I always thought HMCS Lester B. Pearson would be a good name for General Hillier's mythical Big Honking Ship since being known for getting a Nobel Peace Prize and inventing peacekeeping emphasizes the soft power uses of an amphibious assault ship and Pearson was a military man himself. And although his government was responsible for unifying the Canadian Armed Forces which didn't work out as planned, that concept of the Navy, Army, and Air Force working together would be critical to making an amphibious assault ship work since it's unlikely Canada would stand up a dedicated Marine Corps. But I suppose the CCG is going to claim Lester B. Pearson's name for the second Polar icebreaker.If the government decided on building a couple of LHDs (HADR and amphibious capability with HADR making the project politically saleable) with SeaSpan as the builder sometime in the future along with a third AOR committed at the same time Davie gets a dual icebreaker contract all parties should be satisfied. A dual build by the same yard will be more efficient and after building three 25k ton AOR ships, SeaSpan would be well prepared to build two LHDs with support from either Spain or Italy’s LHD builders (likely design choices). LHDs should be considered as they would be very useful for domestic HADR should the long overdue big one hit the Pacific Northwest.
I wonder to what degree existing LHD designs incorporate acoustic dampening techniques and how quiet they are relative an ASW warship? While HADR roles provide a political selling point and an amphibious capability will take time, will, and money to develop where a LHD can immediately benefit the RCN is as an ASW carrier for Cyclone helicopters finally replacing the HMCS Bonaventure. ASW is afterall Canada's traditional contribution to NATO. With the CSC only carrying 1 helicopter compared to the Iroquois-class' 2 and the new Protecteur-class only carrying 2 helicopters to the old Protecteur-class' 3, the extra helo spots from a LHD would ensure a Task Group can keep multiple Cyclone's up in the air 24/7 to maintain a proper ASW screen and provides second line helicopter maintenance facilities that stay with the Task Group rather than losing it when the AOR leaves to resupply as is currently the case. Although I don't see Justin Trudeau's government approving an ASW LHD, it would be extra meaningful coming from them considering it was Pierre Trudeau's government that prematurely retired the Bonnie.
It's great that Irving seems to be hitting their stride for AOPS production. With CSC production start to begin in 2024 instead of 2023 though, the concern ironically might be that Irving is getting too efficient with the AOPS. Hopefully, the government has made clear to Irving that having increased the AOPS order from 5 to 8 already they won't be getting another AOPS order so they need to properly space out the remaining AOPS production to ensure a production gap doesn't appear between the AOPS and CSC.AOPV (AOPS) 2 (HMCS Margaret Brooke 431) started her builders trials yesterday, and the bow section of AOPV 3 (HMCS Max Bernays 432) was joined to the rest of the ship today at the Irving Shipyard land level construction point in Halifax. HMCS Margaret Brooke will be delivered to the RCN this summer, and HMCS Max Bernays should start her builders trials by December. AOPV 4 is under construction in the Assembly hall, with blocks being moved into the Ultra Hall now for assembly into the mega-blocks, of which there are three. AOPV 5 is set to cut steel imminently. AOPV 1 (HMCS Harry DeWolf 430) meanwhile, is on her warm weather trials in the Caribbean. These ships are designed to operate in temperatures ranging from -50C to +40C, which is no small thing, but until that range is tested, this capability remains theoretical. The cold weather portion was confirmed in February, but weather so far in the Caribbean has not exceeded 30C.