The Canadian Surface Combatant still is a decade away from being operational, but the warships that will form the backbone of Canada’s future
naval fleet already are sailing into rough waters.
Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) officers, both serving
and retired, as well as defense analysts have voiced
concerns that a lack of proper funding either will mean
fewer ships or reduced capabilities on those that are to
be built. That outcome could mean that the RCN
would be limited in the roles it can perform.
Initial work on the Canadian Surface Combatant, or
CSC, has started. Potential warship designers and companies hoping to bid on handling the combat systems
integration on the vessels were required to submit their
names to the Canadian government in August so it
could be determined whether they are qualified to
work on the project.
That will result in a short list of potential bidders on
the 26. 2 billion Canadian dollar ($19 billion) CSC
project. After that, proposals will be formally requested
“The next milestone under the Canadian Surface
Combatant project is the launch of the selection process
with the release of the Request for
Proposals expected in 2016,” said
Jessica Kingsbury, a spokeswoman
for Public Works and Government
Services Canada, the government
department overseeing defense pro-
The selection of the winning
firm to handle combat systems
integration, as well as the company
to design the warship, is expected
to be made in 2017. Construction
on the ships would begin sometime after 2020.
Vice Adm. Mark Norman, head
of the Royal Canadian Navy, has
said the CSC will be “the jewel in
the crown” of the country’s future maritime force.
The vessels will replace the RCN’s Iroquois-class
destroyers and Halifax-class frigates.
The CSC will consist of two variants, the first being
the Area Air Defense and Task Group Command and
Control variant to replace the Iroquois-class. The second will be a General Purpose CSC variant designed to
replace the Halifax-class frigates.
In March, RCN Capt. Rich Feltham, director of naval
major crown projects, outlined some of the proposed
capabilities for industry representatives. Core capabilities for the CSC would include anti-submarine warfare,
anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime interdic-
tion operations and naval fire support. The ships also
would carry the Cyclone CH-148 maritime helicopter
being built for Canada by Sikorsky. In addition, the ves-
sels would carry maritime remote autonomous systems.
The area air defense command and control capabil-
ities would include 3D Long-Range Surveillance capa-
bility, fighter control and an embarked Task Group
Command Staff with supporting communications.
The ships will be based on a common hull design.
The CSC likely will not require more personnel than
The Jewel in the Crown’
Cost, capability concerns for planned
centerpiece of Canada’s future naval fleet
By DAVID PUGLIESE, Special Correspondent
The Canadian Surface Combatant, or CSC, will replace the Royal
Canadian Navy’s Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class frigates.
; Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) officers and defense analysts
say funding issues may mean cost/capability trade-offs or fewer
CSCs being built.
; The RCN hopes to follow the process similar to that used in
building the U.S. littoral combat ship, which employs various mission modules and modular ship design.
; Support for the CSC program may come from new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has indicated he wants a robust Navy.