Sunday, January 06, 2013

Another MacKay-Fantino Love Child?

They could've stuck with the ships Paul Martin had on the books when he left office, but nooooo.

The ships, three of them, were to replace the navy's 45-year old supply ships only they were to be supply ships and more.    That deal was scrapped by the Tories.

Now we're told to expect an announcement that the navy will get two, possibly three, replacement ships but they won't measure up to what was promised.

What followed, (after Martin's plan was scrapped) according to the series of internal briefings, was a drastic scaling back of the navy’s design concept, overseen by senior civilian defence and political officials.

The $2.6 billion program relaunched in 2010 is expected to deliver two — maybe three — ships.

But with the program delayed until 2018 and accounting for inflation — currently running at seven per cent in the shipbuilding industry — it will likely cost taxpayers more than if the government had stuck with the original plan.

The new proposal will see the joint ships carry fewer helicopters, drastically less cargo, no space for a joint mission headquarters or a full-fledged hospital, as mandated in the original concept.

The Harper government has assigned the task of building the ships to Seaspan Shipyards in Vancouver and is expected to select from two specific designs sometime this year.

Unlike the troubled F-35 fighter proposal where capabilities such as stealth were hardly questioned, the briefings on the joint support ships suggest civilians played a large role after 2008 deciding what the military could live without in the new vessels.

...The initial concept was for a joint ship that could act as floating supply base for the navy, carrying vast amounts of army equipment to trouble spots, and act as offshore command post and hospital for humanitarian missions. It was well-researched and thought out by the navy.

...The ships, as they are envisioned now, almost entirely give up the sealift role.

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