Letter to the Editor on British Armaments Company's Role in Canada

British arms manufacturer BAE Systems is contracted to supply Canada
with the Type 26 frigate, shown above.

Your article on the warmongering of Charles III showed among other things how war production is a parasitic drain on the British economy. This is also the case in Canada where the government has contracts with the UK-based BAE Systems to the tune of billions of dollars.[1]

The Canadian government in 2018 selected BAE's Type 26 design platform for 15 surface combat ships costing billions of dollars. The government touts this war expenditure as fulfilling Canada's "National Shipbuilding Strategy," aimed at building a "Blue Water Navy" that can maraud all over the world at the behest of NATO and the United States. Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, Nova Scotia is building the BAE-designed combat ships with U.S. war producer Lockheed Martin the main contractor overseeing the project.

The decision to go with the BAE Type 26 ship was controversial when selected, as the design only existed on the drawing board. In an article for Canadian military magazine Esprit de Corps, David Pugliese writes that at the outset of the process to acquire the ships the Liberal government promised "only mature existing designs or designs of ships already in service with other navies would be accepted, on the grounds they could be built faster and would be less risky. Unproven designs can face challenges as problems are found once the vessel is in the water and operating."

Pugliese continues, "The criteria was later changed by the Canadian government for reasons that are not entirely clear. (The other ships that were in the Canadian competition were all proven and in service with allied navies.)"

Knowing BAE's enormous presence in the British economy and contacts with its ruling elite, one wonders if the Royal Family performed a "sword dance" for the fawning Liberal government to secure BAE's bid and win the contract.

A sense of the public resources BAE and its partners are removing from the Canadian economy for this war production arises from its constantly expanding budget. The Canadian Treasury Board's original approval was for $26 billion. By 2021, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the price for the 15 Type 26 ships had ballooned to $77.3 billion.

In a further article in December 2022 David Pugliese writes, "MPs on the House of Commons Government Operations Committee said they now expect the cost for the 15 ships to be around $100 billion." The article also notes that the acquisition, operating and supporting of the ships throughout their life-cycle of approximately 30 years will cost Canadians between $213.5 and $219.6 billion.

The ships of the Type 26 design being built for the British Navy will be equipped with a missile defence system, a 127 mm medium calibre gun, flexible mission bay, Artisan 997 Medium Range Radar and towed array sonar. The flight deck will be able to accommodate helicopters up to the size of a Chinook, while the mission bay can adapt to house containers and deploy manned or unmanned vessels and vehicles. In total, the UK, Australian and Canadian Navies will operate 32 anti-submarine warfare frigates, all based on the Type 26 reference design.

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 6 - June 2023

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