March 27, 2012 David Pugliese Defence Watch
Defence Watch has been told that all three bid teams for the Close Combat Vehicle program (Nexter, GDLS, BAE/Hagglunds) have been summoned to meet with senior ADM(Mat) officials this Friday to get a project update.
Friday, of course, is the day after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty unveils the federal budget.
Sources say the timing of this meeting is odd to say the least and perhaps does not bode well for the CCV program.
One take on the significance of this from a seasoned Ottawa observer is that the contents of the budget will likely require DND to push off by 6-12 months the CCV schedule. (It seems unlikely there was some universal problem with either testing or responses for all three firms…so money issues from the budget fallout appear the more likely scenario).
There is a desire within the Conservative government to try to protect proposed major military equipment programs from future cutbacks but that doesn’t mean delays are off the table.
The $2 billion program would see the acquisition of 108 CCVs with an option for up to 30 more. The CCV will allow infantry to operate in support of the Leopard 2 tanks.
The program has not gone to contract yet but testing of candidate vehicles finished at the end of December at a U.S. test facility.
The Defence Department has declined to discuss how it will meet the government’s target of finding savings of 10 per cent of its budget.
But in an unusual move earlier this year, the department confirmed that the CCV program would not be touched. “The procurement of the Close Combat Vehicle project is moving forward as planned,” Defence Department spokeswoman Josée Hunter stated in an email.