Feds given green light to award warship contract after tribunal reverses course

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OTTAWA — The federal government can award a contract to design a $60-billion fleet of new warships after a trade tribunal reversed an earlier order not to finish the deal.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal ordered the government last month to postpone awarding the high-stakes design contract until it had a chance to determine whether the deal was kosher.

But the tribunal rescinded its own order Monday after the federal procurement official responsible for the project wrote to say the deal is “urgent” and any delay would be “contrary to the public interest.”

The decision paves the way for the government to sign a deal with U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin, whose warship design beat out two others following a long and arguably controversial competition.

Alion Science and Technology of Virginia has alleged that Lockheed’s design, which is based on a new British frigate called the Type 26, did not meet the government’s requirements.

The tribunal’s initial order not to award a contract to Lockheed came after Alion asked it and the Federal Court to determine whether the Type 26 should have been eliminated from the design competition.

The Canadian Press