Royal Canadian Navy Discussions and updates

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
I believe these boats were constructed in the late 1980s and didn’t enter service until 1991 and were all mothballed by 1995. The RCN didn’t begin to use them until around 2000. The main issue was they didn’t age well during storage. It is still my belief the RCN knew their condition was not optimal but honestly believed if they didn’t push for the acquisition the RCN would have been out of the sub business. Chrétien was ok pi$$ing away 500 million on helicopter cancellations but committing money for new subs...not so much. Four new boats in 2000 would mean a no financial stress replacement in 2035-40 after the fighter replacement and CSC. Chrétien was a senior brown-noser and an advisor to junior.
The Upholder-class was designed to meet a late 1970's RN requirement for a diesel-electric replacement for the Oberon-class subs, with the lead boat being laid down in late 1983 following the selection of the design the month before.

An impression I have formed is that either the subs were wired/built with some obsolescent components, had some build defects, or were "used hard and put away wet," or perhaps even a combination thereof. This impression comes from comments made by GF in the past about an Australian/RAN inspection of the Upholder-class subs when Australia was looking at replacing their O-boats, prior to settling on a (mostly) domestic build of a new sub class.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Yes, I do recall GF’s comments about RAN officers giving the Upholders a look-see and they wanted nothing to do with them. I have said before that I believe the RCN were probably aware their condition was suspect. However, rejecting these boats would have absolutely ended the RCN’s abilities to continue on with this capability. The O-boats were done and the crew skills would have vanished by waiting for 3-6 billion in funding for new boats. The solution was $750 million for used boats knowing full well another 1-2 billion dollars would be needed to get them seaworthy. Canadian smoke and mirrors military procurement at its finest.
 

Redlands18

Active Member
The Upholder-class was designed to meet a late 1970's RN requirement for a diesel-electric replacement for the Oberon-class subs, with the lead boat being laid down in late 1983 following the selection of the design the month before.

An impression I have formed is that either the subs were wired/built with some obsolescent components, had some build defects, or were "used hard and put away wet," or perhaps even a combination thereof. This impression comes from comments made by GF in the past about an Australian/RAN inspection of the Upholder-class subs when Australia was looking at replacing their O-boats, prior to settling on a (mostly) domestic build of a new sub class.
The Collins class was laid down from 1990-1995, the Upholder was Commissioned into the RN in 1991. I do remember reading something on here about the RAN taking a look at them some time after they had been mothballed(incorrectly was the claim) and supposedly took one look and couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Remembering that is not long after the RANs experience with the 2 Newports.
The original plan did call for up to 8 Subs so the RAN may have been looking at them as possible extra Subs not as alternatives to the 6 Collins that had been ordered and laid down.
Just how serious was the RAN in getting the Upholders? I would have real doubts, the RAN would have been probably better off getting 2 more Collins than buying the 4 Upholders and probably cheaper in the long term.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The Upholder-class was designed to meet a late 1970's RN requirement for a diesel-electric replacement for the Oberon-class subs, with the lead boat being laid down in late 1983 following the selection of the design the month before.

An impression I have formed is that either the subs were wired/built with some obsolescent components, had some build defects, or were "used hard and put away wet," or perhaps even a combination thereof. This impression comes from comments made by GF in the past about an Australian/RAN inspection of the Upholder-class subs when Australia was looking at replacing their O-boats, prior to settling on a (mostly) domestic build of a new sub class.
The Upholders had their fair share of problems, while in the UK.
The first 3 couldn't fire torpedos until they were refitted. (The Case for More Collins Class Subs – Quadrant Online)
Also during trials upholder lost power surfacing (https://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/disp_old_pdf.cfm?ARC_ID=1831). It was really in the process of bringing these submarines to FOC that the decision was made to shelve them. So they may not have completely solved all design/operational issues.

That paper also specifies how the maintenance cost of the submarines during negotiations also broke down between the UK and Canada and may partly explain why maintenance became a very low priority for the UK after 1995 as they felt that Canada was not close to closing, possibly (IMO) as a bargaining tactic. Canada went cold. Other nations then became front runners (Pakistan,Portugal, then later a combined South Africa, Chile), until 5 years later Canada regained its interest.

Regarding maintenance at this time:
“except for the electrical power fed from shore to demonstrate the electronic systems to prospective customers, the vessels were just soaking up the sun and the salt water"
https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National Office/2013/06/ThatSinkingFeeling.pdf

There were issues that popped up when pressed back in to service often a combination of design and maintence.
Four submarines and a funeral* – Canadian Naval Review

Australia actually assessed a Vickers bid (2400A) for the Collins class, but Vickers UK didn't seem particular hungry for the project and the 2400A was a significant modification (over 20% larger). They would have been built locally, Vickers had an Australian Subsidiary at Garden Island that had done tremendous work maintain the Oberons. The 2400A proposal was more modules built in the UK for Australian assembly rather than a completely sovereign build. Australia had submariners seconded to the RN and on the Upholders that later came back to the RAN. (How Kockums was Selected for the Collins Class Submarine – Parliament of Australia)

Later when Australia was after more submarines, the Upholders were reassessed and rejected. They were in poor material state, as from 95 onwards they received bare minimum maintenance to keep them afloat at moorings not to keep them operational. Obviously by the late 1990's the technology fitted to them was older than even Collins and different. It was assessed, even if free, they weren't good value for the RAN and would take money away from other things including the six subs.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
THE THREAD IS REOPENED. ANY DISCUSSION OF FUTURISTIC / FANTASY SUBMARINES FOR THE RCN IS STRICTLY OFF LIMITS. ANY POSTER WHO WANTS TO TRY THE MODERATORS PATIENCE WILL HAVE A VERY QUICK COME UPPANCE AND THE THREAD WILL BE LOCKED AGAIN, FOR A SIGNIFICANTLY LONGER PERIOD, WITHOUT ANY WARNING.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The current issue of Canadian Naval Review has an article discussing its radar selection.

@John Fedup LINK JOHN BOY, YOU FORGET THE LINK.
NG.
 
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Underway

New Member
Thanks!

This radar, if it lives up the glossy brochure will be a game changer for the RCN. It's a destroyer radar, not a frigate radar. This ship, given its weapons loadout, and now sensor suite is shaping up to be a monster.
 
Thanks!

This radar, if it lives up the glossy brochure will be a game changer for the RCN. It's a destroyer radar, not a frigate radar. This ship, given its weapons loadout, and now sensor suite is shaping up to be a monster.
Hi Underway. You are absolutely correct! This will be a game-changer for the RCN & Canada. An 8000 ton "Frigate" that acts like a destroyer! No wonder each ship will cost over CAD 4.6B over the life of the project! The SPY 7 (V) 1 S Band some say, may well out-perform the AMDR SPY 6 (V) 1. Lockheed Martin is very high on this radar as is Japan (ground based version for BMD) & Spain (F110 Frigate). I think the British are very envious as well. A good choice for Canada. The 4-sided X Band Phased Array Illumination Radar (smaller square under the SPY 7 (V) 1) is another "kettle of fish". It is to be developed and supplied by MacDonald DetWiller Associates (MDA) (Canada) and has not yet been completely verified, but should integrate well with the SPY 7. Cheers!
 

oldsig127

Active Member
An 8000 ton "Frigate" that acts like a destroyer! No wonder each ship will cost over CAD 4.6B over the life of the project! The SPY 7 (V) 1 S Band some say, may well out-perform the AMDR SPY 6 (V) 1. Lockheed Martin is very high on this radar as is Japan (ground based version for BMD) & Spain (F110 Frigate). I think the British are very envious as well. A good choice for Canada.
That leaves me curious about where, in your judgement, this leaves Australia placed, having chosen to implement their own indigenous CEAFAR radar suite with AEGIS on the Hunter variant of T26

oldsig
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
With my limited knowledge, I assume both the RCN and RAN have confidence in their radar selections. Integration with respective CMSs will be key. As the RCN’s CMS330 is a LM product and LM is the AEGIS developer, the RCN risk should be minimal. I am sure the RAN is in a similar position.
 
That leaves me curious about where, in your judgement, this leaves Australia placed, having chosen to implement their own indigenous CEAFAR radar suite with AEGIS on the Hunter variant of T26

oldsig
Hi oldsig127. Good to hear from you! I agree completely with John Fedup. Australia selected the CEAFAR2 based on their own needs as Canada did. The CEAFAR2 is an excellent fit for the new Hunter class and the RAN should be proud of an S Band radar that is leading edge! I believe that both the CEAFAR and SPY 7 (V) 1 are far and above the best Long Range Phased Array radars on the planet today. Nothing against the British BAE Type 26 Air Warning Radar, but it just cannot compete against these two radar systems. Because I am prejudiced, I would put the SPY 7(V) 1 slightly ahead of the CEAFAR 2 (but not by much). Both countries have selected excellent radars. Obviously both the RCN & RAN have done their homework on this one. Cheers!
 

Underway

New Member
That leaves me curious about where, in your judgement, this leaves Australia placed, having chosen to implement their own indigenous CEAFAR radar suite with AEGIS on the Hunter variant of T26
Radars as all things are selected for the roles they need to perform. Australia chose to combine a SPY-1 equipped destroyer with a CEAFAR equipped frigate for a reason. The SPY-1 has massive power output in the 4-6 MW range. This type of power means that the Hobart class can search huge volumes of air at long ranges to find threats to protect their task group. It's what the SPY-1 was designed to do.

CEAFAR2 system (an excellent radar) as designed for the Hunter class, I suspect it does not put out as much power as a SPY-1, and therefore does not search as much volume. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just used for a different purpose which is the local and self-defence of its own ship. If the CEAFAR did what the SPY-1 did then Australia would have installed that onto its Hobart's.

The SPY-7, if considered a one for one swap with the SPY-1 is a more powerful radar than the CEAFAR2 system and designed for the similar long-range volume search and track. All CSC will be capable of Area Air Defence as well as normal frigate roles. Thus the loss of a single ship will not have the impact that the loss of a 280 had. This is a function of the lack of budgetary stability and foresight, so the RCN is government proofing the fleet so to speak.

I also suspect that Canada is looking at a new doctrine for their ships. They recently (in Leadmark 2050) changed the task group organization to 4 combatants from 3. This speaks to integrated sensors, cooperative engagement and task group redundancy. If all ships have the same sensors and same weapons then a task group will always have the tool then need in the right position to deal with a problem.

If I had to choose a placing I would put the 1-CSC, 2-Hunter, 3-Type 26. The RCN is building an AAW destroyer that also does ASW and calling it a frigate. The SPY-7 is likely more powerful than the CEAFAR and the CSC carries 24 more missiles than the Hunter (with the Sea Ceptor Launchers midships). Australia is building an excellent GP frigate with more VLS and better sensors than the UK, and the UK is building a world-class ASW frigate with good self-defence capability and some GP functionality. But each country does this because of its fleet mix, numbers and doctrine. They are all going to be excellent ships I have no doubt.
 
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ASSAIL

Defense Professional
Verified Defense Pro
Some miss the point about CEAFAR2. It includes L Band long range air search as well as S and X Bands so the huge power requirement to get S band to longer ranges is negated.
 

oldsig127

Active Member
Radars as all things are selected for the roles they need to perform. Australia chose to combine a SPY-1 equipped destroyer with a CEAFAR equipped frigate for a reason. The SPY-1 has massive power output in the 4-6 MW range. This type of power means that the Hobart class can search huge volumes of air at long ranges to find threats to protect their task group. It's what the SPY-1 was designed to do.

CEAFAR2 system (an excellent radar) as designed for the Hunter class, I suspect it does not put out as much power as a SPY-1, and therefore does not search as much volume. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just used for a different purpose which is the local and self-defence of its own ship. If the CEAFAR did what the SPY-1 did then Australia would have installed that onto its Hobart's.
Interesting point of view, though I'd love to know why you "suspect" it's less powerful. Actual technical information is pretty hard tpo come by.

I'd also point out that CEAFAR2 wasn't available when the Hobarts were designed; indeed CEAFAR itself was new (and newer superior APAR technology to SPY-1) but not intended as a volume search radar. It was literally not suitable.

CEAFAR2-L which is now replacing CEAFAR and the existing SPS-48 long range volume search on the ANZACS, and will be used on Hunter, apparently does have the high range. Make of that what you will, but as noted, range details are usually not splashed about by any manufacturer so I can't quote numbers

oldsig

(Edit: Sorry Assail, you posted while I laboriously typed and missed the obvious point that 2-L uses L band)
 
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