Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant gets $5.2 billion contract

The Canadian subsidiary of French defence giant Thales has been awarded a multibillion-dollar contract to service Canada's new fleet of Arctic offshore patrol ships and joint support vessels.

The federal government says Thales Canada, in a joint venture with the company's Australian arm, will provide in-service support for the vessels under a contract that could total $5.2 billion over 35 years.

Acting Procurement Minister Jim Carr announced the awarding of the contract along with parliamentary secretary Steven MacKinnon today during joint news conferences in Dartmouth, N.S., and Ottawa.

The government says the initial service period will span eight years, at an estimated cost of $800 million, to retrofit, maintain and repair the ships.

Thales Canada will also provide training for those operating the vessels.

Officials say Thales will be required to hire subcontractors to complete the work in regions across the country to ensure widespread economic benefits.