The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) plans to keep its hips at sea longer in forward deployments as it maintains its global presence and contributions
to international operations at a time of tight budgets.
The strategy put together by RCN Commander Vice.
Adm. Mark Norman would see an increased use of the
Halifax-class frigates and Victoria-class submarines. The
platforms would be kept in forward-operating locations
on international missions for longer periods. To do that,
the RCN intends to swap crews, allowing the warships to
continue to operate thousands of miles from Canada
“I believe the time has come to accept the logic that
a globally deployable navy of Canada’s size needs to
rotate its ships’ companies more often than it rotates its
ships,” Norman said in an October speech at the
Maritime Security Challenges conference in Victoria,
“I do see it as a path forward,” he later explained to
Seapower at the same conference. “It’s less like the traditional [path] of one ship, one crew.
“It’s a question of how we use what we have,” he
added. “There’s some really positive things coming out
of this in terms of how we manage
the fleet, how we generate the
capabilities that are essential to
excellence at sea.”
At the same time, the RCN is
putting in place the technical and
logistics capability to support such
extended international deploy-
ments, Norman told Seapower.
On Jan. 10, senior RCN officers
met with unions representing civil-
ian dockyard workers to outline
plans for making more use of indus-
try contractors for in-service sup-
port of the service’s fleets in the
future. Among the proposals was a
plan to create mobile repair teams
made up of both private contractors and Department of
National Defence civilian staff. Such teams could be used
in foreign ports to work on forward-deployed ships.
But the RCN’s international engagement strategy
does not stop at naval platforms.
Norman is looking at having capabilities such as the
RCN’s boarding parties play a greater role on international deployments. But the RCN commander and
other officers noted that such teams do not have to be
assigned to a specific ship as they are now.
The Navy’s boarding capability has grown significantly over the last 10 years, and they could be
assigned to allied ships or used to train navies from
smaller allied nations, RCN officers point out.
As part of that, the RCN also is developing an Advanced Naval Boarding Party (ANBP) capability. Previously, the service’s boarding teams were capable of conducting basic obstructed boardings. The new capability
will be designed to deal with increased threats and
opposed boardings, roles once handled by Canada’s special
forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police tactical units.
Initial training began last fall for the ANBP’s maritime
tactical operators, who will be skilled in hand-to-hand
Canada’s deployment strategy would see
RCN ships at sea longer, crews rotated
By DAVID PUGLIESE, Special Correspondent
Vice Adm. Mark Norman, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) commander, envisions ships operating forward for longer periods on international missions.
; Norman is looking at RCN boarding parties to play a greater
role in international deployments.
; The RCN also is developing an Advanced Naval Boarding
Party capability, designed to deal with increased threats and
; One major hurdle the RCN faces with the international engagement strategy is its lack of an at-sea supply capability.