To fill the gap in area air defense capability to deal
with longer-range threats left by the removal of HMCS
Athabaskan from service, the RCN will be relying primarily on the U.S. Navy in a coalition group, Lloyd said.
The other capability gap that the RCN needs help
from allies to fill centers on at-sea refueling and supply,
Canada has taken out of service its two aging supply
vessels, HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver, both of
which are more than 40 years old.
Protecteur was severely damaged by a fire while sailing off the coast of Hawaii in February 2014. An extensive assessment of the ship concluded it was damaged
beyond economical repair.
Preserver was being taken out of service because
corrosion degraded the structural integrity of the ship
below acceptable limits, the RCN noted.
Both of the supply vessels carried fuel, food and
ammunition for warships. They also provided medical services and helicopter support and maintenance
To fill the gap, the RCN is leasing supply ships at particular times from the Spanish and Chilean navies, Lloyd
said. That process began in 2015 and continued this year.
He said the RCN once again is looking to use the
Chilean and Spanish supply ships in 2017 and will
decide then on whether it will need access to the ves-
sels beyond that period.
In addition, the RCN will receive in the fall of 2017
what is known as an interim supply ship, he said.
That vessel is a commercial tanker being converted for
military use and leased from a Canadian firm, Federal
Under a lease arrangement, replenishment-at-sea
systems such as fuel lines would be installed, along
with RCN communications systems to be operated by
Navy personnel onboard.
Contractors would operate the ships for at least the
first year, but they would eventually be replaced by
The lease would run for five years, with an option
after that to extend on a yearly basis for a total of another five years. The conversion project and lease of the
vessel is estimated to cost about 700 million Canadian
dollars ($530 million).
Federal Fleet Services has offered a second ship
for conversion, but the Canadian government has not
acted on that proposal at this point.
Lloyd said the RCN still is trying to determine
where to station the interim supply and refueling ship
but it is leaning toward having the vessel on the west
coast of Canada to support its Pacific operations. n
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 54 SEAPOWER / NOVEMBER 2016
Vice Adm. Ron Lloyd, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, middle, speaks with Cmdr. Clive Butler, left, commanding
officer of the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Vancouver, while sailing during the Rim of the Pacific exercise July 17.