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Vard Marine Inc. Welcomes Thordon Bearings Inc. into the Team Vigilance Preferred Suppliers Program

At CANSEC 2023, Vard Marine Inc. (VARD), a Fincantieri company, proudly launched VIGILANCE as their solution to replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) Kingston Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDV) under Pillar Two of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In conjunction with Team Vigilance partner companies Thales Canada, Ontario Shipyards, SH Defence, and Fincantieri, VIGILANCE will provide the RCN with a lightweight and operationally flexible military asset that is highly capable and globally deployable. VIGILANCE can perform all roles of the existing MCDV, while also fulfilling crucial naval warfare duties beyond the capabilities of both the MCDV and the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPV), including in the littoral battlespace.

This collaboration ensures Team Vigilance can meet the needs of the RCN’s future fleet with a tailored naval solution, striking the optimum balance between capability and cost, while also maintaining the life-cycle cost advantages VARD’s naval designs are known for.

As a part of the ongoing effort, Team Vigilance continues to assemble a broad coalition of Canadian companies that can offer important services and vital equipment to the program. Building a robust coalition is key to the core objective that VIGILANCE be designed in Canada, built in Canada, and equipped in Canada. To this end, Team Vigilance launched their Preferred Suppliers Program at DEFSEC 2023 in Halifax last October.

Thordon Bearings – a Preferred Supplier to Team Vigilance

VARD has named Thordon Bearings Inc. (Thordon) as a preferred supplier to Team Vigilance. The Burlington, Ontario-based innovator secured its first naval contract in the early 1990s, supplying first-generation COMPAC bearing systems for installation to the RCN’s Halifax-class frigates and Oberon-class submarines. Since then, the company has supplied its bearings and seals to more than 50 Navies and Coast Guards around the world.

As part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, Thordon Bearings has proudly supported the AOPS program, supplying COMPAC propeller shaft bearings to all ships in this series.

By including Thordon as a preferred supplier, the Vigilance design will feature the company’s award-winning COMPAC seawater-lubricated propeller shaft bearings, SXL grease-free rudder bearings, and innovative SeaThigor mechanical face seals, which includes a unique “safe-return-to-port” function.  

The decision to include a Canadian propeller shaft and rudder bearings manufacturer is based on the performance, reliability, and low acoustic signature of the company’s propriety elastomeric propeller shaft bearings in naval applications spanning thirty years.

In addition to its lightweight hull, the design leverages the latest autonomous and mission system technology, with a modular mission bay for deck loadouts. Its capabilities are geared towards critical operational needs, including intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, subsea infrastructure protection, mine countermeasures, resource conservation, and maritime interdiction operations.

Derek S. Buxton, Vice President Business Development, Vard Marine Inc., said: “As a world leader in seawater-lubricated polymer bearing technology, bringing Thordon on board was an easy decision to render. Given the fact that Thordon’s world-class products are manufactured right here at home and are already used throughout the RCN and CCG fleets means support costs will be greatly reduced over the entire life cycle of the Vigilance class. Buying a Canadian product is also the right thing to do and reinforces the principle of creating enduring economic benefit right here at home.”

Scott Groves, Vice President Sales, Thordon Bearings, said: “We are thrilled to be part of the team offering this ground-breaking design. Vigilance is tailored specifically to meet future RCN requirements under the second pillar of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The state-of-the-art design brings together a wealth of Canadian expertise capable of balancing operational flexibility, multi-mission versatility, and cost efficiencies with a vessel designed, built, and equipped in Canada.”

Anna Galoni, CEO & Chair, Thordon Bearings, said: “The unique properties of our COMPAC propeller shaft bearing system meets strict naval criteria not only in terms of bearing longevity, wear life and performance, but it has a lower coefficient of friction, greater shock resistance and a lower acoustic signature, compared to traditional naval bronze-backed rubber bearings. COMPAC ensures asset reliability.”


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