The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) is restarting the $2bn Close Combat Vehicle (CCV) programme, stating that the latest bids did not meet the technical requirements set forth by the Canadian Army.
Sebastien Bois, Public Works and Government Services Canada spokesman, said a new request for proposals (RFP) from industry has been issued by the DND on 27 April 2012 as "there were no technically compliant bids".
"Our procedures call for the cancellation of the solicitation in such an event," Bois added.
Bidding companies, including Nexter Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems Canada and BAE Hagglunds, have also been informed by the ministry to resubmit their proposals under the new criteria.
The decision marks the second time proposed vehicles have been rejected by the DND in less than a year and attracted sharp criticism from industry representatives and opposition party leaders.
NDP defence critic Jack Harris said the cancellation is another example of the government's incompetence when it comes to large-scale purchases for the armed forces.
"They say they're going to buy an off-the-shelf piece of equipment because it's cheaper and therefore they can get it approved and then they go and look at them and decide they want to actually modify things," Harris added.
However, Public Accounts Committee member and Tory MP Andrew Saxton defended the decision by saying that the new round of bidding proves the government's procurement system is working.
"That's what we have to do to make sure we get the right equipment for our men and women in uniform and to make sure the process remains open and fair," Saxton said.
The multibillion dollar CCV programme, launched in 2009, includes procurement of a total of 108 vehicles along with an option for the purchase of an additional 30 vehicles, but it is already two years behind schedule.
The CCVs are intended to be operated by the Canadian Army alongside Leopard main battle tanks (MBTs) in the battlefield for future missions.
Image: A Canadian Army Leopard 1A3 tank displayed at the Base Borden Military Museum. Photo courtesy of: Ian Dunster.