Feb. 11 (UPI) -- The Royal Canadian Navy has selected BAE System's Type 26 design for an anti-submarine warship.
Lockheed Martin Canada has tapped BAE Systems for the design as it develops the design for 15 vessels, based on the Type 26 global combat ships to be constructed for Britain and Australia, BAE announced Friday.
The Type 26 was originally designed to replace the British Royal Navy's Type 23 frigates -- the first of which enter service in 2020 -- and Australia already has adapted it for its planned Future Frigates as part of the SEA 5000 program.
The initial contract for frigates is worth $185 million, but will increase as warships are constructed. The total contract is worth around $45 billion.
The ships will be built at Irving Shipbuilding's Halifax Shipyard, and will replace the Halifax-class frigates and the retired Iroquois-class destroyers.
The design work is expected to take up to four years and construction is projected to start in the early 2020s, according to Navy Technology website. The design team also include CAE, L3 Technologies, MDA, and Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems.
"The selection of the Type 26 design for the Canadian Surface Combatant reinforces its position as one of the world's most advanced anti-submarine warships and showcases the strength of British innovation on the global stage," said Andrew Wolstenholme, group managing director of BAE Systems Maritime and Land UK. "This is great news for the company, the sector and our Naval Ships business and continues to build on our recent success in Australia for the Hunter Class Frigate program."
The Canadian government will work with Lockheed to prepare a customized design to meet the country's needs, as well as to incorporate Canadian systems and equipment.
The nearly 500-foot-long vessel can be deployed independently or in a task group to conduct high-intensity warfare, humanitarian assistance and other missions.
The ships are designed to support anti-submarine warfare, air defense and general purpose operations anywhere. The company said it will be "acoustically quiet, versatile and highly survivable."
"I am aware that this has been a very competitive process, and this outcome is testament to the importance of the deep UK-Canada defense and security relationship," said Dr. Liam Fox, Canada's international trade secretary. "The announcement will bring further prosperity to both nations and is another demonstration of the success of BAE Systems' Type 26 Global Combat Ship design, after it was recently chosen as the winning design for a contract with the Royal Australian Navy."
Gavin Williamson, Britain's defense secretary, applauded the decision.
"Canada's selection of our cutting-edge Type 26 Global Combat Ship design for their future frigate program shows that Britain remains a world leader in maritime design and technology," he said. "As a valued NATO and Five Eyes partner, Canada's decision demonstrates our close and historic relationship, and this news will ensure our defense partnership continues to thrive for generations to come."
An unsuccessful bidder, Alion Science and Technology Corp. and its subsidiary Alion Canada, is legally challenging the decision, CBC News reported.