, British Columbia.
  • This work is providing well-paying jobs for middle class Canadians, growing the economy and supporting a strong Canadian aerospace and defence sector by providing export opportunities for Canadian businesses in global supply chains.

Current Search and Rescue Response Capabilities

  • To ensure ongoing coverage following the retirement of the CC-115 Buffalo, the Canadian Armed Forces will continue to rely on the existing CC-130H Hercules and CC-130J Hercules aircraft until the CC-295 Kingfisher assumes search-and-rescue operations.
  • Trenton Search and Rescue Region (Prairies, Ontario, part of Quebec, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories): FWSAR coverage will continue to be provided by the CC-130H Hercules, until a portion of the responsibility transitions to the CC-130J in May 2023.
  • Halifax Search and Rescue Region (North Atlantic to 30W, part of Quebec, part of Baffin Island and Atlantic Province): FWSAR coverage will continue to be provided by the CC-130H Hercules.
  • Victoria Search and Rescue Region (Eastern Pacific Ocean, British Columbia and Yukon Territory): 435 Squadron from Winnipeg delivers FWSAR coverage using a detachment at 19 Wing Comox. The CC-130H Hercules detachment will remain at 19 Wing Comox until the Kingfisher is able to assume SAR operations. Victoria will also have support from CH-149 Cormorant helicopters based out of 442 Squadron in Comox, B.C. For missions at sea, Victoria may also call upon the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 407 Squadron CP-140 Auroras and U.S. Coast Guard fixed-wing aircraft to support the Cormorants, as required.

Indigenous Relations

  • National Defence is engaged with the K’òmoks First Nation in the construction of the training centre at 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia, on K’òmoks First Nation traditional territory.

CH-146 Griffon Limited Life Extension Project (GLLE)

  • The CH-146 Griffon Helicopter is a proven, durable utility tactical transport helicopter that fills a number of functions including, tactical troop transport, reconnaissance, and search and rescue. 
  • That is why we are extending the life of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s fleet of 85 CH-146 Griffon helicopters into mid-2030s.
  • National Defence is requesting $107 million in these Main Estimates to begin the implementation of life extension upgrades.
  • There are currently three aircraft being upgraded, with up to seven more to be inducted into the project this fiscal year.
  • Initial Operational Capability is planned for 2025, with Full Operational Capability planned for 2028.
  • These upgrades will include replacing a number of the aircraft’s avionics systems, improving the cockpit displays, upgrading the engines, and integrating sensor systems.
  • This project will also improve flight simulation and training devices, and will provide equipment and spare parts.
  • As part of the economic benefit commitments tied to this project, the principal contractor has:
    • launched several research and development initiatives in advanced materials and clean technology;
    • selected two small and medium-sized businesses to conduct many of the upgrades to the CH-146 Griffon; and
    • supported skills development and training activities at an Indigenous post-secondary institution.
  • This funding will ensure that the Griffon helicopters continue to make important contributions to Canadian Armed Forces’ operations.

Key Facts

  • Project budget: $1.18B
  • Design work contract: Bell Textron Canada Limited, based in Mirabel, Québec.
  • Definition phase is now complete; on April 14, 2022, a separate contract was awarded for implementation.
    • Implementation of fleet modifications will be conducted under sub-contracts between Bell Textron and Canadian suppliers.


  • The CH-146 Griffon Helicopter is based on the commercially available Bell 412 helicopter, and was developed with unique specifications for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
  • Canada’s fleet of CH-146 Griffons entered service between 1995 and 1997.
  • The CH-146 can carry up to 15 people (two pilots, a flight engineer, and 12 passengers), has a maximum gross weight of nearly 5,400 kilograms, and can reach speeds up to 260 kilometres per hour.
  • CH-146 Griffons provided close fire support and tactical transport during the CAF’s engagement in Afghanistan, reducing exposure of CAF personnel to ground threats such as ambushes, land mines, and improvised explosive devices.
  • The Griffon Limited Life-Extension (GLLE) project will extend the life of the fleet until at least the mid-2030s, while the project for the acquisition of the next generation of tactical utility helicopters is developed and implemented.
  • The GLLE project will:
    • Replace a number of the aircraft’s avionics systems, including communications radios and cryptographic equipment, cockpit voice and flight recorders, navigation systems, automatic flight control systems, and control display units;
    • Upgrade of the cockpit to a digital configuration;
    • Upgrade engines; and,
    • Integrate sensor systems.

Project Milestones

  • Implementation Contract Awarded on April 14, 2022.
  • Modification of the first developmental aircraft started in Feb 2021.
  • First Flight is estimated to occur in Jan 2024.
  • Start of the modification line is estimated at May 2024.

Strategic Tanker Transport Capability Project (STTC)

  • Strategic airlift is a critical capability for the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct and sustain operations at home and abroad.
  • That is why we are acquiring a new fleet of strategic airlift aircraft, known as the Strategic Tanker Transport Capability, to replace the CC-150 Polaris.
  • As a first step, we awarded a $102 million (USD) contract in June 2022 for the procurement and preparation of two used Airbus A330-200.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $83.3 million for the procurement and operationalization of these two aircraft, as well as continued development of infrastructure to support this operational capability.  
  • These aircraft will augment current capabilities by performing multiple tasks, including in-flight refueling of aircraft and personnel and cargo airlift.
  • We anticipate an additional contract to be awarded in summer 2023 to complete the purchase of up to nine STTC aircraft, with initial operational capability in 2028-29.
  • The Industrial and Technological Benefits policy applies to this project, ensuring the contractor undertakes business activity in Canada equal to the value of the contracts, helping to sustain highly skilled jobs across Canada.
  • The Strategic Tanker Transport acquisition will leverage investments and business activities in support of Canada’s key industrial capabilities, and continued engagement with industry stakeholders will help to identify what opportunities may exist and how they can contribute to this project.

Key Facts

  • Project Budget: Estimated total project cost is $3.1 billion.
  • This includes the procurement and operationalization of up to nine new or used STTC aircraft.
  • Aircraft will conduct multiple tasks, such as:
    • In-flight refueling of other aircraft;
    • Military personnel and cargo airlift;
    • Medical evacuations; and,
    • Strategic transport of Government of Canada officials.
  • Project scope will encompass:
  • In-service support for the new aircraft;
  • Infrastructure to house and maintain the fleet; and,
  • Training and simulation capability to prepare and maintain crew readiness.
  • GBA+: Engagements in the areas of GBA+ and Indigenous considerations have been initiated and are being further developed.
  • Used Airbus A330-200: First aircraft is scheduled to arrive in Canada in early summer 2023 with the second to follow in the fall. 


Project summary:

  • The Government of Canada is acquiring a new fleet of aircraft to replace the CC-150 Polaris, which currently has an estimated life expectancy to 2027. The Strategic Tanker Transport Capability (STTC) fleet will conduct multiple tasks, such as in-flight refueling of other aircraft, military personnel and cargo airlift, medical evacuations, and strategic transport of Government of Canada officials.
  • This new aircraft will improve the flexibility, responsiveness, interoperability with allied nations, communications security, and self-protection of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s current fleet. It will also support the ability of the Canadian Armed Force (CAF) to project and sustain forces across Canada’s vast land mass, including in the North.
  • The project will acquire an in-service support solution for the aircraft, as well as infrastructure to house and maintain the fleet at the main operating base. Additionally, the project will provide a training and simulation capability to prepare and maintain crew readiness.
  • STTC project is preparing a request to seek amended project approval and expenditure authority to increase the scope of the STTC Project to include 9 aircraft (previously 5 or 6) as part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Modernization.


  • April 1, 2021: Following evaluation of responses received to an Invitation to Qualify (ITQ), the Government of Canada published the name of the qualified supplier that demonstrated its ability to meet the requirements listed in the ITQ. The company is Airbus Defence and Space SA.
  • June 13, 2022: The Government of Canada awarded a competitive contract, valued at $102M USD (taxes excluded) to International AirFinance Corporation, for the procurement and preparation of two used Airbus A330-200.
  • October 21, 2022: A second Request for proposal (RFP) for additional used aircraft was released to source list suppliers and initial evaluation of bids received identified three candidate aircraft that will undergo inspection and final evaluation before summer 2023.
  • January 13, 2023: A revised RFP for acquisition of any new aircraft and conversion of used aircraft to their future STTC configuration was released to Airbus Defence and Space. A response is anticipated late April 2023.       

Expected implementation timelines:

  • Implementation Phase: 2023/2024
  • Initial Operational Capability: 2028/2029
  • Final Operational Capability: 2030/2031

Recent Operations involving the CAF’s existing Strategic Transport Capability:

  • Operation VECTOR: The Canadian Armed Forces used strategic airlift to transport, store, and distribute COVID-19 vaccines throughout Canada between December 2020 and June 2021.
  • Operation GLOBE: In May 2021, strategic airlift delivered medical supplies to India.
  • Operation AEGIS: In August 2021, strategic airlift aircraft safely evacuated 3,700 individuals from Afghanistan.
  • Operation REASSURANCE: Strategic Airlift continues to be used for Canada’s contribution to NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe, including resupply of Task Force Riga.
    • Aid to Ukraine: Strategic Airlift continues to be used to transport all lethal and non-lethal aid to Ukraine.

Armoured Combat Support Vehicles (ACSV)

  • In September 2019, the Government awarded a contract to General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada to acquire 360 new armoured combat support vehicles.
  • These vehicles will offer critical combat support in high-threat environments by serving as command posts, ambulances, mobile repair, vehicle recovery, and engineering support.
  • In these Estimates, National Defence is requesting $236 million to support the continuation of this project.
  • These funds will be used to complete production of the Command Post and Troop Cargo variants, finalize design of the last three variants, commence training of an initial cadre of Canadian Armed Forces instructors, and acquire spare parts.
  • This project is helping sustain 1,650 jobs in London, Ontario, and more than 8,500 defence industry jobs in the supply chain across Canada.
  • These vehicles will provide Canadian Armed Forces members with the protection and mobility needed to successfully conduct operations at home and abroad.

Key Facts

  • Budget: $2.5B
  • Delivery: First vehicles produced in December 2020, with deliveries continuing through to 2025. Vehicle deliveries to the Canadian Army will commence in 2023.
    • 39 Troop Carrier Variant vehicles were donated to Ukraine and will be replaced later in the production schedule.
    • The replacement ACSV will be manufactured and delivered to Canada between August 2023 and April 2024. The impact of the donation on the delivery schedule of the project was determined to be acceptable by the Canadian Armed Forces.
  • Armoured Combat Support Vehicles:
    • Will provide a high degree of maneuverability and protection to its crew.
    • Will be based on the existing Light Armoured Vehicle 6.0 platform, which will reduce training and sustainment costs, and maximize the availability of common spare parts.
    • Will be used for domestic and international operations and training.
  • Activities supported by the requested funds:
    • Qualification, production and initial cadre training of the Troop Cargo Vehicle, Ambulance, and Command Post variants.
    • Procurement of the necessary spare parts.
    • Design and qualification of the remaining five variants.
  • Economic Benefits:
    • This project is helping sustain 1,650 jobs in London, Ontario, and more than 8,500 defence industry jobs in the supply chain across Canada.
    • In addition, the agreement with General Dynamics requires that the company reinvest 100% of the value of the contract back into the Canadian economy.

CP-140 Aurora

  • The CP-140 Aurora is Canada’s primary surveillance aircraft.
  • It is used for multiple types of missions over land and water, ranging from long range surveillance and reconnaissance in support of military operations to assisting other government agencies to combat illegal fishing, pollution, and drug trafficking.
  • That is why National Defence is modernizing the Aurora fleet and extending the life of the 14 aircraft to the 2030 timeframe through the Aurora Structural Life Extension Program and Aurora Incremental Modernization Project.
  • In these Main Estimates, National Defence is seeking $23.1 million to continue improving the Aurora Fleet by integrating new mission systems and sensors under the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project.
  • Under the Aurora Structural Life Extension Project, all 14 of the Aurora fleet have had their outer wings and horizontal stabilizers replaced.
  • Full operational capability for the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project is planned for late 2024.
  • In line with our commitment under Strong, Secure, Engaged, the CP-140 Aurora is expected to be replaced in the early 2030s with the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA).
  • In February 2022, the Government issued a Request for Information to potential suppliers for the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA).
  • This aircraft will equip the Canadian Armed Forces with key capabilities, including: long-range manned Command and Control, Communications and Computers; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; and Anti-Submarine Warfare.
  • Taken together, these investments will help ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces maintains a world-class intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capability.

If pressed on decision to request a P-8A offer from the US Government rather than hold a competition that would allow other suppliers to bid:

  • The Government has determined that the P-8A Poseidon is the only currently available aircraft that meets all operational requirements, namely anti-submarine warfare and C4ISR (command, control, communication, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance).
  • The P-8A is a proven capability that is operated by several of Canada’s key allies, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia.
  • Developmental solutions would entail increased cost, schedule and technical risks.  
  • In December 2022, Canada submitted a Letter of Request through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales program outlining Canada’s Multi-Mission Aircraft requirements and requesting an offer.
  • The issuance of a Letter of Request does not commit Canada to purchasing the P-8A.  
  • The final decision will be based on the capability offered, availability, pricing and benefits to Canadian industry.

Key Facts

  • The Aurora Structural Life Extension Project (ASLEP) involved replacing the wings and horizontal stabilizers on the aircraft. The ASLEP was completed in April 2020 at a cost of $418 million.
  • The Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) is integrating new mission systems and sensors onto the aircraft. This project is being executed in a phased approach with four blocks; Blocks I, II and III are complete, and Block IV is in the implementation phase. The AIMP has a project cost of $1.6 billion.
  • The Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) will equip the CAF with a long-range manned Command and Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) aircraft with extended capabilities.
  • This project is still in the Options Analysis phase, and costing information will be released as it becomes available.


  • The modernized CP-140 Aurora Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft is a vital Canadian Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platform given its cutting-edge anti-submarine warfare and long-range surveillance capabilities. This aircraft is used extensively by the CAF, both in the Arctic and abroad, and is planned to be replaced in the early 2030s with the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA).

Life Extension and Upgrade Work

  • National Defence originally intended to modernize ten aircraft however, in October 2013, an additional $548 million was announced to life-extend and modernize four additional Auroras.
  • The 2013 approval also included definition of three new operational capabilities for all fourteen aircraft (referred to as Block IV) including: 1) a state-of-the-art self-protection system; 2) a Link 16 Data-link system (a military tactical data exchange network used by NATO countries); and 3) a High-bandwidth beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications system. Block IV implementation was approved in June 2015, and will ensure the fleet’s operational effectiveness until 2030.
  • Timelines for Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) Block IV:
    • Initial operational capability (IOC) will be achieved incrementally by capability: IOC for the self-protection system is summer 2023, and IOC for the beyond-line-of-sight satellite communications system and Link 16 is the first quarter of 2024.
    • Project IOC has been delayed several times due to the increased complexity of the design, test and evaluation resource limitations and the requirement to coordinate system certifications with United States Government test agencies. 
    • Full operational capability is planned for late 2024;
    • As of April 2023, seven Block IV aircraft are currently in Greenwood, N.S. In addition to operational employment, these aircraft are being used for concept development, training, and ground and flight testing. Three others are undergoing modifications at IMP Aerospace in Halifax.
  • Further updates to the CP-140, to be implemented in the next five years, will include: Multi-Fleet Air Traffic Management Avionics updates; Secure Radio Modernization; and Light-Weight Torpedo Upgrade.
  • These upgrades will keep the CP-140 operationally relevant and effective until CMMA is ready to replace it.
  • The in-service support costs of the CP-140 are increasing, due in part to many worldwide users transitioning away from P-3 variants, which makes supporting a shrinking global fleet less attractive to industry leaving the CP-140 increasingly isolated.

Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA)

  • The aim of the CMMA Project is to deliver an enhanced long-range, long-endurance, multi-mission capability to replace the CP140 fleet. It will be specialized in ASW and ASuW, and optimized for C4ISR.
  • The CMMA project is currently in Option Analysis phase:
    • In February 2022, a Request for Information was released to potential suppliers for the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft, which was used to help inform the project’s next step for options available for the replacement of the CP140 Aurora.
    • Following engagements with industry and Canada’s closest allies, the government has determined that the P-8A Poseidon is the only currently available aircraft that meets all of the CMMA operational requirements, namely anti-submarine warfare and C4ISR.
    • The P-8A is a proven capability that is operated by several of Canada’s defence partners including all of its Five Eyes allies — the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand — as well as Norway and South Korea. Germany has also recently purchased this platform. 
    • To explore this option in more detail, Canada submitted a Letter of Request through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales program outlining Canada’s requirements and requesting an offer.

CH-149 Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade (CMLU)

  • We are proud of the highly trained search and rescue (SAR) specialists who put their lives in danger to rescue Canadians in remote areas all year long.
  • This is why, National Defence is committed to providing them with a reliable Search and Rescue platform.
  • In December 2022, two contracts, valued up to $1.24 billion, were awarded to upgrade the CH-149 Cormorant fleet and to provide a domestic flight training simulator.
  • The delivery of a domestic training flight simulator will enable RCAF members to train in Canada, rather than travel to the United Kingdom to train on simulators that may not be consistent with Canadian aircraft.
  • The Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade project will upgrade our current fleet to the most advanced version of the helicopter, acquire additional airframes/parts to increase our fleet size from 13 to 16 aircraft and extend the life of the fleet to at least 2042.
  • This will ensure that we can continue to perform SAR operations from Comox, Gander and Greenwood and add to the SAR capacity from Trenton.
  • Canadian companies will conduct a significant portion of the helicopter upgrades, including a made-in-Canada electro-optical/infrared sensor (L3Harris WESCAM).
  • On April 27, 2023, National Defence announced that the contract to upgrade the 13 existing Cormorants had been awarded to IMP Aerospace in Halifax, NS.
  • Several skills development and training activities have also been identified, including the development of a research chair for hydroelectric innovation and support for the development of a technical manufacturing training program.
  • Ultimately, this project will allow search and rescue services provided by the Royal Canadian Air Force to continue without disruption.

Key Facts

  • The production of the upgraded CH-149 is expected to commence in May 2024, with the first helicopter arriving in Canada on May 2026. Full operational capability will be achieved by 2030.
  • National Defence has 13 CH-149 Cormorants. The CH-149 Cormorants are dedicated to aeronautical, maritime and humanitarian search and rescue operations.
    • The Cormorant can carry up to 12 stretchers or a load of 5,000 kilograms.
    • The aircraft has helped locate and rescue: mountain climbers, lost hikers, ship crews and mariners, missing or crashed aircraft, evacuating Canadians trapped by mudslides in British Columbia and most recently participated in the long search for downed aircraft in Northern Ontario.
    • The Cormorant executes an average of 260 search and rescue sorties per year.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces have approximately 140 search and rescue technicians.
    • Search and rescue technicians are:
      • Experts in land and sea survival; and
      • Specialized in rescue techniques, including Arctic rescue, parachuting, diving, mountain climbing and helicopter rescue.


Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade Project

  • In May 2018, the Government of Canada published a notice on buy and sell that announced the project to upgrade and enhance the capabilities of the Royal Canadian Armed Forces’ fleet of CH-149 Cormorant helicopters.
  • Following the announcement, the Government of Canada worked with the aircraft’s original manufacturer, Leonardo, to identify how these upgrades could be made. 
  • After a year of consultations and negotiations, none of the proposals from Leonardo delivered all of the required capabilities while respecting the project’s overall budget.
  • Following an additional analysis of options, negotiations were restarted in December 2021 to attempt to reach an affordable solution.

Cormorant Mid-Life Upgrade and Simulator Solution Contracts

  • Two contracts with a total value of up to $1.24 billion were awarded to CAE Inc, and to Leonardo U.K.
  • These contracts were awarded for:
    • The upgrade of the CH-149 Cormorant fleet, as well as increasing the size of the fleet from 13 to 16 aircraft (valued at $1.168 billion).
    • The delivery of a domestic training flight simulator that will enable RCAF members to train in Canada, rather than travel to the United Kingdom to train on simulators that may not be consistent with Canadian aircraft (valued at $78 million).

Economic Benefits

  • Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has indicated that the principal contractors have made significant economic commitments for the Canadian aerospace and Defence industry.
  • Canadian companies will conduct a significant portion of the helicopter upgrades (IMP Aerospace), including a made-in-Canada electro-optical/infrared sensor (L3Harris WESCAM).
  • Several skills development and training activities have also been identified, including the development of a research chair for hydroelectric innovation and support for the development of a technical manufacturing training program.

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