Sperry may build frigates near Ottawa

The Ottawa region could have a major US company, Sperry Corporation, expanding its operations in the area by 1982. Sperry is a finalist in competition for building and equipping six patrol frigates for the Canadian Navy. If Sperry is chosen, says Phil Auerbach, a Sperry Division vice-president for ship and combat systems, it would entail the hiring of several hundred people by 1983-84, when the project is in full swing.

Sperry employs about 400 people in its Sperry Gyroscope Division, which repairs and overhauls defense-related equipment. Sperry is a co-bidder with the Saint John Shipbuilding Company, in New Brunswick. The actual construction of the frigates will cost about $1.5 billion and the electronic equipment also about $1.5 billion.

Sperry is competing against Scan Marine, which is owned by Pratt Whitney of Canada, a division of United Technologies. The Canadian government has decreed that as much equipment as possible be made in Canada, or that the technology to produce it be transferred to Canada. Ontario and Quebec companies are expected to be the principal subcontractors.

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