NSS progress

Joint Support Ships to include Lockheed CMS


Seaspan’s Vancouver Shipyards, the prime contractor for Canada’s Joint Support Ships (JSS), has selected Lockheed Martin Canada’s modern CMS 330 as the Command Management System for the future Protecteur-Class fleet.

Lockheed Martin and Seaspan recently received a “Bravo Zulu” message – naval flagspeak for “well done” – from Navy Captain James Salt, the RCN’s Director of Major Crown Projects since June 2017, during a Seaspan announcement that it has awarded a $118-million contract for the CMS 330 to Lockheed Martin.

6 Feb 2019 (from left) – Mark Lamarre, CEO Seaspan Shipyards; Capt(N) James Salt, Director, Naval Major Crown Projects; and Gary Fudge, Lockheed Martin Canada, deliver remarks at Joint Support Ships announcement event. (Photo: Alex Abdelwahab)

According to Captain Salt, the installation will give the RCN “a customized command suite that will enable our purpose-built military vessels to operate in any theatre, including high-threat environments.” When tasked along with new surface combatant assets (which will eventually replace the frigates), the JSS will be the core of Canada’s naval fleet and would do “so much more” than simply increase the range and endurance of a naval task group, he told reporters on 6 Feb 2019.

“The contribution that Joint Support Ships will make to national and international operations will go well beyond what a typical AOR (auxiliary oiler replenishment) might be expected to accomplish,” he said, referring to the now-retired Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships the JSS will replace.

It is important to have a robust CMS that puts an array of sensors, a tactical datalink and other systems at the crews’ disposal, he noted. “It’s these capabilities that enable, and will enable, the Royal Canadian Navy to support operations at sea in all theatres.”

Salt also pointed out that the CMS aboard the frigates, was designed and developed in collaboration with the RCM and is optimized for Canadian doctrine and operations, but takes the technology a step further by integrating defensive systems into a single operating platform.

The first of the new ships, currently under construction at Seaspan’s yard in North Vancouver, is expected to be completed in mid-2020 but not operational until a year later. The second would be completed a year after that.

Lockheed Martin is among several major Systems Integrators working with Seaspan under the auspices of the government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, having established a relationship on other RCN projects as well as for the Royal New Zealand Navy (upgrading the first of a series of Anzac-Class frigates).

Noting the importance of creating and sustaining highly skilled middle-class Canadian jobs, encouraging export opportunities, and supporting investment in Canada, Mark Lamarre, Seaspan’s chief executive officer, who has worked on projects in the U.S. and Australia, said the partnership with Lockheed Martin “has demonstrated both the economic and strategic importance of building and maintaining a domestic defence industry that compete globally while meeting our military’s needs.”

Tim Page, vice-president of government relations for Seaspan, notes how the company is doing more than simply building ships. “We are rebuilding an entire industry on Canada’s west coast.”

Seaspan operates three yards with a combined workforce greater than 2,300 people across its yards in North Vancouver & Victoria. A company press release states that Seaspan has so far awarded more than $850M in contracts to approximately 540 Canadian companies (nearly $230M of that in contracts awarded to Ontario-based companies).

“Today’s announcement demonstrates that the National Shipbuilding Strategy is contributing to a strong, sustainable marine sector in Canada,” said The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Accessibility, when congratulating both Seaspan and Lockheed Martin Canada. “This contract for a command management system for Canada’s new Joint Support Ship will ensure that the Royal Canadian Navy has the equipment needed to do their important work and will help create good middle class jobs for Canadians.”

The $118M agreement with Lockheed Martin Canada is the largest contract package that Seaspan will award for work on the JSS. Lockheed Martin is one of several major systems integrators that Seaspan is working with in order to meet its commitments under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS).
A key part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, the JSS will be a flexible, multi-role, globally deployable and combat capable military platform able to conduct missions in both open-ocean and littoral environments. They will provide re-supply of fuel, ammunition, spare parts and other supplies between ships at sea and will be capable of transporting cargo, supporting operations ashore, and responding to threats in uncertain security environments.

Lockheed Martin's state-of-the- art Command Management System, the CMS 330, integrates weapons, data, sensors and other equipment into a single operating system. The system provides for total system program performance, complete with a full suite of training systems and logistical support tailored to meet the needs of the women and men of the RCN.

The CMS 330 for the Protecteur-Class support ships will be functionally identical to the CMS aboard the RCN’s existing 12 Halifax-Class frigates in how it integrates signals from radar and other sensors. The only difference, says Scott Newport, manager of production operations at the LM facility, is that while the CMS 330s in the frigates have horizontal screens, the tighter space in the support ships require vertically-stacked screens.

Scott Newport, manager of production operations at the Ottawa facility of Lockheed Martin Canada, shows off a line of CMS consoles. (Photo: Ken Pole)

Lockheed Martin Canada reportedly employs approximately 1,000 employees at major facilities in Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, Calgary, and Victoria, working on a wide range of major programs spanning the aerospace, defence and commercial sectors.

“We are proud to be selected by Seaspan as a supplier for the Joint Support Ships,” said Gary Fudge, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Mission Systems. “This now places our Canadian-developed CMS 330 on five classes of ships across three different navies – six classes when including the future Canadian Surface Combatant for which we are the preferred bidder. This is great momentum and we look forward to expanding our support to the Royal Canadian Navy.”
Lockheed Martin Canada’s CMS 330 performs four key functions:

  • Situational Awareness: Collects information about the surrounding environment through radars and sensors.
  • Intelligence: Converts the data into actionable intelligence.
  • Planning: Presents the information in an intuitive format so the commander and crew can quickly develop a plan.
  • Command and Control: Directs ship systems to engage and respond to incoming threats.

According to Fudge, the CMS 330 features advanced technology that will offer critical commonality for the Royal Canadian Navy’s AOPS, CSC, and JSS missions. “Whether it is enforcing sovereignty in Canada’s waters, operating in an international threat environment, or engaging in humanitarian or disaster relief, CMS 330 will allow crews to counter threats faster and more efficiently, where and when necessary.”

A related press release states that Lockheed Martin Canada will engage key suppliers to deliver an Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system designed to detect electromagnetic signals, a surveillance radar system, an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) system, an Electro Optical Infrared sensor, and a Tactical Data Link. Lockheed Martin will provide the integration for all these systems as well as the design of the consoles and configuration of the Operations Room. These systems will enable these purpose-built military vessels to operate in any theatre, including high threat environments.

With its work under the NSS, Seaspan has developed more than $850M in committed contracts with approximately 540 Canadian companies. By building ships for the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in Canada, Seaspan is helping to re-establish a Canadian marine industry. As the company continues to make progress on its NSS commitments, this supply chain will grow as more Canadian companies realize new opportunities with a revitalized shipbuilding industry. Through its work on the NSS, Seaspan is directly and indirectly helping to employ thousands of Canadians from coast to coast.

In an email to FrontLine, PSPC has confirmed the Government of Canada's recent decision to "re-sequence construction of the Joint Support Ships (JSS) and Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel (OOSV) at Seaspan Shipyards in an effort to build on the good momentum underway with the construction of JSS 1.

This revised sequencing will see Seaspan completing JSS 1 construction for the Navy, followed by the Science Vessel for the Coast Guard, and then JSS 2. This new schedule is intended to allow "uninterrupted transition from early block construction to full production on JSS 1 [and] will optimize [Seaspan]’s workforce and mitigate the risk of potential layoffs."

This timeline is an important change that will allow lessons learned to be identified and incorporated prior to construction of the second JSS.

This decision, says PSPC spokesperson Jean-François Létourneau, "is a prime example of how the NSS allows us to be flexible in meeting Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard requirements, while finding efficiencies at shipyards."