As with Canada’s defence procurement strategy, the French government has put a premium on export opportunities.
So Canadian government officials and Royal Canadian Navy officers touring the tradeshow of this year’s EURONAVAL in Paris in two weeks will find no shortage of new solutions from French industry aimed squarely at the Canadian shipbuilding program, especially the future surface combatant.
According to a 2013 forecast of the world naval market by AMI International, there will be 522 new construction programs totalling more than 3,800 new ships worth over US$838 billion over the next 20 years. At $30-35 billion, Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is but a small piece. In fact, the French government, which hosts EURONAVAL, expressed far more interest in opportunities in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
However, as delegates at DEFSEC Atlantic in September and at the Maritime Security Challenges conference in Victoria this week were reminded, NSPS might be one of the largest commitments to build warships.
So in a pre-show media tour, the French government and industry highlighted the capabilities of not only the well-publicized FREMM frigate, built by DCNS, but also the work of local shipyards to build everything from amphibious to support ships, and even a concept for a 5,000 tonne long endurance, high speed submarine. There were also plenty of examples of leading-edge technology, from combat management systems to advanced missiles, weapons systems, and sonar and radar capabilities.
Notably, at each stop companies stressed their willingness to transfer technology, knowledge and expertise to any customer as part of a high-value proposition. If, as many naval practitioners have stated, this is a century for naval power, then France is attempting to secure a firm footprint on what that projection of power will look like.
On November 26, Vanguard, in partnership with the Shipbuilding Association of Canada, will host a Shipbuilding Technology Forum in Ottawa. This will be a unique opportunity to hear from experts involved in ship design and engineering – what many see as the highest value-add in shipbuilding – complex systems integration, communications and innovative technologies. To register and for more information: http://shipbuildingforum.ca