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Rebuilding a smaller mid sized Navy

This is a discussion on Rebuilding a smaller mid sized Navy within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; ^Canada's role isn't really shore bombardment though, and many if not all of the OPV's will have small guns. If ...


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Old July 4th, 2010   #16
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^Canada's role isn't really shore bombardment though, and many if not all of the OPV's will have small guns.

If we take the $35/$36 billion budget, rather than blowing it on frigates and cruisers of the current mix, it could go a long way. Let's say (just speculation):

$3billion x 6 - $18 billion for the helicopter/uav/command motherships
$500m x 36 = $18 billion for the non-helicopter OPV's / corvettes.

Canadian shipyards would be more than capable of building these as well, and would keep them busy for some time.

The mix of OPV's would depend on the task force, but I'd expect the arctic task forces would have mainly ASW corvettes as an example (but that wouldn't be as important for the expeditionary task forces). For example:

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The antisubmarine corvette, in contrast to the stretched thin and overworked missile battleships, should be less well armed but very adequate for the mission entailed. No helicopter would be necessary since it will operate in conjunction with other aviation ships (or even long-range planes and UAVs which have greater staying power and endurance than helos), but it does need sonar and sub-killing torpedoes. The key would be to make them affordable enough to acquire in numbers and perform the presence part which a handful of billion-dollar destroyers and frigates can never do.
http://newwars.wordpress.com/2010/06...s-midget-subs/

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Old July 4th, 2010   #17
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Moahunter-

Obviously up to the Canadians what kind of navy they want and wouldn't rule out any of the suggestions here. If they are only looking at coastal patrols then corvettes would be fine. Does Canada have a separate coast guard service? Interestingly believe the Type 22's and 23's were expected to have relatively short hull lives due to heavy Atlantic use. Though later found to be quite resilient in service, should imagine the Type 26 would draw on this experience. Personally don't see why the frigate is so obsolete, some large navies would prefer more frigates to fewer destroyers. Though preferably equipped as multi-role rather than stripped down bags of bolts. Obviously don’t know how well equipped the Type 26 will eventually be, though for the weight would expect it to be carrying something useful.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #18
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Moahunter-

Obviously up to the Canadians what kind of navy they want and wouldn't rule out any of the suggestions here. If they are only looking at coastal patrols then corvettes would be fine. Does Canada have a separate coast guard service? Interestingly believe the Type 22's and 23's were expected to have relatively short hull lives due to heavy Atlantic use. Though later found to be quite resilient in service, should imagine the Type 26 would draw on this experience. Personally don't see why the frigate is so obsolete, some large navies would prefer more frigates to fewer destroyers. Though preferably equipped as multi-role rather than stripped down bags of bolts. Obviously don’t know how well equipped the Type 26 will eventually be, though for the weight would expect it to be carrying something useful.
Do you think the canadains might be interested in something like the LCS? Having a larger amount would really bring down the cost if done wisely. They could get a contract to build some in canadian yard.

I mean to me it seems like a good idea. They have ALOT of coastline and few ships to patrol it all. Plus a ship like the independence would provide a great amphib support ship.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #19
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Although I seem to be pushing the Type 26 a lot again don't want to be leaving anyone’s ship building program off the list. Looks like we could have a real ship builders/designers competition going on here. Would guess the Canadians have a good field to play with.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #20
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Do you think the canadains might be interested in something like the LCS? Having a larger amount would really bring down the cost if done wisely. They could get a contract to build some in canadian yard.

I mean to me it seems like a good idea. They have ALOT of coastline and few ships to patrol it all. Plus a ship like the independence would provide a great amphib support ship.
It is difficult to say. Canada does indeed have a great deal of coastline (longest in the world?) and as the environment changes further, that could become a much greater issue. However, most of the population is concentrated within the first 300 km of the southern border with the US, something like 90% lives within that band. IIRC ~80% of the population actually lives within 160 km of the US border.

The means much of the traffic to and from Canada would be concentrated off the west coast around BC and in the east along the maritime provinces. As the Northwest Passage heats up and becomes ice free for longer stretches of time, that too will require patrolling.

Complicating the issue is the relatively small population base that Canada has to draw upon, vs. the sheer size of Canada and the EEZ.

Now various suggests have been made about frigates being "inappropriate" and suggesting corvettes or something similar for Canada. IMO corvettes are very inappropriate for Canada, and uprating frigates would likely be amongst the best options available.

Within what I expect is the Canadian naval conops, a vessel like a corvette would not really work. Corvettes can vary somewhat in size, displacement, and loadout. With some of the best equipped and largest examples (like the German K130) being essentially smaller versions frigates or destroyers. Given that much of the cost of a warship rests with its systems, a very well fitted-out corvette could cost almost as much as a larger vessel with the same fitout. What this can lead to is a small vessel, with potentially short endurance, which might not handle so well is rough seas, that can pack a considerable 'punch'. Given Canada's position, any naval vessel could have to be operating in either the northern Atlantic or Pacific Oceans in winter. As such, having a vessel that does not fare to well in such situations does not seem like a good idea. In point of fact, AFAIK one of the reasons why the Kingston-class patrol/MCM vessels are being essentially withdrawn is that while they can operate in rough seas, it is very wearing on the crew.

This suggests that any extended patrolling (i.e. not inshore patrolling) would need to be large enough to operate reasonably well in frequent bad weather, and again given Canada's position, some ice strenthening would likely be a plus. This would likely put the lower limit on what would be reasonable into the large OPV/frigate/destroyer scale of vessel. Something that is likely 2,500+ t displacement and 100+ m in length. My suspicions would be that the better options would likely be in the 3,500+ t displacement and 120+ m in length. Given the potential for extended patrolling, it is likely that Canadian surface vessels would often be operating on their own, which would then suggest a General Purpose fitout, able to meet an individual ship's own needs in terms of ASuW, Air Defence and ASW ops, and also able to 'slot in' and contribute to a combined taskforce as needed.

The vessel which comes to mind for something like this would be an upgraded RAN Anzac FFH. Now I do not suggest that Canada choose that particular vessel (MEKO 200) to use, but rather select a vessel that can provide similar capabilities and have additional room for future developments. In the case of the RAN Anzacs, once the CEA-FAR and/or AusPAR get fitted, the design will likely have reached its upper limit in terms of upgrades and development.

I would also recommend that the Canadian maritime force also have a second, likely larger surface combatant which can provide all the same basic capabilities I covered above, but also be suitable to escort important vessels and act as a taskforce leader. In this case, I have something like an Australian AWD, or USN Arleigh Burke (but with additional space for command staff/functions), but a RN Type 45/Daring-class with room for a command staff would also do well.

in terms of vessel numbers, I would tend to disagree with earlier posts by Sea Toby which seemsed to suggest cuts to the number of vessels. Given the vast areas needing coverage, as well as the current and increasing potential for future conflict, then a dozen general vessels and 3-4 command vessels does seem appropriate. A futher consideration, Canada would likely need to have vessels organized into two fleets, one based on the East Coast and the other based on the West Coast. That is part of the driver for numbers, since the separate fleets need sufficient resources to meet their defence and patrolling obligations independently due to issues that are encountered in rotating vessels between the East and West coasts.

Incidentally, I would also recommend replacement of the Victoria/Upholder-class submarines sooner rather than latter. Given issues encountered following their purchase and refit from the UK, IIRC only one is currently available for deployment out of four, with one of them still not having seen deployment following an onboard fire during transit to Canada from the UK. Given similar service needs in terms of fleet submarine ops, I would suggest that Canada partner with Australia and/or Japan for a replacement submarine. That or potentially get out of submarine operations altogether and have an arrangement with the US to provide USN attack subs when needed for training, exercises or escorts.

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Old July 4th, 2010   #21
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UK subs - Thanks for the reminder of course I can't speak for the UK government in that respect. Though I feel the Public were genuinely saddened by the event, it certainly wasn't swept under the carpet by the press at any rate.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #22
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UK subs - Thanks for the reminder of course I can't speak for the UK government in that respect. Though I feel the Public were genuinely saddened by the event, it certainly wasn't swept under the carpet by the press at any rate.
No, it certainly has not been covered up. The issue as I understand it now is that Canada has not been able to complete repairs and any other work deemed necessary to allow (safe) use of the damaged submarine, and has for one reason or another had issues keeping the others in service. Given how long ago the purchase and fire was, that suggests to me that either Canada is looking to stop operating subs, has found significant issues with the subs themselves, and/or no longer has much of the support infrastructure needed to perform upkeep on the subs.

Now assuming that Canada is not looking to exit sub ops, the two other countries which can manufacture diesel subs of a size and type that Canada would likely be looking for are the two I mentioned, Japan and Australia. AFAIK the UK has not designed or built a diesel sub since the Upholders, and the yards are now configured to manufacture just nuke subs. The US is in a similar situation, but it has been considerably longer since a US diesel was constructed.

Sweden, Germany, France and Spain all still having diesel building programmes, but most of those designs appear more suited to short-ranged, comparatively shallow water ops like in the Mediterreanean, North of Baltic Seas. As such, these designs might not have the desired combinations of range, endurance, speed and diving depth that Canada might want.

Of course, this is all dependent on Canada wanting to continue operating subs, which remains to be seen.

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Old July 4th, 2010   #23
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Obviously I can't speak out for the UK government so pointless jumping down my throat on the subject. Of course if Canada wants diesel subs it should speak to the French not the UK.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #24
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Todjaeger,

I'm assuming that the current problems with the Upholder/Victoria stem from:

- Some of the Submarines never completing their sea trials before being decommissioned.
- Lack of Infrastructure for supporting submarines in Canada. (due to only having operational post 1998)
- Sitting in storage tied up at a wharf for 6-8 years.

??

Two of those problems would have been nonexistant had the Canadians accepted the Submarines when they were first offered.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #25
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Two of those problems would have been nonexistant had the Canadians accepted the Submarines when they were first offered.
True, but it was still a debacle, the submarines should have been properly inspected, then turned down.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #26
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True, but it was still a debacle, the submarines should have been properly inspected, then turned down.
No, most of the problems are related to them never receiving post sea trials rectification as they never entered full service. Those problems were then compounded because of the time spent tied up at dock.

Add in Combat systems that are now 18 or so years old....

That is the problem.

If the Canadians had accepted the subs in 1993 or 1994, had the trials problems fixed, and then put them into service while progressively withdrawing their old Oberons, they should have been fine.

Remember, someone here (you?) suggested cooperation with Australia on their replacements, well, the Collins class have hardly been troubless either.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #27
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For Frigates would not something based on the Spanish F100 be more appropriate?
Maybe but Canada helped develop the APAR system so I'd bet that would be the preferred system.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #28
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Based on objectives

There is quite a variety of approaches, lets try to bring some structure in it.

What are the objectives of the Canadian Navy?

I think they can be divided into two groups, with subgroups each (no claims of being complete):

I. Objectives of necessity
1. Defence (against real adversary)
a) AAW
b) ASW
c) ASuW
aso

2. Border Patrol (ie in Canadian Waters)
a) Surveillance (mostly done by aircraft)
b) Controls, Boarding with minimal or no resistance
c) light ASuW against non complying ships
aso


II. Objectives of choice
1. Expeditionary (including land forces)
a) Invasions (training)
b) Humanitarian Aid (PR)
aso

2. Show of Flag
a) Pirates, Terrorism, similar - like Border Patrol with a little higher chance of resistance (PR, training)
b) Port visits (PR)
c) non expeditionary Aid (PR)
aso


Now the priorities
I.1. Defence

Being the northern border of the US, every invasion like attack or even attempts to bully Canada certainly brings the US into the game (and if the US is the bully there isnt much you can do anyway). Given the para... US military attitude (to be worried if any other country has more than 1/10th the US military strength or so) and the US econ power, there is not much to worry about.

Maybe some token force for PR and FR (foreign relations, eg with the US), but not much.

2-3 Frigates should be token enough, they can be primarily used for maneuvers and port visits, so that the money is not totally wasted
Todjeagers proposed improved RAN Anzac FFH is really a nice concept for that
It fulfills the token defence role quite well and because of the long range it can be used for far away maneuvers and port visits without so many logistical problems

I.2. Border Patrol
Given the large coast and the most likely soon available northwestern passage, this becomes very important.

Endurance, range, coverage and mobility are important as well as the specific environmental concerns like ice-robustness. So a large corvette would be nice, with a 76mm main gun for deterrence of boarding resistance, UAV capability for surveillance, and maybe some very basic AAW euipment.
Since not much else is required a whole bunch of those can be ordered, thus making an indigenous, specifically fitting design an option.



II.1. Expeditionary
Really not needed. The Aid PR is nice, but Canada is far away from anyone who would need aid from expeditionary forces.
If the PR is really wanted, just forward deploy a ship specialized on humanitarian aid to the US caribbean cost => relatively predictable, quite frequent and close by customers (low fuel costs)

A ship with medical facilities and helo capacity, somewhere around 10' t displacement. Only one needed, maintanence intervals not in the hurricane/main customer season and it should be fine.

II.2. Show of Flag
a) Pirates, Terrorism, similar

Also not necessary, but strong in-group effects. Some moderate engagement would be nice, but fast diminishing marginal earnings from investment. After some basic commitment, proper spin control yields much higher returns on investment.

A task forces based on moahunters concept would be fine. Although they could be much cheaper, since no pirate or terrorist or smuggler has real ASuW capabilies or real subs or an airforce.
The motherships should be able to carry a stack of helos (light ones are enough, no ASW potential required, 1.5-3 t helos are quite right, if some rare boarding by helo needs to be done, just send 2 or 3 of them, add a .50 cal and a sensor package for surveillance) and have some self defence weapons, not more than 10' t needed, preferably far less. 3-4 smaller vessels but with accomodation and endurcance for some days are good, each having 1 or two rigid hull inflatables and basic armament like a 25mm and some .50. 1000 t or more would be overkill.

b) Port visits
The same as above, some basic involvement, after that its spin control and marketing.

The token frigates are nice for that. Out of season the Humanitarian Aid ship can be used as well.

c) non expeditionary Aid (PR)
Some transport capacity, some anti-oil-spill-ships aso
Nice to have, especially because the equipment can be used at home, should the need arise.
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Old July 4th, 2010   #29
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Yea i realise now it would be wise to have a large frigate class. Canadians have some waters that are down right NASTY to sail in/patrol.


To me Canadian Naval vessels probably should have a frigate class that does 2 things very well.

ASW and AAW the larger vessels handle C&C and such as was suggested. Me being a big fan of the burke and the pluses of canada operating them (cuts cost for us and you in supply as well as ease of combining forces) would suggest get a 3 or 4 Flight III burkes. Most of the design will be proven and you'll already have a force using and solving any problems that would come with a new vessel. Also with us having well 20 or so cost for purchasing a vessel of that size would go down.

Me im not a huge fan of the LCS program. I kinda like the idea of us adapting some of the technology of the LCS-1 and LCS-2 to a new frigate class dedicated to ASW.

Maybe a compromise between a modular ship and a traditional one. Common hull form and parts eccept for the systems for missions.

That way you could get the Canadian frigates and we could have frigates for patrol, ASW, Minehunting and light AAW.

Just a thought.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #30
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Todjaeger,

I'm assuming that the current problems with the Upholder/Victoria stem from:

- Some of the Submarines never completing their sea trials before being decommissioned.
- Lack of Infrastructure for supporting submarines in Canada. (due to only having operational post 1998)
- Sitting in storage tied up at a wharf for 6-8 years.

??

Two of those problems would have been nonexistant had the Canadians accepted the Submarines when they were first offered.
My understanding is that the Upholder-class in RN service had some problems initially, and saw the first three vessels refitted between 1992-1993. The class itself was retired from RN service towards the end of 1994 and I was under the impression that much if not all the issues the Upholder-class subs had, had been rectified by then. The reason then RN retired them from service after just 4 years had nothing to do with the subs being 'lemons' rather the RN was moving towards an all nuclear sub force like the USN had done years earlier.

About four years later, the Canadian Maritime Force chose the ex-RN Upholders which were mothballed, as the replacement for Canadian Oberon-class submarines. Now, I could be mistaken on this, but my impression of what I have read about the Canadian submarine purchase is that the subs were reconditioned by British yards after the selection, with the intent on getting the subs back into service sufficiently to have them transit to Canada, where any/all desired refitting and modernization could be completed. Things had gone fairly well until the last sub, the HMCS Chicoutimi (ex-Upholder), had a fire aboard. The fire had apparently started as a result of seawater getting into the sub via some open hatches and causing a short and then electrical fire in some of the wiring. Wiring itself was made to an older standard than the other subs due to the ex-Upholder having been the lead ship in the class, and was therefore 15 years old at the time. Since then, there have apparently been revisions made to Canadian sub operating procedure.

Now, as to why out of four submarines only one is available for service and the other three remain in drydock, I have little in the way of facts. I readily admit though I have some suspicions as to what is going on. If there are any that do have additional facts and can share them, please do so.

There are two keys areas of which I am suspicious of. The first being the decline of the Canadian ship building and repair industry. I am uncertain just how many yard workers Canada has with the appropriate skill sets available to work on repairing, replacing and/or upgrading the submarines various systems.

My main suspect though, is political interference.

Changes in the party in power have previously led to cancellations in important (and needed) equipment replacement programmes. The Sea King replacement programme comes to mind. IIRC the Canadian government had signed a contract for a version of the EH-101 Merlin in ~1993. Shortly afterwards there was a change in government and the incoming Prime Minister cancelled the order, and Canada had to pay penalties as a result. This kept the Sea Kings (some three decades old) in the air at a time when they were starting to show their respective ages. Ultimately another version of the EH-101 Merlin was ordered, but it was not until around 2004 (a decade after the prior order) that deliveries began. And it was only when it was basically proven that Canada could not keep the Sea Kings safely flying in the air that the second replacement order was allowed.

Given the amount of time that Canada has had some of the Victoria-class submarines, ranging anywhere from 5 years to a decade, the fact that only one of the four has received sufficient upgrade and moderization work to get it out of drydock and back into service suggests to me that one of a few things is going on.

The subs themselves are in very bad shape. This is a possibility, but if this was the case, that I would lay the fault squarely at the feet of the Canadian government. Just four years prior to Canada selecting the Upholders as their replacement submarines, one of the RN Upholders completed a six month deployment to the Indian Ocean, and returned just before the class was striken from RN service. This means that the subs would only have been in mothballs by the RN for four years prior to Canada taking a look at them. Either the Canadian inspects missed some very significant things (which had only ~4 years to breakdown), or any breakdowns, wear, etc began after they were taken into Canadian service.

Or IMO more likely, the Canadian government has not been able to decide just exactly what they want to do with regards to having a submarine force. Without that guidance, the Maritime Command cannot determine what sorts of systems and modifications the Victoria-class submarines need and therefore the cost, and without having some idea of the cost, Maritime Command it not in a position to request or fight for money to complete the upgrades. Nevermind whether Government would even be interested in funding any repair and modernization work.

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