The type 26 Global Combat Ship to defend Canadian Coast for decades to come

A CGI impression of Type 26 Frigate. Courtesy BAE Systems.

The Indo-pacific nations are currently under constant threat by China’s forceful claim of littoral zones of 13 countries, projecting military might and firing ballistic missiles towards neighbors. The Peoples Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) routinely violates airspace of nations surrounded by the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea.

Type 26 Frigate Global Combat Ship Model

Canada has generally been a secure nation, one relying on the U.S. and NATO as its guarantors for defense. Unlike European nations, Canada has never been territorially threatened during any major conflict. Canada never had a dispute with another nation over exclusive economic zones.

Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC)

The CSC project was announced a year earlier than the Australian project (2008 versus 2009) and completed the selection of a preferred bidder a few months after Australia in 2018. Both processes selected the BAE Type 26 as their reference point design to modify to meet national requirements.

Read More The RCAF comes full circle turn: Lockheed Martin F-35 firming as favorite for Canada’s future fighter capability project (FFCP)

The Australian decision upfront to restrict the competition to three shipbuilders and their warship designs is a procurement aspect that Canada did not contemplate – the CSC merely requiring shipbuilders to qualify to compete, which over 10 of them did. Thus, Australia was able to set conditions that shaped the subsequent procurement approach and documents to be potentially quite different from those used in Canada.

In Canada, the evaluation standard was a weighted scoring system across hundreds of criteria which would then roll up to deliver a comparative numerical assessment among bidders – such scoring methodology requiring exposure as part of the RFP process to potential bidders and therefore finalization before RFP release.

Australian Influence

The Australian approach used to select the contractor responsible for the design and construction of the nine frigates is a fit-for-purpose competitive evaluation process (CEP). CEPs are designed to be tailored as appropriate for each shipbuilding project. The Australian National Audit Office Report No. 48 of 2016-2017, “Future Submarine – Competitive Evaluation”, says that a CEP “comprises an evaluation of two or more options under a common evaluation framework … (that) would address a range of criteria, which could include matters such as capability, interoperability, cost, schedule and commercial issues”.

Read More Hunter Class Frigates (Type 26 Global Combat Ship) of Royal Australian Navy

The tailored CEP was designed for the FFP after the government decided in 2015 to shortlist three foreign shipbuilders and specific ship designs to compete for the project as a prime contractor: BAE Systems with the Type 26 frigate, Fincantieri with the FREMM frigate and Navantia with a redesigned F100. The project office was responsible for designing and obtaining approval of a CEP. More than half the office staff were experts on contract from multiple companies so that project office capacity requirements could satisfy the project’s accelerated schedule. 

At the end of bidding process, BAE Systems was selected to build nine hulls in Australia under its SEA 5000 program (Hunter-class) to replace ANZAC-class frigate.

Global Combat Ship for RCN

Officials in Ottawa confirmed that BAE Systems’ Type 26 Global Combat Ship will provide the template for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC), the workhorse of the RCN fleet through the 2030s and 2040s.

The Lockheed Martin/BAE Systems team was chosen as preferred bidder for the ship design in October 2018, beating rivals Alion Science and Technology (which offered a version of the Dutch navy’s De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate) and Navantia (Spain’s F-105 frigate).

Prime contractor Irving Shipbuilding – which was selected as Canada’s combat ship constructor some years ago – is expected to cut steel for the first of 15 planned warships at its yard in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in the early 2020s.

The CSC program aims to replace 12 recently-modernized Halifax-class frigates and three already-retired Iroquois-class destroyers. With an estimated total budget of up to $45 billion, it is the largest and most complex procurement exercise ever undertaken by the Canadian government.

The latest Parliamentary Budget Office report that the cost of the CSC program over 26 years likely will top $69.8 billion. That’s $8 billion more than the watchdog’s last estimate in 2017.


The Global Combat Ship is capable of performing electronic-warfare, anti-surface, anti-submarine, anti-air, escorts and special mission tasked with it. The Ship can be loaded with ISO container or special mission boats capable of carrying special operatives.


Lockheed Martin’s CMS 330 combat management system lies at the heart of the new ship. In addition to BAE Systems, the winning team also includes CAE (training solutions); L3 Technologies (platform management, communications, weapons storage and torpedo handling systems, electro-optical/infrared sensors, and hangar doors); and Ultra Electronics (hull-mounted and towed low-frequency active sonar systems).


Measuring 492ft from bow to stern and displacing over 8,000 tons (full load), the baseline design features advanced anti-submarine warfare capabilities, a 24-cell Mk 41 vertical launch system for Tomahawk cruise missiles and other long-range strike weapons, a 48-cell silo for Sea Ceptor air defense missiles and a 5-inch gun. The flight deck can operate CH-47 Chinook-sized helicopters.

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