It’s not often that one hears something like it when it comes to defence procurement. The Royal Canadian Navy today announced that it is marking a “major milestone” since its multi-million dollar program to modernize and extend the life of Halifax-class frigates has come in “on time, and under budget.”

The Halifax-class Modernization (HCM) program represents an investment of $4.3 billion and allows the fleet of 12 frigates to serve the Navy until the early-to-mid-2030s.

HMCS Toronto, the seventh and final frigate on the East Coast, completed the refit portion of its modernization by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. This means all 12 frigates, five on the West Coast and seven on the East Coast, have completed the refit portion of their modernization. The final step will be a period of tests and trials in the reactivation phase for HMCS Toronto and two other ships.

A ceremony was held today marking the completion of the Halifax-class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension (HCM/FELEX) project, which provided state-of-the-art upgrades, allowing Canada’s fleet of 12 Halifax-class frigates to meet 21st-century threats. HCM/FELEX falls under the larger HCM program.

Member of Parliament for Halifax, N.S. Andy Fillmore attended on behalf of Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, along with Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

“This project was delivered on time and under budget, and allows the Halifax-class frigates to continue to operate as the backbone of our Navy,” a statement from Sajjan said.

“HMCS Toronto will soon join her sister ships on deployments around the world, proudly contributing to global defence and security on behalf of all Canadians,” said Admiral Lloyd. “Thanks to their newly upgraded, multipurpose capabilities, these ships will continue to ensure that Canada’s navy is always ready to respond when called upon to act by the Government of Canada.”


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The HCM program is a highly complex and collaborative effort between DND, the Navy, and more than thirty companies within the Canadian shipbuilding industry.

The HCM/FELEX project included a new Combat Management System procured from Lockheed Martin Canada, as well as new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system, and upgraded communications technologies and missiles. The modernized frigates also boast new systems that offer better damage control, as well as more modern electrical and machinery control.

“I am proud to see the government delivering on its promise to strengthen the Royal Canadian Navy by providing our naval women and men with the modern equipment needed to do the job that is asked of them,” said Fillmore.

The Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy applies to this project. This ensures that companies that win Government of Canada defence contracts undertake business activities in Canada equal to 100 per cent of the contract value.