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

VARD Marine Unveils VIGILANCE: Next-Gen Solution for RCN's Maritime Defence Vessels

At CANSEC 2023, Vard Marine Inc. (VARD), a Fincantieri company, proudly introduced VIGILANCE, their advanced 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). Teaming up with Thales Canada, Ontario Shipyards, SH Defence, and Fincantieri, VIGILANCE promises to deliver a lightweight, operationally flexible military asset, capable of global deployment and equipped to perform all roles of the existing MCDV. Additionally, VIGILANCE is designed to fulfill crucial naval warfare duties beyond the capabilities of both the MCDV and the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPV), especially in littoral battlespaces.

This collaboration ensures that Team Vigilance can meet the future needs of the Royal Canadian Navy with a tailored naval solution, balancing capability and cost, while maintaining the life-cycle cost advantages for which VARD’s naval designs are renowned.

Building a Canadian Coalition

In an ongoing effort, Team Vigilance is assembling a coalition of Canadian companies to provide essential services and vital equipment for the program. The goal is for VIGILANCE to be designed, built, and equipped in Canada. To support this, 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. Based in Burlington, Ontario, Thordon secured its first naval contract in the early 1990s, supplying COMPAC bearing systems for the RCN’s Halifax-class frigates and Oberon-class submarines. Since then, Thordon has supplied bearings and seals to more than 50 Navies and Coast Guards worldwide.

As part of Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, Thordon Bearings has supported the AOPS program, providing COMPAC propeller shaft bearings for all ships in the 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 include a unique “safe-return-to-port” function.

The decision to include a Canadian manufacturer for propeller shaft and rudder bearings is based on Thordon’s performance, reliability, and low acoustic signature in naval applications over the past thirty years.


Advanced Capabilities

In addition to its lightweight hull, VIGILANCE incorporates the latest autonomous and mission system technology, with a modular mission bay for various deck loadouts. Its capabilities are tailored to meet 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 at Vard Marine Inc., said, “As a world leader in seawater-lubricated polymer bearing technology, bringing Thordon onboard was an easy decision. Thordon’s world-class products, manufactured in Canada and already used throughout the RCN and CCG fleets, will reduce support costs over the life cycle of the Vigilance class. Supporting a Canadian product also reinforces our principle of creating enduring economic benefits at home.”

Scott Groves, Vice President Sales at Thordon Bearings, stated, “We are thrilled to be part of the team offering this groundbreaking design. Vigilance is tailored to meet future RCN requirements under the second pillar of the National Shipbuilding Strategy. The state-of-the-art design brings together 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 of Thordon Bearings, added, “Our COMPAC propeller shaft bearing system meets strict naval criteria in terms of bearing longevity, wear life, and performance. It also boasts a lower coefficient of friction, greater shock resistance, and a lower acoustic signature, compared to traditional systems.”


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