Government awards military radar contract to company that failed to complete same project six years earlier

The Liberal government awarded a contract for new military radars to a company that could not complete the same project six years ago, but this time the deal is worth more than three times the original amount.

Thales Canada, which has facilities in Nepean, will receive $ 186 million to supply and maintain tactical radars used for CF-18 fighter operations. Thales was originally selected in 2011 to supply the radars for $ 55 million, but in 2015 that project collapsed and the deal was terminated.

Public Services and Procurement Canada declined to provide details on why the original project had to be closed and how much the failure of the purchase ultimately cost taxpayers.

But this time, Public Services and Procurement Canada awarded Thales an even more lucrative contract. Instead of two radars, it will supply three of these systems under a contract valued at $ 154 million. The company also won a $ 32 million contract to provide radar support over a five-year period.

PSPC’s press release on the deal, which highlights the jobs that will be created by the new contract, does not mention the previous failed project.

The new radars are to be used by the Royal Canadian Air Force to detect, identify and direct fighter interceptors to potential threats in North American aerospace. The equipment can also be used for missions and training abroad.

PSPC spokesman Jeremy Link noted in an email that the radar purchased this time was different from the system Thales offered for its previous contract. “These new radars are a proven system and are already in use worldwide by our allies,” said Link. “As part of the assessment process, Canada successfully conducted a live demonstration of the radars to ensure they met the operational requirements of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Thales, asked to comment on why he believed he would be successful in securing the deal for the second time, noted in an email that he won the deal through a fair competition.

The radars that will be provided by Thales Canada this time will be manufactured by Lockheed Martin. The radars for the first failed project came from Thales and Raytheon.

It’s unclear how much taxpayers had to pay for the project which derailed in 2015, but heavily censored Department of National Defense documents indicate that at least $ 6.5 million was spent before the shutdown. initiative. PSPC had previously told this newspaper that the government and Thales had reached an agreement to terminate the first contract by “mutual consent”.

At the time of the contract’s initial announcement, Thales noted that its award was based on its “40 years of experience in providing world-class sensor systems to the Canadian Forces”.

With the 2021 contract, Thales noted that it has “more than 25 years of successful experience in managing defense programs in the air, naval and land domains, this system will provide the Royal Canadian Air Force with accurate detection against a daily threats while maintaining a high level of mobility.

Two of the radars will replace the existing ones located at 4 Wing Cold Lake in Alberta and 3 Wing Bagotville in Quebec, and the third will be used as needed, based on Canadian military operational needs. The first deliveries of the new radars should begin in 2023, according to the federal government.

The radar project has had a turbulent history. DND initially estimated the systems would cost $ 39 million and would be delivered in 2007, but competition for the project was delayed.

In 2011, Thales won the $ 55 million contract and was due to deliver the radars in February 2013. But that year, the project costs amounted to $ 78 million, prompting the federal government and Thales to negotiate the end of contract in 2015..

Earlier this year, in a report to Parliament, DND boasted that the procurement of military equipment was not only well managed, but that all programs were on budget and on schedule.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021

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