quinta-feira, 11 de setembro de 2008

Modernizing Canada’s Halifax Class Frigates

  • Modernizing Canada’s Halifax Class Frigates

    Launched between 1988-1995, and commissioned between 1992-1996, Canada’s 12 City Class (now Halifax Class) frigates currently form the high end of its naval capabilities. The Canadian Navy has declined drastically from its post-WWII status as the world’s 4th largest navy, and the Halifax Class itself is finding that its open-ocean design is not suited to cope with modern littoral threats and improving anti-ship missiles. Replacement vessels are still many years away, which means that the 4,750t frigates will need to be modernized within the limits of their design if they are to remain effective.

    Canada’s government has decided to fund that modernization, much as Australia and New Zealand are modernizing the Halifax Class’ ANZAC Frigate contemporaries. Refits are scheduled to begin with HMCS Halifax in 2010, and that ship is scheduled to re-enter service about 18 months later in 2012. By 2017, all 12 frigates are scheduled to be upgraded as part of a C$ 3.1 billion (about $2.9 billion) program.

    This DID article explains the scope of the upgrades, notes the current systems, and covers the contracts and developments involved…

    Upgrading The Halifax Class

    FFH 330: HMCS Halifax
    (click to view full)

    Upgrades will be conducted through Canada’s FELEX (Frigate Life Extension) program. FELEX will manage all work elements in the modernization progra, to varying degrees, as the project’s overall Design Integration Authority. The FELEX program is responsible for the ship level design integration including any unique/specific engineering changes required. It is also responsible for effective risk mitigation via scope management, design integration engineering, integrated risk management across all elements of the HCM, schedule coordination, and implementation/installation management.

    Some projects will be conducted wholly within FELEX, while others will be stand-alone projects that receive independent funding. Still others will be rolled into the ships’ maintenance efforts. Integral FELEX Projects include:

    • Internal Communications System Upgrade. This is also being done to a number of American ships, who are replacing their copper wiring and installing fiber optics and gigabit ethernet to go with their network and SATCOM hardware upgrades. The ships’ current Communications Control and Monitoring System (CCMS) was supplied by SED Systems of Saskatoon, with a message processing system from Lockheed Martin Electronic Systems Canada.
    • Harpoon Missile System Upgrade. Halifax Class ships currently carry 8 BGM-84 Block IC anti-ship missiles each. Boeing’s Harpoon Block II adds GPS guidance, much better near-shore capability, and land attack options.
    • Electronic Warfare System upgrade – Electronic Support Measures. Currently the SLQ-501 Canews (Canadian Electronic Warfare System), and SLQ-505 radar jammer.

    Semi-independent (sovereignty-association?) projects include:

    • HMCCS – Halifax Modernized Command and Control System. The ships currently use the SHINPADS integrated processing and display system supplied by Lockheed Martin Canada, each using about 15 AN/UYK-501 workstations manufactured by General Dynamics Canada. They will be replaced with Saab’s 9LV system, a popular combat system used around the world in classes ranging from Sweden’s ultra-modern Visby corvettes to Australia’s forthcoming Canberra Class LHD amphibious landing ships.
    • Halifax Class Radar Upgrades. The current set includes 2 Thales Nederland SPG-503 (STIR 1.8) fire control radars, Raytheons SPS-49v5 long-range active air search radar operating at C and D bands, Saab Microwave Systems HC150 Sea Giraffe medium-range air and surface search radar operating at G and H bands.
    • IRIUS – Long-range infrared search and track system. Important for near-shore surveillance, and ships operating under low-emissions restrictions. IRST on ships is specially useful against small surface targets, low flying aircraft, and anti-ship missiles. Its TV images are especially useful for threat classification. DRS Canada and Thales Nederland won with their Sirius system; see April 21/06 entry.
    • ESSM – Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. The frigates currently carry 16 RIM-7 Sea Sparrow missiles, which cannot cope with modern threats. Raytheon’s RIM-162 ESSM is an entirely new missile that has become the new NATO standard, with substantially better maneuverability and capability against low-flying targets.
    • IFF Mode S/5. Identification Friend-or-Foe technology is not foolproof, but if it fails, the results can be tragic. IFF Mode 5 offers new algorithms that improve performance, encryption, range, and civil compatibility. It also adds “lethal interrogation” as a must-respond last chance, and the ability to see individual aircraft even when they’re close together. The further addition of IFF Mode S assigns a discrete ‘squawk’ which is unique to each aircraft.

    Maintenance projects will include:

    • Replacement of the ships’ Integrated Machinery Control System.
    • Unspecified modifications to the Saab Bofors 57mm naval gun. The most modern 57mm guns offer substantially better capabilities against targets like helicopters, small boats and UAVs, and can even be used in a last-ditch defensive role against anti-ship missiles.
    • Replacement of the BAE Systems Shield mk2 missile decoy launchers, which fire chaff to 2km and infrared rockets to 169m in distraction, confusion and centroid seduction modes. In 1997, Canada ordered Nulka hovering decoy systems from BAE Australia, to equip its 4 aged Tribal/Iroquois Class destroyers. Nulka is also used by Australian and US Navy ships.
    • Replacement of the current Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I-band navigation radar.
    • A pair of important projects aren’t conducted by Canada’s Navy, but the Navy will have to make sure they can work with the Halifax Class ships. The new CH-148/H-92 Maritime Helicopter will replace the existing CH-124 Sea King Fleet, and a new Military Satellite Communication System will offer greatly improved bandwidth and performance.

    Respected defense journalist David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen notes that:

    “Most of the industry folks that I have talked to acknowledge that this [18 months per ship, complete by 2017] is a tight and aggressive schedule considering the amount of work that needs to be done.”

    Contracts and Key Events

    HMCS St Johns
    and CH-124 Sea King
    (click to view full)

    Sept 5/08: Lockheed Martin Canada, as the last contractor team standing, wins C$2 billion for the Halifax Class’ Combat Systems Integration (CSI) Design contract and Build and In-Service Support contract.

    The C$ 1.4 billion CSI contract will upgrade the ships’ command and control systems, including the addition of Saab’s 9LV combat system. Team Lockheed will also redesign the operations room, and reconfigure the ship’s mast to accommodate a new radar suite. The actual refit work will take place at Halifax Shipyards and at Victoria Shipyards Company, per the April 21/08 entry.

    The In-Service Support contract is valued at approximately C$ 600 million, and will ensure long-term support of the installed systems. Government of Canada release.

    June 11/08: Defense reporter David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen reports that the General Dynamics team has withdrawn:

    “The buzz in the defence industry that started over the problems on the Halifax-class frigate modernization program has risen to a collective groan about how the defence procurement system has gone off the rails.

    Fingers seem to be pointed in a number of directions; inexperienced DND procurement staff, lack of proper guidance from Public Works and unreasonable expectations for the amount of money on the table, are among the reasons folks are putting forth about the growing problems with military equipment projects… Well, General Dynamics and its partners (General Dynamics was one of two consortiums that were deemed capable of working on this project) decided not to bid on the $1.1 billion program as it was just too risky and “not commercially viable.”

    A consortium led by Lockheed Martin Canada, following the rules set out by the government, dutifully put in their bid last Friday.”

    June 9/08: Deadline for HCM-CSI bid submission. Reports indicate that the team composed of of Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors, Saab Systems, xwave, IBM Canada, L-3 Electronics and CAE Professional Services was the sole bidder.

    April 21/08: The Government of Canada awards 2 contracts for the on-going maintenance and refit work to be performed on its 12 Halifax Class frigates. Each contract is valid for a period of 12 years. If the refit options are exercised, the shipyards will need to complete the refit work of each vessel within a 12-month operational window allotted to that vessel.

    Halifax Shipyards in Nova Scotia receives a C$ 549 million contract to maintain and refit 7 frigates on Canada’s east coast. At its peak, it is expected to maintain and create up to 600 local jobs.

    Victoria Shipyards Company Ltd. in British Columbia receives a C$ 351 million contract to maintain and refit 5 frigates on the west coast. It is expected to create up to 110 local jobs and to help maintain an additional 450 jobs. Government of Canada release.

    April 17/08: Lockheed Martin Canada’s Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) Team uses the CANSEC 2008 show to demonstrate its integrated combat management system, including the proposed “CanACCS-9LV” combat system, advanced consoles, ship integration modeling, and a modernized operations room. Some of the attendees include some of the sailors who will eventually operate the modernized Halifax Class ships.

    While there’s always a long leap between a demonstration and a working system, the intended positioning as a low-risk solution could not be clearer. Lockheed Martin release.

    April 7/08: General Dynamics Canada announces that CMC Electronics Inc., of Montreal, Quebec, has joined their CSI HALIFAX bid team. CMC’s specialty is human factors engineering, and their experience includes includes providing a complete analysis of the operations room and communication requirements of the Halifax Class operations team. CMC has also developed components for the Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarine and is currently investigating crewing effectiveness, joint fires support and collaborative tactical picture compilation for multi-nation task groups.

    March 17/08: With MDA’s team eliminated in the initial down-select, the Vancouver firm joins the General Dynamics team. General Dynamics Canada announces the move; their team now consists of GD/GD-AIS, MDA, Raytheon, and Thales Canada/Nederland.

    MDA makes Canada’s Naval Combat Operator Trainer, which required a certain amount of familiarity with the combat system. Their experience will be used to maintain training-system currency with the new system, and contribute to In-Service Support during the legacy period.

    Feb 11/08: General Dynamics Canada announces that Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems has joined its CSI Halifax Team. Raytheon builds the frigates’ SPS-49 radar, RIM-7 Sea Sparrow air defense missile and its RIM-162 ESSM successor, their Mk 46 torpedoes, and their Phalanx close-in weapons system for last-ditch missile defense and firepower against UAVs and small boats.

    Jan 4/08: David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen offers a full round-up of the 3 teams competing for the HCM program. The 3rd team is led by Canadian Firm MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, in partnership with EADS subsidiary Atlas Elektronik of Germany, who is offering the same ANCS command and control systems recently provided to the German and Finnish navies.

    MDA’s team would be eliminated in the first down-select, leaving Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics to battle for the contract.

    Jan 3/08: Lockheed Martin hosts the Canadian Navy’s Combat System Integration Lab at their facility in Montreal. Unsurprisingly, they’re leveraging that to assist their bid. The firm announces that Saab’s 9LV Combat Management System is now operational in that lab, a move that may reduce the system’s perceived technical risk.

    HMCS St Johns
    HMCS St Johns
    (click to view full)

    Dec 18/07: Lockheed Martin announces that L-3 Electronics Systems Canada has joined its Combat Systems Integrator bif team, alongside Saab Systems, IBM Canada, xwave and CAE Professional Services. L-3 is involved in the CP-140 Aurora Avionics Optimized Weapons Systems Management contract, and led the Tribal Class Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP) for Canada’s aged destroyers.

    Sept 5/07: General Dynamics Canada announces its team for the [at the time] $1.1 billion Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) – Combat Systems Integration (CSI) program.

    General Dynamics Canada is heading the team. They currently act as the integrated mission systems contractor for Canada’s new CH-148/H-92 maritime helicopters, and the AIMP program to improve the CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft fleet. GD Avanced Information Systems brings their experience with the USA’s Littoral Combat Ships. Thales Nederland and Thales Canada bring their TACTICOS command and control system ship-sets, which serve with 13 different navy customers on 12 different ship types. They also bring a position as the established radar provider for the Halifax Class, and their recent SIRIUS IRST system win.

    April 11/07: Lockheed Martin announces its intention to pursue the Halifax class’ mid-life modernization program, and unveils its team at the annual CANSEC trade show in Ottawa.

    Lockheed Martin Canada is the current systems integrator for the Halifax Class, and is an original equipment manufacturer for its current combat system. They also hosts the Canadian Navy’s combat systems integration lab at their facility in Montreal, and maintain the frigates’ Operations Room Team Trainer (ORTT) simulator.

    Saab brings its popular 9LV ship’s combat system, delivered to 15 navies worldwide. IBM Canada, xwave and CAE Professional Services bring made-in-Canada software applications and in-service support expertise that will address integrated logistics support, human factors engineering, et. al.

    October 2006: The government of Canada issues a C$ 150 million Platform System Design Agent Contract, worth $150 million, to Fleetway, Inc. of the Irving Group.

    The Irving Group is a very diversified conglomerate whose size makes it a major economic and political player in Eastern Canada. This did not suffice to earn Canada’s recent submarine refit contract, however.

    (click to view full)

    April 21/06: The Canadian navy placed an order for 13 Sirius long-range Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems with DRS Technologies Canada, now part of the Italian Finmeccanica group following a 2008 acquisition announcement. Thales Nederland is the major subcontractor. The larger order is placed in conjunction with the Netherlands, who will be installing them on their ultra-modern F124 De Zeven Provincien anti-air frigates. In Canada, 12 systems are slated for the Halifax Class frigate upgrade program, and one will be used for land-based training. The systems will be delivered between 2008 – 2011.

    For full coverage of the contract’s details, the Sirius system’s capabilities, and why those capabilities matter to modern ships, read “Canada & Holland Order 17 SIRIUS Shipboard Long-Range IRST Sensors (updated).”

    Additional Readings

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