HMC FELEX Program
HMC FELEX is an ambitious Royal Canadian Navy program to modernize the twelve Canadian Patrol Frigates. Victoria Shipyard’s portion of the program is made up of two major contracts, which take place simultaneously; the HMC FELEX contract with Canada and the Combat System Integration (CSI) Subcontract with Lockheed Martin. Victoria Shipyards is the main contractor for the mid-life maintenance and upgrade work on the five West Coast navy frigates and is a major subcontractor for Lockheed Martin’s modernization of the ship’s combat systems.
Details of the Program
The successfully completed first phase of the FELEX program saw three frigates engaged in docking work periods to maintain and extend the life of the equipment prior to their full refits. Phase II of the program started in June 2011 and involved the execution of standard ship maintenance repairs, as well as extensive work to upgrade and/or sustain the technology required for the Platform and Combat Systems on each of five frigates. From 2011 to 2016, Victoria Shipyard’s Program and Project offices managed five major naval ship repair periods with an average manpower level per ship of 300 trades and 30 staff positions, each becoming very familiar with Royal Canadian Navy Combat Ships and the Canadian Government procurement structure.
The FELEX program is a multi-stage multi stakeholder process. It began with a pre mid-life refit period where Victoria Shipyards worked closely with our strategic partner, Fleet Maintenance Facility (FMF) located at CFB Esquimalt. During the next phase, the vessel was located at the Esquimalt Graving Dock facility for approximately twelve months to perform work for Canada and Lockheed Martin. For the following six months, the vessel returned back to CFB Esquimalt, where Lockheed Martin completed the commissioning and trials for the combat systems with some assistance from Victoria Shipyards. In the final twelve months, the ship underwent sea trials and training.
The first of five West Coast Naval Frigates to undergo the extensive 12 month mid-life refit at VSL, HMCS Calgary, was successfully handed back to the Crown on 1 June 2012. This was followed by HMCS Winnipeg, HMCS Vancouver, HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Regina, whose 12 month refit was completed in March 2016.
Commencing after the completion of all five refits, under the current third phase of the program, the frigates receive continued maintenance and upgrades to ensure the longevity of the vessels.
Not Just Frigates
Throughout the duration of the FELEX program, the Navy’s West Coast Supply Ship, HMCS Protecteur, and the Command and Control Ship, HMCS Algonquin, also underwent refits at Victoria Shipyards. In addition to fourteen prior refits on frigate ships, Victoria Shipyards has also successfully completed two full refits on the HMCS Algonquin and three on the HMCS Protecteur.