The announcement that Irving Shipbuilding Inc has been named prime contractor the RCN frigate replacement program is perhaps the biggest news coming out of Halifax Shipyard since the announcement in 2011 that they had been selected to build the frigates.
Several world scale powerhouse bidders were no doubt vying for the prime status which would have relegated ISI to sub-contractors. Even before the decision of the tribunal in the National Ship Procurement Strategy there was never much doubt that Halifax Shipyard would build the frigates. Irving's credentials as builders of most of the current frigates and refitters of the east coast frigates gave them credibility, even if there are few if any people left in the ISI organization who were involved in the original construction of the Halifax class ships.
However being prime contractor is a far bigger prize than (just) being the builders.
As prime contractor they will essentially be in charge of all aspects of the program, and will call the shots to the myriad suppliers and sub-contractors. Their ability to get performance out of those subs will be key to the success of the program, both in terms of budget, but also of delivery time and performance. No one should under estimate ISI's determination in those areas.
The massive new building hall dwarfs the Novadock which will be replaced.
The south end of the yard where the current frigates are being upgraded has a newly built parking structure, the graving dock, machine shop wharf and an ant colony of temporary buildings.