Joint Support Ship (JSS)


Canada defends more coastline than any other country, as it is bounded by three oceans. Canada protects its maritime approaches from smuggling, trafficking and pollution, and also provides life-saving search and rescue as well as opportunities for scientific research. The fleets also act internationally to meet our commitments and protect our interests.

In June 2010, the Government of Canada announced the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Through this strategy, Canada will replace the current surface fleets of the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard, which are reaching the end of their operational lives. First in line will be the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) for the Royal Canadian Navy in the combat package. These will be followed by the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC). The Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy under the non-combat work package.

The JSS project will deliver two ships with an option for a third. The capabilities required of the JSS are crucial to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). These ships will enable a Naval Task Group to remain at sea for extended periods of time. These vessels will provide core replenishment capabilities, plus added capacity for limited sealift and support to operations ashore.

Additional Information



"The Governance Committee of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy has decided that Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. will build the Joint Support Ship before the Polar Icebreaker. The Governance Committee is the group overseeing the government’s implementation of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, and is made up of the Deputy Ministers of Public Works and Government Services Canada, Industry Canada, National Defence, and Fisheries and Oceans.

A sequencing decision was required as the designs for DND’s Joint Support Ship and the Canadian Coast Guard’s Polar Icebreaker are progressing on very similar schedules, and could both be ready for construction at the same time [PWGSC online FAQ]. This decision is another step forward in building the new federal fleet, of which both ships will be an important part.

The building of the first Joint Support Ship is expected to start in the 2016-2017 timeframe, in keeping with the existing schedule. This means that the first ship would be anticipated in 2019, assuming no further delays in the schedule.

The Joint Support Ship project is currently conducting the Initial Design Review contract. This will enable Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. to fully review the proven, off-the-shelf ship design from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada, selected in June 2013. The contract negotiation and design preparation work will take place in 2015/2016, in order to bring the Joint Support Ship Design to a production ready state."

On January 12, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada has reached agreements with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. This charts the course for construction of Canada’s combat and non-combat surface fleets under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The strategic sourcing arrangements, called umbrella agreements, with each of the selected shipyards have been signed. Individual ship construction contracts will now be negotiated with the respective shipyards.

First in line will be the AOPS for the Royal Canadian Navy in the combat package. These will be followed by the CSC. The JSS will be built for the Royal Canadian Navy under the non-combat work package.

For more information:


Project Details

About the Project:

Project Status

The JSS are a critical component for achieving success in both international and domestic CAF missions, as laid out in the Canada First Defence Strategy. The ships constitute a vital and strategic national asset. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of a Naval Task Group, permitting it to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for replenishment.

The JSS will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. The new ships will provide core replenishment, limited sealift capabilities, and support to operations ashore. The JSS will be one of the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ships to be built by one of the competitively selected Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

This first step in the replacement of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels, known as the definition phase, has involved the assessment of both new and existing designs. Existing ship designs are those already built, operating, and meet key specific Canadian requirements. The new ship design that was considered was developed by BMT of Kanata.

The selected ship design was based on the best value in terms of capability, risk and affordability. Canada will provide the design to Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd, to review in preparation for actual production. This design development work will be led by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd., as part of the Joint Support Ship definition contract to be negotiated between Canada and the shipyard. Once these steps are completed, Canada will acquire the required licensing for the ship design. The JSS project represents a total investment by the Government of Canada of approximately $2.6 billion.

The Government of Canada will ensure both value for taxpayers’ dollars and opportunities for Canadian communities and the Canadian marine industry. The Government is committed to getting the right equipment for the CAF, at the right price for Canadian taxpayers, with the right benefits for Canadian industry.

Ship Capabilities

The JSS project will procure two ships with an option for a third with capabilities such as:

Underway Support to Naval Task Groups: Underway support is the term that describes the transfer of liquids and solids between ships at sea. This underway support also includes the operation and maintenance of helicopters, as well as task group medical and dental facilities;

Limited Sealift: To meet a range of possibilities in an uncertain future security environment, JSS will be capable of delivering a limited amount of cargo ashore; and

Limited Support to Operations Ashore: The JSS will leverage to the maximum extent possible its onboard facilities.

The JSS will replace the core capabilities of the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships, including: provision of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water, and other supplies; modern medical and dental care facilities, including an operating room; repair facilities and expertise to keep helicopters and other equipment functioning; and basic self-defence functions.

Technical Information

Information for Industry

Over the next decade, the Project Management Offices for AOPS and JSS will deliver two classes of ships to the Royal Canadian Navy. The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy selected the shipyards to build these ships. Using a similar methodology, the Naval Shipbuilding Projects Office aims to procure in-service support for these ships.

The Naval Shipbuilding Project Office can be contacted at

Date modified: