Tribunal orders feds to postpone contract in $60B warship project

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OTTAWA — Canada’s International Trade Tribunal is telling the federal government not to award its contract to design new warships for the navy.

The federal government announced last month that U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin beat out two rivals in the competition to design replacements for the navy’s frigates and destroyers.

Lockheed is now negotiating a final contract with the government and Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which will build the ships.

But one of the other two bidders, Alion Science and Technology, asked the Canadian International Trade Tribunal to quash the decision, saying Lockheed’s design did not meet the navy’s stated requirements and should have been disqualified.

Late Tuesday, the tribunal officially ordered the government to postpone the award of any contract until the tribunal can determine whether Alion’s complaint is valid.

With a $60-billion total price, the warship project is Canada’s largest-ever military procurement, with new vessels expected to serve as the navy’s backbone for most of the century.

The Canadian Press