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Naval

The RCN’s first Joint Support Ship expected in 2023

Artist rendering of the future Protecteur-class ship replenishing a Canadian vessel at sea. Image: Government of Canada.

Through its long-term project, the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS), Canada is renewing its fleet of combat and non-combat ships. These vessels will provide the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) with modern ships to fulfill operational needs at home and abroad. 

As part of NSS, the RCN will receive two new Joint Support Ships (JSS) to replace the Protecteur-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels, which were retired from service in 2014. Recently, Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan joined Johnathan Wilkinson, Member of Parliament for North Vancouver, Terry Beech, Member of Parliament for Burnaby North—Seymour, and John McCarthy, Chief Program Officer of Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards to highlight the importance of the contract to build the two JSS. 

“Today’s event honours our Government’s commitment to strengthening our shipbuilding industry, and equipping our sailors with state of the art equipment they need to keep Canadians safe,” said Wilkinson. “It will also create good local jobs for people right here in North Vancouver. This is a tangible investment in our community, and I look forward to seeing the ongoing progress and future results of these two new Joint Support Ships.” 

The construction contract, valued at $2.4 billion (including taxes), was awarded to Seaspan Vancouver Shipyards. It includes the building of the ship’s early blocks, which began in June 2018, as well as the construction of the newly designed blocks for the remainder of the ships. The overall total value of the JSS project is $4.1 billion, which includes $3.1 billion for the purchase of the two ships and initial spares, as well as $1 billion for additional design and production engineering work, and project management and contingency costs. 

“By investing right here at home, Canadian workers are helping to build the fleet of the future to equip the Royal Canadian Navy and our members in uniform with modern and versatile ships they need for Canada’s important contributions to peace and security at home, and abroad,” said Harjit Sajjan. “This work will create about 1,000 jobs right here in Vancouver and across Canada, supporting local economies from coast to coast. Today, we are one step closer to an exciting new chapter in Canada’s proud naval history.” 

The first JSS, the future HMCS Protecteur, is expected to be delivered in 2023, while the second, HMCS Preserver, in 2025. 

“I am pleased to see yet another milestone happen this year for our future Joint Support Ships. With these warships, the Royal Canadian Navy will be able to operate with even greater flexibility and endurance. Not only will these ships form part of the core of our Naval Task Groups, they represent a vital and strategic national asset which will enable the Navy to maintain its global reach and staying power,” said VAdm Art McDonald, Commander of the RCN.

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