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Military Off-the-Shelf: A Discussion on Combat Ship Acquisition

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Technical Report

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Defence Research and Development Canada CORA Ottawa, Ontario Canada

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The objective of this paper is to examine the theoretical and practical dimensions of military off-the-shelf MOTS as an element of the procurement strategy for the Royal Canadian Navys RCN next generation of surface combatants. The research was undertaken to inform the discussion of whether a MOTS solution is the most advantageous route to navalre-capitalization. The concept of MOTS is defined, followed by a non-exhaustive list of advantages and disadvantages of this approach to acquiring complex naval vessels. A series of illustrative examples from allied and partner countries is provided. The research found that despite the many advantages offered by the MOTS approach, it is not clear that these are so decisive as to preclude other procurement options. Indeed, gaining an understanding of MOTS is not a straight forward matter, and senior decision-makers should be aware of the many internal and external factors that will affect their choice of procurement option.

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