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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; Originally Posted by Todjaeger Or IMO more likely, the Canadian government has not been able to decide just exactly what ...


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Old July 5th, 2010   #31
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Originally Posted by Todjaeger View Post

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.

-Cheers
Yeap, seems like they are lacking an even remotely credible threat scenario for subs (or anything aside from border control).



Just want to improve my suggestion:
The small ships in the taskforce can also be made up of the locally used corvettes, better gain the training effect and to increase the PR relevance. Since the tasks are similar in nature training on the platform used at home would certainly give benefits. Also the PR effect is stronger, because the public will recognize the ships and agrees to their overall usefulness if seen in action.
That would be worth the additional price tag.

Then the mothership. As stated, only one is needed, but somehow forgot to say why.
The key is cooperation with Australia or similar.
One time Australia sends its mothership (preferably of same type) and Canada the smaller vessels, next time it is done the other way round. The result is increased training potential with allies, and for the same reason better PR stressing the international force structure aso and although only one task force is used, the flag is alway there.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #32
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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.
The LCS is unsuitable for protecting Canada's coasts.

1. Most of Canada's coastline is Arctic. Neither LCS design is suitable for Arctic use. Too fragile, too little endurance.
2. Most of Canada's coastline does not need to be defended against the threats LCS is designed to combat. It needs coast guard type protection.
3. LCS is crazily expensive, & any cost-reduction measures will still leave it far more expensive than the other options. It costs as much as a frigate. One could buy all four currently ordered Spanish Rayo-class OPVs (BAM), plus helicopters to put on them, for the cost of one LCS. Ice-hardened long-endurance Arctic patrol vessels such as the Danish Thetis class are also relatively cheap, & far more suited to patrolling in Canadian waters than LCS.
4. I don't see how LCS could be useful in any amphibious operations Canada might undertake. I think you should explain this - referencing Canadian circumstances, policies & capabilities.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #33
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Threat matrix for frigates and above

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Originally Posted by Belesari View Post

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.

Just a thought.
While I think the Burkes are a good concept for US objectives, which are rather global in nature with a totally different matrix of possible and percieved threats I think the added value of a 9' t vessel over a vessel half that displacement for the Canadian navy is not worth the costs.
In the token role as well as the port visit role it would be nicer, but for what costs? The real value would come from the specific relationship with the US (supporting their industry, ease of integration/joint maneuvers). But that would be totally a decision for political reasons.



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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 Kingston class is a good starting point for a newer indigenous class of vessels taking the new situation (Northwest Passage) into account. But I dont understand why such a vessel should have real ASuW, AAW and ASW capabilities.
Which threats does Canada face now and in the foreseeable future requiring more than 2-4 ships capable of those missions.


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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.
Same question as above. Whats the threat matrix requiring command vessels?

For a dozen of your general vessels and the 3-4 command vessels, a few dozen smaller and patrol-focused ships could be operated.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #34
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I can see one function which is speed in an LCS-like vessel that Canada could need.

Last I heard, Canada is still a member of NATO. Primary obligation would be to shift troops from Canada to NATO required battlegrounds ie cross atlantic rather than pacific.

Ideally, that vessel would be fast with adequate range and good lift, protected by fast escorts with similar range.

Problem is most amph are either fast with short legs or slow with good legs.

One possible candidate is the JHSV which has good range at ~4700nm with good load (300+ pax + 40 crew) but at lower speeds (25kts). Atlantic crossing in under 4 days. At faster speeds, range drops to 1200nm which isn't very useful where Canada's requirements are probably concerned. Also a factor, sea state limitation to 3 which rules atlantic crossing out.

Even at 25kts, MARCOM will need new escorts cos the Halifaxes can't keep up. That's probably why the navy is looking at the slower Mistrals. Reduced crew with good lift capacity. Even the Albions/San Antonios seem to have larger crews but the Mistrals don't come cheap.

Personally, I would rather restart Canada's shipbuilding with a number of cheaper LPDs rather than go for the bigger helo ships.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #35
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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....
-Cheers
Can you expand on this? What is being done with them?

AFAIK they're fairly new, & could be sold to another navy, if not wanted.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #36
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I can see one function which is speed in an LCS-like vessel that Canada could need.

Last I heard, Canada is still a member of NATO. Primary obligation would be to shift troops from Canada to NATO required battlegrounds ie cross atlantic rather than pacific.

Ideally, that vessel would be fast with adequate range and good lift, protected by fast escorts with similar range.

Problem is most amph are either fast with short legs or slow with good legs.

One possible candidate is the JHSV which has good range at ~4700nm with good load (300+ pax + 40 crew) but at lower speeds (25kts). Atlantic crossing in under 4 days. At faster speeds, range drops to 1200nm which isn't very useful where Canada's requirements are probably concerned. Also a factor, sea state limitation to 3 which rules atlantic crossing out.

Even at 25kts, MARCOM will need new escorts cos the Halifaxes can't keep up. That's probably why the navy is looking at the slower Mistrals. Reduced crew with good lift capacity. Even the Albions/San Antonios seem to have larger crews but the Mistrals don't come cheap.

Personally, I would rather restart Canada's shipbuilding with a number of cheaper LPDs rather than go for the bigger helo ships.
The idea of a fast amphib/transport ship is interesting.

It would fit in here:
II. Objectives of choice
1. Expeditionary (including land forces)
a) Invasions (training, FR, maybe PR)

With the NATO ingroup effect it adds foreign relations and maybe PR (but that would be conditional on a lot of factors) to the Invasion mission benefits.

However I did not propose some navy solutions for those missions in previous posts, because NATO engagements did not call for such a solution in the more recent past and most likely will not in the nearer future.
Such invasion euipment was/is almost exclusively "needed" by the US and maybe UK (among NATO members).

as well as here:
II.1.b) Humanitarian Aid (PR)
due to the rapid transport capacity it could relativize Canadas distance from spots where it is usable and more importantly it allows for swift short and medium range sea transport in theatre. eg the aid could be flown close by, where the infrastructure is ok and then picked up and delivered to coastel areas affected without the need for existing infrastructure. That would be quite an asset for such a mission.

and even some II.2.b) Port visits

You pointed out the issues for some JHSV like craft with low range (for Canada) and sea state, and the resolvement of those issues would likely not be worth it for Canada alone since the whole program is based on commercial ferries and would become much more expansive if such heavily reworked.


About the Mistral and similar, I agree that this would be too large and the LPD concept would be more suitable. Although I see no need for more than 10' t the benefits ot the use of an existing platform would probably outweigh a small excess in mass.
Some Foudre or Rotterdam vessel springs to mind.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #37
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Don't forget there are smaller versions of the Mistral designed, such as the Mistral 140... She sealifts a considerably less than a Mistral, troops, vehicles, supplies, and helos... From a flight deck of six to a flight deck of four. I would think the smaller Mistral would be more suitable for humanitarian and peace keeping missions. Canada really needs an indigenous sea lift capacity just to properly move a battalion of its army around. After all Canada does have significantly large islands such as Vancouver and Newfoundland, among others... Such a sea lift ship would be very useful for humanitarian operations in the Caribbean as well...

This is a priority Canada should not shriek anymore than a priority for replenishment vessels... I am sure Canada watched as the Aussies had a most difficult task of intervening in East Timor. Sea lift is very vital for the defense of Canada itself... At the moment a Mistral or a LPD would be more useful than its fleet of twelve City class frigates... Much like the US Canada faces hurricane flattened Caribbean islands humanitarian missions on a yearly basis...

Alike Australia, the carrier they have missed lately is their former sealift carrier... A Mistral or Juan Carlos I would suit their armed forces well.... Either one Mistral or two LPDs are required.... The small island nation of New Zealand is better prepared and equipped with sea lift...

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Old July 5th, 2010   #38
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The Mistral 140 & 160 export variants totally slipped my mind, thank you for the reminder.

Following your post I reconsidered Canadas usability/need for sea lift/amphibious transport.

1. From the humanitarian mission perspective I probably underrated the effect on foreign relations, given Canadas economic and political weight (G7/8).
And since the demand for humanitarian aid wont likely be declining (the contrary seems much more likely), I admit that sea lift/amphibious is probably the best area to spend additional money.

2. However given the previously stated US proximity and need for an unharmed Canada, I do not see any real defence requirements. I think the defence requirements for Australia/New Zealand are very different, because neither is absolutely vital to the US. And although the US would most likely intervene, they are still very far away and thus Australia/New Zealand need much better self-protection capabilities.

But given 1. and available money, I m already in for your proposition of more like 25' t displacement rather than the 10' t or so I supported before.

For the humanitarian mission I see some advantages of 2 smaller ships rather then 1 larger due to availability and possible engagement in 2 theatres. Although I guess the main theatre is in the carribean during the hurricane season, which is relatively predictable.
So here I have no decisive preference and would be fine with either way.

Do you have a preference about 1 larger or 2 smaller vessels for the defense/expeditionary missions?
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Old July 5th, 2010   #39
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Since most of the population and most of the army is based east of the Rockies, one should do just fine. If one is required in the Pacific, a ship can easily pass through the Panama Canal. Its not as if Canada has a large army contingent on its west coast. Frankly, I am not that impressed with the US Army's presence on its west coast either, although there is much more of a presence than Canada...

While Canada has a nice ASW navy, its lacking with sea lift, and their replenishment capability is on its last legs... They have fiddled for years with the JSS, but due to costs have not bought any. I have come to the conclusion since they refuse to afford three JSS, they better proceed immediately with at least two replenishment ships and one Mistral. If at a later date another one of each is affordable, so much the better. But there is a dire need for the first three ships NOW, ASAP...

Its difficult to mention any other needs, when both replenishment and sealift needs are so desperate. Its not so much they need amphibious ships as they need sea lift ships. Keep in mind they have only two railroad passes over the continental divide. A determined enemy could easily with commandoes destroy both routes to reinforce their west coast... Alike the story of the Bridge over the River Kwai...

Last edited by Sea Toby; July 5th, 2010 at 05:30 PM.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #40
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Unless someone is after a half and half land grab would have thought any serious move on Canada would involve nukes. Perhaps Canada should wait and see if Russia gets to build it's first Mistral and get one cheaper. May well have the same or similar electronic systems as the original.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #41
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The Aussies worry it can take a week or more to counter a landing on their northwest coast, far from Perth and Sydney. Tasmania has a right to worry when the ADF had so much difficulty with East Timor... Newfoundland and Vancouver Islands should worry about Canada's sea lift capabilities too, not to mention all of those Arctic islands off Canada's northern coast..I can't imagine anything being more important for Canada's defense forces other than sea lift and replenishment ships at the moment outside of their air force...

Its not WWII anymore and the Cold War has passed. Their ASW navy today appears misguided and needs a new direction and focus... Japan and South Korea have invested in sea lift recently; Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have invested in sea lift as well. Germany is the largest European nation which hasn't invested much in sea lift lately, and should along with several other European nations, if only to match Denmark's capability...
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Old July 5th, 2010   #42
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Its not WWII anymore and the Cold War has passed. Their ASW navy today appears misguided and needs a new direction and focus... Japan and South Korea have invested in sea lift recently; Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have invested in sea lift as well. Germany is the largest European nation which hasn't invested much in sea lift lately, and should along with several other European nations, if only to match Denmark's capability...
After some experiences in the last century the overwhelming majority of germans is now fine with protecting what they have, and only few still want to protect what they want to have against the current owners.
Given the german demographic and budgetary problems, even suggesting real expeditionary capabilities would be political suicide.
And an increasing proportion of the public does not understand for what more than a token military is good for, considering the real world current threat matrix of Germany (ie no threat available, please come back later or fabricate some yourself out of thin air).
Seriously the main reason for the conscript army still existing (just recently scaled back again) is the "irreplacable" (ie very cheap) civil work of the draft dodgers .
So neither the money nor the public support to play around with the rest of the gang.

And the traditional german approach for the humanitarian aid is some huge check (usability of the money not relevant) along with private/specialized orgs.


Back on topic:

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Unless someone is after a half and half land grab would have thought any serious move on Canada would involve nukes. Perhaps Canada should wait and see if Russia gets to build it's first Mistral and get one cheaper. May well have the same or similar electronic systems as the original.
Even half half is impossible to accept for US. Though I cant think of any gov/nation dumb enough to even consider something against Canadian homeland, given the current and foreseeable military power distribution there wouldnt be anything left, with or without nukes.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #43
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Perhaps it is only a matter of perception, though no one will be stepping on UK soil without the risk of being incinerated first (if that makes any sense). The government would have a hard time explaining to the public why it sat on its hands whilst the British public got turned over.
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Old July 5th, 2010   #44
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The smaller Mistral 140 and 160 have 5 helo spots each w up to 750 troops carriage (see official brochure from DCNS).

Its a question of helo force size. If one wants to bring more helos, then smaller and more numerous mistrals 140/160s with more helo spots and helos makes sense.

The LPDs carry less helos (but approx the same number of troops per tonnage). Cost-wise, assuming equal crew complement, its likely cheaper to operate LPDs rather than LHDs due to the fewer helos. If one faces budget constraint, then the LPDs may be a more appropriate choice.

Having said that, the trend appears to be towards LHDs nowadays (need to move the atk helo force as well). With both Spain and France offering locally built ships, I guess it could be attractive to Canada. Don't recall seeing any atk helos though and there's more than enough cyclone carrying platforms...
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Old July 6th, 2010   #45
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The Aussies worry it can take a week or more to counter a landing on their northwest coast, far from Perth and Sydney. Tasmania has a right to worry when the ADF had so much difficulty with East Timor... Newfoundland and Vancouver Islands should worry about Canada's sea lift capabilities too, not to mention all of those Arctic islands off Canada's northern coast..I can't imagine anything being more important for Canada's defense forces other than sea lift and replenishment ships at the moment outside of their air force...

Its not WWII anymore and the Cold War has passed. Their ASW navy today appears misguided and needs a new direction and focus... Japan and South Korea have invested in sea lift recently; Italy, Spain, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom have invested in sea lift as well. Germany is the largest European nation which hasn't invested much in sea lift lately, and should along with several other European nations, if only to match Denmark's capability...
I agree that Canada does not necessarily need specialized ASW vessels, however assuming they get GP frigates/destroyers, they certainly should be capable ASW platforms. Yes, the Cold War threat of vast packs of Red attack boats from the Soviet Union is a thing of the past. However, a number of nations around the world are getting or expanding their submarine fleets. As such, Canadian vessels could potentially face a sub threat in home waters, depending on the who and what of the scenario. It is also possible that there could be a submarine threat faced abroad when the vessel(s) are acting in Canada's national interest.

For example, suppose L'il Kim of North Korea decided that enough was enough and he would settle matters with South Korea, that would be a matter of interest to Canada. Aside from all the issues relating to the involvement of the UN in any potential conflict, there is also the not so litter matter of South Korea being one of Canada's trading partners. Which means that shipping to and/or from Canada (in Canadian hulls or not) could be threatened, which leads to a potential need for patrolling and escorts by Canadian vessels, a possible sub threat, etc.

As I have raised repeatedly at time in various other threads, particularly those involving the NZDF, a military/navy exists to protect the hosting country, and its issues. This means that relevant defence matters exist not only within the landmass, airspace and home waters of the country, but also elsewhere in the world.

Canada needs an overall military capable of defending the air and sea approaches to Canada, as well as being able to meet treaty obligations, maintain goodwill, and also act in the interests of Canada. If Canada was only interested in being able to perform EEZ, fishery and customs patrolling, as well as immigration enforcement, than a large ice-reinforced OPV would likely suffice. However, Canada also has to face the prospect that a time may come where shots have to be fired again in an actual war, which would require something more capable than what amounts to a police boat.

-Cheers
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