Royal Cana­dian Navy's Tran­si­tion to the Fu­ture Fleet

RCN News - - Contents -

The Royal Cana­dian Navy (RCN) is in the midst of the most in­ten­sive and com­pre­hen­sive pe­riod of fleet mod­ern­iza­tion and re­newal in its peace­time his­tory, touch­ing upon all el­e­ments of the fleet.

This pe­riod of tran­si­tion in­cludes the mod­ern­iza­tion of its 12 Hal­i­fax-class frigates, the up­com­ing re­tire­ment of two Pro­tecteur-class re­plen­ish­ment ships and two Iro­quois-class de­stroy­ers, and the pro­cure­ment of three new classes of ships, in­clud­ing the Joint Support Ships (JSS), the Arc­tic/Off­shore Pa­trol Ships (AOPS) and the Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ants (CSC), as well as the in­te­gra­tion of new mar­itime air­craft into fleet ser­vice.

Dur­ing this in­tense pe­riod of tran­si­tion, the RCN will be able to count on its mod­ern­ized Hal­i­fax -class frigates, Vic­to­ria-class sub­marines and Kingston-class ves­sels to carry out the tasks and mis­sions set by the Gov­ern­ment of Canada.

The mod­ern­iza­tion of the Hal­i­fax-class frigates rep­re­sents an in­vest­ment of $4 bil­lion, and the Na­tional Ship­build­ing Pro­cure­ment Strat­egy (NSPS) rep­re­sents an in­vest­ment of $36.6 bil­lion for the re­cap­i­tal­iza­tion of the fed­eral sur­face fleet dur­ing the com­ing decades.

The RCN has a plan in place to ad­dress the many chal­lenges of tran­si­tion, in­clud­ing the need to main­tain ex­cel­lence in op­er­a­tions, to de­liver the fu­ture fleet and to pre­pare the RCN for the new ca­pa­bil­i­ties and tech­nolo­gies that will be de­liv­ered through the NSPS over the next decade and beyond.

Re­tire­ment of legacy fleet

As part of its tran­si­tion to the fu­ture fleet, the RCN is ac­cel­er­at­ing the planned re­tire­ments of four ships that are fast ap­proach­ing or have al­ready reached the end of their op­er­a­tional lives. The ships in ques­tion have all served Canada and the RCN with honor and dis­tinc­tion.

Ca­pa­bil­ity gaps mit­i­ga­tion

The re­tire­ments of th­ese ships will gen­er­ate some loss in both ca­pac­ity and ca­pa­bil­ity for the RCN. Th­ese losses, how­ever, will be mit­i­gated in the short-to-medium term as the RCN builds to­ward the fu­ture fleet.

Task Group Com­mand and Con­trol will be man­aged through the use of the first four mod­ern­ized Hal­i­fax -class frigates, which will have an en­hanced com­mand and con­trol ca­pa­bil­ity. The des­ig­nated ships are HMC Ships Hal­i­fax, Cal­gary, Fred­er­ic­ton, and Win­nipeg. The tran­si­tion in Area Air De­fence ca­pa­bil­ity will be mit­i­gated through Canada-US and NATO de­fence ar­range­ments. The RCN is also cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing op­tions to mit­i­gate the Re­plen­ish­ment at Sea ca­pa­bil­ity gap in or­der to sus­tain Cana­dian war­ships un­til the ar­rival of the Joint Support Ships in 2019.

The with­drawal of th­ese ships from ac­tive ser­vice is a nat­u­ral step to­wards the in­tro­duc­tion of new ships and ca­pa­bil­i­ties set to be de­liv­ered through the Na­tional Ship­build­ing Pro­cure­ment Strat­egy over the com­ing years.

Mar­itime Equip­ment Mod­ern­iza­tion

Sta­ble and pre­dictable fund­ing to the Depart­ment of Na­tional De­fence and the Cana­dian Armed Forces (CAF) helps en­sure that the RCN has what they re­quire to mon­i­tor and de­fend Cana­dian wa­ters, and to con­trib­ute to in­ter­na­tional naval op­er­a­tions well into the 21st cen­tury. The Gov­ern­ment of Canada has made the fol­low­ing in­vest­ments in the mod­ern­iza­tion of mar­itime equip­ment:

· Un­der the Hal­i­fax-class Mod­ern­iza­tion (HCM) / Frigate Equip­ment Life Ex­ten­sion (FELEX) pro­gram, the Hal­i­fax-class frigates are un­der­go­ing a mod­ern­iza­tion and mid-life re­fit to en­sure that they con­tinue to op­er­ate ef­fec­tively as the back­bone of the navy fleet. The frigate mod­ern­iza­tion in­cludes a new com­mand-and-con­trol sys­tem, new radar ca­pa­bil­ity, a new elec­tronic war­fare sys­tem and up­graded com­mu­ni­ca­tions and mis­siles.

· The CAF is ex­pected to take for­mal de­liv­ery of the CH-148 Cy­clone - Block 1 air­craft no later than June 2015. Th­ese he­li­copters will have a level of op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity that will al­low the tran­si­tion and re­tire­ment of the Sea Kings. The fi­nal fleet will be at the fore­front of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy with one of the most ca­pa­ble mar­itime he­li­copters in the world.

· The CP-140 Aurora is, and will con­tinue to be, a valu­able as­set to the CAF. The on­go­ing life-ex­ten­sion and mod­ern­iza­tion projects will en­sure that the fleet of 14 Au­ro­ras re­main a world leader in its un­der­sea com­bat, mar­itime pa­trol, and over­land surveil­lance roles.

· The Navy’s mod­ern­iza­tion pe­riod in­cludes the an­tic­i­pated re­turn of HMCS Chicoutimi to sub­ma­rine-fleet ser­vice later in 2014, mean­ing the RCN will have achieved steady-state for its sub­ma­rine fleet, when three of its four Vic­to­ria-class sub­marines are avail­able for op­er­a­tions.

· The build­ing of the first Joint Support Ship (JSS) is ex­pected to start in the 2016-2017 time­frame, in keep­ing with the ex­ist­ing sched­ule. The next ma­jor step in the JSS project is the ne­go­ti­a­tion of the Def­i­ni­tion con­tract. This will en­able Van­cou­ver Ship­yards Co. Ltd. to fully re­view the proven, off-the-shelf ship de­sign from ThyssenKrupp Marine Sys­tems Canada, se­lected in June 2013.

· The def­i­ni­tion con­tract for the Arc­tic Off­shore Pa­trol Ships (AOPS) was signed in March 2013. This con­tract will be fol­lowed by a con­struc­tion con­tract in 2015, and the pro­gram is on track to start cut­ting steel in 2015. De­liv­ery of the first AOPS is cur­rently ex­pected for 2018. In ad­di­tion, the con­struc­tion con­tract for the Nani­sivik Naval Fa­cil­ity was awarded on June 26, 2014 and the fa­cil­ity is fore­casted to be op­er­a­tional in 2018.

· The Cana­dian Sur­face Com­bat­ant (CSC) project is mov­ing for­ward and cur­rently in the de­sign phase. The CSC will re­cap­i­tal­ize the Royal Cana­dian Navy's sur­face com­bat­ant fleet by re­plac­ing and up­dat­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties found in both the Iro­quois-class de­stroy­ers and the Hal­i­fax-class frigates. This project will de­liver ships ca­pa­ble of meet­ing mul­ti­ple threats in both the open ocean and the highly com­plex coastal en­vi­ron­ment.

The last Bay Class minesweeper in naval ser­vice, TCG Terme (ex-HMCS Quinte) was de­com­mis­sioned and sold for scrap in Turkey in 2013.

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