The ships will be designed for
conducting patrols off Canada’s
east and west coasts, as well as provide a significant presence in the
Arctic during the summer months,
The A/OPS will have a range of
at least 6,800 nautical miles and a
speed of at least 17 knots. There
will be accommodation for a 45-
member crew and 40 mission personnel. The ships will have ice
capability and be equipped with a
The first ship is expected to be
delivered in 2015, carrying out its
initial Arctic patrol the following
year. The last of the ships would be
delivered in 2021.
The main project for both Irving
and the RCN, however, is the construction of the Canadian Surface
Combatant. The 15 vessels will
replace Canada’s three Iroquois-class destroyers and 12 Halifax-class frigates.
While the ships will be based on
a common hull design, the frigate
and destroyer variants will be
equipped with different weapons, communications, surveillance and other systems, according to RCN officers.
The first group of Canadian Surface Combatants
will be outfitted with air defense and command-and-control capabilities, allowing them to replace the
Iroquois-class ships. Later groups will replace the
Halifax-class frigates, which are multirole vessels, handling anti-submarine duties, as well as combating surface and air threats.
A contract for the Surface Combatant program is
expected to be signed in 2015, with delivery of the first
ship in 2021. The final ship in the fleet would be delivered in 2035.
Commodore Daniel Sing, director general of maritime force development, told industry representatives
at the Canadian Association of Defence and Security
Industries’ naval outlook seminar on June 16 in Ottawa
that the ships would be capable of open-ocean and littoral employment. Open-ocean missions would involve
dealing with anti-ship missiles, submarines and anti-ship ballistic missiles, he said. Littoral operations
would include addressing shore-based threats and shallow water anti-submarine warfare.
The RCN hopes to follow a process that is similar to the
U.S. Littoral Combat Ship, which employs various mission
ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY
The Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal, center, leads a formation followed
by the frigates HMCS Charlottetown, left, and HMCS Fredericton, right, during
a Task Group Exercise in the Atlantic Ocean Nov. 3, 2010. The Canadian
Surface Combatant program will build replacements for all 12 Halifax-class
frigates and three Iroquois-class destroyers.
modules and a modular design, for the Surface
Combatant. RCN spokesman Lt. Brian Owens said the
service has conducted an options analysis on the Surface
Combatant project, as well as a market survey of the currently available warship.
Defense analyst Eric Lerhe, a former RCN commodore, said a common hull design will help reduce
costs associated with spare parts, maintenance and
training. Building the ships over such a lengthy period
also allows for new technology to be installed in ships
produced later in the process.
“For the first batch of ships, you can go low-risk,
basic current technology,” Lerhe said. “The next batch
might bring in electrical propulsion, the next batch rail
guns, if they are developed by then.”
In January, Canada and Britain looked at cooperating
on a surface combatant, but the RCN concluded that
Canada’s specific needs would make it too difficult and
expensive for both nations to share the same design.
For the noncombat ships, Vancouver Shipyards will
focus first on the construction of an offshore oceanographic science vessel to replace the Canadian Coast
Guard’s largest science vessel, CCGS Hudson. The government expects the new ship in service by 2014.
Three offshore fisheries science vessels also will be