After numerous restarts, the addition of a foreign advisor to the government team, and an eventual Request for Proposals that saw a majority of the previously pre-qualified teams opt out, the three remaining teams settled in to sharpen their pencils and produce their best bid.
On 19 October 2018, a few short weeks after the lengthy bids were submitted, the government announced that the team being led by Lockheed Martin Canada had been chosen as the "Preferred Bidder" and would soon proceed to negotiating the final details.
All of the ships will be built at the Irving Shipyards in Halifax.
Celebrations were short-lived, however, as one of the remaining two teams quickly mobilized to challenge the legality of the decision to allow the BAE Type 26 ship to be considered a "proven" design when none have been completely built or tested yet. Presumably their argument surrounds the wording in the Request for Proposal which, although highly calssified, rumour has it, stipulated a proven or mature design.
The team chosen as the "Preferred Bidder" by the builder and government representatives, has proposed a brand new ship design that has been fully built, let alone tested – so it is easy to see why the two other teams (with ships that are in active service around the world) would contest such a choice.
On 26 Nov 2018, in response to a Notice of Complaint and Inquiry, Michel Parent of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal has confirmed the awarding of the contract has been postponed until it determines the validity of the complaint.
On behalf of Canadian International Trade Tribunal [Presiding Member: Jean Bédard], I wish to inform you that the complaint filed by Alion Science and Technology Corporation (Alion) and Alion Science and Technology Canada Corporation (Alion Canada) on November 21, 2018, with respect to a procurement by the Department of Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) through Irving Shipbuilding Inc. (Solicitation No. CSC-001) on behalf of the Department of National Defence for the provision of a design for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) vessel and combat management system software support was accepted for inquiry on November 26, 2018, in accordance with subsection 30.13(1) of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act (the CITT Act) and subsection 7(1) of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Procurement Inquiry Regulations.
Enclosed is a copy of an order, issued pursuant to subsection 30.13(3) of the CITT Act, to postpone the awarding of any contract in connection with Solicitation No. CSC-001 until the Tribunal determines the validity of the herein complaint.
In responding to the CITT, the government (which allowed 88 amendments to the RFP) will have to prove that the rules weren’t stretched, and the requirements for validating performance and design claims weren't watered down to the point where the Type 26 could qualify. Stay tuned.