Canadian surface combatant

Project summary

Canada’s defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged” (SSE), has committed to investing in 15 Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ships. These ships will be Canada’s major surface component of maritime combat power. With its effective warfare capability and versatility, it can be deployed rapidly anywhere in the world, either independently or as part of a Canadian or international coalition. The CSC will be able to deploy for many months with a limited logistic footprint.

The CSC will be able to conduct a broad range of tasks, including:

The acquisition is for 15 ships to replace both the retired Iroquois-class Destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates, with an estimated cost of $56-60 billion. Further costs for personnel, operations, and maintenance for the life cycle of the CSC ships are greatly influenced by the ship design and will therefore only be available later in the process. This project cost also includes necessary ammunition, training, support, and infrastructure. The construction of the first CSC vessel is expected to begin in 2023/2024.

As of February 2021, five contracts have been awarded for a total of $738,715,681 to support the options analysis and design phases. These contracts span several years, and as of September 2020, we have spent approximately $510,170,000 of this value.

The CSC project is part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The CSC project is the largest and most complex shipbuilding initiative in Canada since World War II. This project will also help revitalize the Canadian shipbuilding industry, sustaining and creating thousands of high-skill jobs and enabling our ability to support the ships domestically when in service.

Project phases*

Currently in Phase 3: Definition

1. Identification

1. Identification

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
2. Options analysis

2. Options analysis

  • Completed through the National Shipbuilding Strategy
3. Definition

3. Definition

  • Project approval for phase 1: June 19, 2012
  • Phase 1 revised: December 11, 2014
  • Request for proposals launch: October 27, 2016
  • Project approval for phase 2A – Initial Design Review: June 8, 2017
  • Request for proposal close: November 30, 2017
  • Selection of the warship design and design team and contract award: February 7, 2019
  • Revised project approval for design and production engineering: May 30, 2019
4. Implementation

4. Implementation

  • Implementation project approval: 2022/2023
  • Construction contract award: 2022/2023
  • First delivery: Early 2030s
5. Close-out

5. Close-out

  • Late 2040s

* We are working closely with our industry partners to find efficiencies and accelerate estimated design and build schedule timelines.

Learn more about the Defence procurement process.

Additional information

Project updates

Project updates

November 2019
The requirements reconciliation phase of design work was substantially completed, and preliminary design work began.

February 8, 2019
The Government of Canada confirmed that the bid from Lockheed Martin Canada has been selected for the design and design team for the Canadian Surface Combatants. Irving Shipbuilding Inc., the project’s prime contractor, awarded a sub-contract to Lockheed Martin Canada for work to finalize the design. The winning bid is based on the BAE Systems Type 26 Global Combat Ship.

October 19, 2018
The Government of Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. have identified Lockheed Martin Canada, Inc. as the preferred bidder to provide the design and design team for the Royal Canadian Navy’s future Canadian Surface Combatants.

December 4, 2017
The bid evaluation process commenced.

November 30, 2017
The Definition Subcontract Request for Proposal (RFP) closes, beginning the evaluation process that will select an existing warship design for the new surface combatants. The design will be revised and evolved to meet RCN’s requirements and will incorporate Canadian systems and equipment.

November 10, 2017
An additional extension was announced stating the RFP will close on November 30, 2017.

September 20, 2017

Eligible bidders were informed the RFP will close on November 17, 2017.

September 1, 2017
Re-baseline dates were approved at the Executive Government Committee.

June 19, 2017
The Government of Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. began a voluntary compliance review of the draft bids submitted by the bidders, in accordance with the CSC Definition Subcontract RFP.

June 7, 2017
Canada’s new Defence Policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, was released, citing the procurement of 15 Canadian Surface Combatants with an updated overall project budget.

June 5, 2017
A second extension was granted, and the deadline for bid submissions was communicated to be “no sooner than mid-August 2017”.

March 17, 2017
Re-baseline dates were approved at the CSC Senior Review Board.

February 16, 2017
At the request of the 12 eligible bidders, the Government and Irving Shipbuilding extended the bid submission deadline by eight weeks, and the RFP was to close on June 22, 2017.

October 27, 2016
The final documents for the Definition Subcontract RFP were issued by Irving Shipbuilding to select the CSC Design Subcontractor. A robust question-and-answer process followed the RFP release and is ongoing.

August 30, 2016
The re-qualification period closed and yielded the same list of pre-qualified companies.

June 13, 2016
The Government announced a refined procurement approach to simplify the procurement process, reduce design risks and potentially allow construction to begin sooner. This new approach maintains all of the project objectives and continues to leverage meaningful economic opportunities for the Canadian marine sector.

Between May and the end of August 2016
The Government held four separate industry engagement sessions with pre-qualified bidders to solicit industry feedback on the CSC in the following areas:

  • The draft high-level systems requirements for the CSC.
  • The Definition Subcontract Request for Proposal (RFP) and Value Proposition. Discussions revolved around industry’s plan to undertake work and invest in Canada that will need to be evaluated as part of their bid proposals. Price and technical considerations were also discussed.
  • The Combat Management Systems Software Support Contract (CMS SSC) and its inclusion of this item into the Definition Subcontract RFP were discussed. Industry feedback was sought on this topic because the selected supplier of the combat systems will also be required to provide CMS software support services to Canada.

April 1, 2016
The Government released a Request for Information to collect industry advice on how to best support opportunities for Canadian equipment manufacturers and suppliers over the life of the project.

January 2016
The first phase of an Initial Reconciliation of Requirements, a cost to capabilities trade-offs assessment to find the right balance for the Navy, was completed. It is a key example of how the Government is working with industry to balance the costs to capabilities trade-offs for the CSC. Such trade-offs will continue as the design process is implemented.

The Independent Review Panel for Defence Acquisitions was briefed.

June 2015
The Assistant Deputy Minister (Review Services) completed an internal audit of the Canadian Surface Combatant project to assess the adequacy of the governance processes and management.

Between February 23 and 26, 2016
The Government held four industry engagement days to brief industry on the potential refinement of the procurement approach and to solicit industry feedback.

November 18, 2015
The list of companies selected under the pre-qualification process for the Canadian Surface Combatant was released.

Summer and fall of 2015
The Government took the opportunity to further assess a potentially more streamlined procurement approach for the CSC warships.

May 2015
The Government announced the selected procurement strategy to build the CSC. The approved procurement strategy consisted of a competitive sourcing approach that would have led to the selection of a single Combat System Integrator and a single Warship Designer who would have subsequently worked with Irving Shipbuilding and the Government to design, develop, integrate and deliver the combatant ships.

January 2015
Industry was informed that Irving Shipbuilding Inc. would be the prime contractor for both the project definition and implementation phases.

From 2013 to 2016
A series of industry engagements were held to solicit industry input on Canada’s proposed requirements and procurement strategy.

February 2012
The Government reached agreements with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. This charted the course for construction of Canada’s combat and non-combat surface fleets under the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The strategic sourcing arrangements, called umbrella agreements, between the Government and each of the selected shipyards have been signed. Individual ship construction contracts will now be negotiated with the respective shipyards.

October 19, 2011
As part of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the combat vessel work package includes the Canadian Surface Combatant ships.



Benefiting Canadian Industry

Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy

From 2013 to 2016, a series of industry engagements were held covering a wide range of topics from soliciting industry input on Canada’s proposed requirements and procurement strategy to presenting the overall economic leveraging strategy. The pre-qualified bidders were briefed on the technical requirements and the Request for Proposals document.

In 2017, Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. responded to approximately 750 enquiries related to the Request for Proposal. Request for Proposal closed on 30 November, 2017.

The design process will see continued engagement between Canada and the contracted industry partners through the structure of the Integrated Product Teams (IPT).

The Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy is being applied to this procurement. Irving Shipyard Inc. and the subcontractor (Lockheed Martin Canada – LMC) are required to provide benefits to Canada equal to the value of their scope of work for the definition contract.

LMC has Value Proposition commitments to support Canadian design, engineering and integration work; to provide opportunities for Canadian systems and equipment to be included in the CSC design, and promote investments in priority areas.

Canada is seeking significant economic benefit commitments from contractors that receive CSC-related funds through the United States Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

In addition, the National Shipbuilding Strategy Value Proposition which is 0.5 % of the value of the contract, will be applied.

Significant engagement with the applicable governance committees has started and continues to occur. Every effort is being applied to reduce schedule risk going forward, without sacrificing the integrity of the design process.


Some of the links below lead to websites that are not part of the Government of Canada and may be available in English only.

Recognizing the complexity of the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project, the Government is taking a measured approach to project definition by extensively consulting with industry to determine the optimal ship design, costs, and timelines and to set the course for the subsequent phases of the project.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. has been selected as the prime contractor for both the project definition and implementation phases for the CSC. As the prime contractor, Irving Shipbuilding Inc. issued a definition sub-contract to LMC for the design of the CSC.

A virtual CSC Industry Day was held by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. on April 21, 2021. Over 450 suppliers from across Canada registered for the event, with over 350 Canadian suppliers directly engaged.

Technical information

Technical information

The design process will see continued engagement between Canada and the contracted industry partners through the structure of the Integrated Product Teams (IPT).

Through the design-then-build approach, the ship design will be reviewed, refined and matured to get all of the production details right before construction starts. This will also minimize technical risks during the construction phase, and limit cost increases as a result of production errors.

Project costs

Project costs

The acquisition is for 15 ships to replace Canada’s destroyers and frigates, with an estimated cost of $56-60 billion. A more precise cost will be determined after the CSC Project Definition Phase is complete. The construction of the first CSC vessel is expected to begin in 2023/2024.



Now that both the prime definition contract and subcontract have been awarded, Canada and ISI are working to refine the definition schedule. An update to the schedule risk will follow.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may have an impact on project timelines. These timelines continue to be regularly reviewed, and a full evaluation of potential impacts to project schedules under the NSS will be completed once the situation has stabilized and the full extent of COVID-related impacts are better understood.



To help bring the 15 new surface combatant ships into service and support them throughout their lifecycle, National Defence will be building a land-based testing facility (LBTF) on a portion of DND-owned land at Hartlen Point in Halifax, NS.

This infrastructure is critical in testing the new CSC ships’ combat systems and will ensure the new ships are sea-ready once delivered.

Due to the complex nature of the CSC combat systems, the new ships’ systems must be integrated and commissioned to ensure they function correctly before being installed on the ships. This facility is critical in testing those systems.

The exact location of the LBTF at the Hartlen Point site will not be finalized until the initial consultant work is completed in 2022 and we begin the design phase of the project.

Quick Facts

  • We expect this facility will be approximately 9000-m2 across several floors, and will accommodate 120 full-time staff, including members of the Royal Canadian Navy, DND employees, and contractors.
  • Additional infrastructure will be required at CFB Halifax and CFB Esquimalt to support the CSC project; further details will be confirmed as the project progresses.
  • The LBTF construction will follow DND’s Green Building Directive which targets net-zero carbon emissions.
  • More than 10,000 Canadian jobs are estimated to be created or maintained throughout the 25-year construction period of the CSC ships, and we expect the LBTF project to sustain almost 350 jobs in the Halifax region during construction.


  • On September 30, 2021, we awarded a $485,000 contract to PCL Construction of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, to begin consultant and design work on the future LBTF.
  • Work with the contractor to determine the building’s specifications will commence in 2022, and the design phase will run until 2023 when construction is expected to begin.

Community Engagement

On March 3rd, 2022, at 6 pm AST, the Department of National Defence (DND) will host a public engagement session with the Eastern Passage community and surrounding areas about the construction of the Canadian Surface Combatant LBTF at Hartlen Point. DND experts will be on-hand to discuss the status of the project and answer your questions.

For more information please visit Public engagement session: Land-Based Testing Facility (LBTF) at Hartlen Point, Nova Scotia.

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