Trade tribunal tosses U.S. firm's complaint about warship-design competition

A federal trade tribunal is tossing out a challenge to the federal government's handling of a high-stakes competition to design the navy's new $60-billion fleet of warships.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal's ruling removes one potential obstacle as Ottawa prepares to award a design contract for the warships to U.S.-based defence giant Lockheed Martin.

The government and Irving Shipbuilding selected Lockheed's proposed warship design in October over submissions from Alion Science and Technology of Virginia and Spanish firm Navantia.

Alion subsequently filed complaints with the trade tribunal as well as the Federal Court, saying Lockheed's design did not meet the navy's requirements and should have been disqualified.

But in a ruling issued on Thursday, the trade tribunal said neither Alion nor its Canadian subsidiary met the requirements to file a challenge and that it was dismissing the complaint.

The government and Irving have been negotiating a final design contract with Lockheed for several months, which officials hope to complete in weeks.