07/10/2012 02:27 EDT | Updated 09/09/2012 05:12 EDT

MacKay announces $9.3M arctic vessel study

Defence Minister Peter MacKay has announced another step in the national shipbuilding procurement strategy. It's a step his staff said marks a milestone in the evolution of the shipbuilding plan.

The government is awarding a $9.3 million contract to the Irving-owned yard, to study the designs of arctic patrol vessels.

The defence minister said this contract allows the Halifax shipyard to devise a construction plan for the patrol ships.

The opposition has publicly questioned recently, whether the shipbuilding process was falling victim to federal budget cuts.