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The Halifax-class Modernization project was completed earlier this week

The Halifax-class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension (HCM/FELEX) project, which provided state-of-the-art upgrades to Canada’s fleet of 12 Halifax-class frigates has come to its completion earlier this week, announced the Government of Canada.

The project came to a close with the completion of HMCS Toronto’s refit portion of its modernization by the company Irving Shipbuilding Inc., all 12 frigates, five on the West Coast and seven on the East Coast, have now completed the refit portion. Now the final steps include a period of tests, trials and reactivation phase for HMCS Toronto and two other ships.

The Government invested $4.3 billion to this project and it is said the project has extended the life of the frigates until the mid 2030s. The Halifax-class frigates “will continue to be the backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy” until the future fleet of Canadian Surface Combatants’ first ship arrives in the mid-2020s.

A ceremony was held on Nov. 29 by the Government of Canada to mark this milestone. Member of Parliament for Halifax, N.S. Andy Fillmore, on behalf of Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan, along with Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, delivered remarks to mark the occasion.

“I could not be more pleased or proud of the extraordinary success that the Halifax-class modernization program represents. 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. 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,” said VAdm. Lloyd.

Part of the HCM/FELEX project, this ships received 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 would like to thank all those involved in the HCM/FELEX project for their hard work in successfully completing the refit portion of the modernization of all of Canada’s 12 frigates. 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,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in a statement.

HCM/FELEX falls under the umbrella of the larger HCM program. The HCM program involves the collaborative efforts of the DND, Navy and more than 30 companies from the Canadian shipbuilding industry.

“Our Government has made a clear commitment to support the Royal Canadian Navy through the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The Halifax-class Modernization program will ensure that our frigates continue to serve and protect Canadians while the future fleet of Canadian Surface Combatants is being built. Congratulations to the men and women who contributed to this project,” said Public Services and Procurement Canada Minister, Judy Foote.

The Government of Canada also reiterated that the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy was applied to this project. This means that companies that win defence contracts carry out business in Canada equal to 100 per cent of the contract value.

“Applying the Industrial and Regional Benefits Policy to projects like these drives growth across industries—areas where Canada has the potential to show global leadership. The modernization of the 12 Halifax-class frigates has been a highly collaborative success for government and industry and supports the development of a sustainable marine sector while bringing long-term economic benefits to Canada,” stated Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada Minister Navdeep Bains.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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