The Navy launches a long-anticipated push to replace Canada’s plagued submarine fleet

Ottawa-The Royal Canadian Navy has launched a long-awaited propulsion to replace Canada’s needy submarine fleet, setting the stage for a highly controversial debate about the need for such a ship.

Defense officials have created a dedicated team in Canadian press this month to begin understanding what Canada needs for new submarines as the sunset on the army’s existing fleet steadily approaches. It was revealed that it was.

This move is a growing urgency within the defense and industry circles regarding the need to undertake such projects, given the era of existing Canadian submarines and the length of time required to design and build such vessels. It corresponds to the feeling.

“The CAF has established a Canadian patrol submarine project to inform timely government decisions about potential alternative classes of submarines and to avoid gaps in submarine capabilities,” said a Navy spokesman. Major. Jordan Holder said.

“The CAF has called for the start of an exchange project this year to enable timely decision-making at some point in the future regarding avoiding the gap between submarine exchange classes and submarine capabilities.”

However, the decision to move forward is also expected to be a tough conversation for the Navy about the need for a new submarine, given the high cost of building and operating a new submarine and the many issues that plague the current fleet. let’s start doing ….

Since Canada purchased four used ships from the United Kingdom in 1998, questions about the costs and benefits of submarines have spread. The government at the time claimed to have paid only $ 750 million for four Victoria-class submarines to get the bargain.

Still, ships spend more time on the docks for repairs and maintenance than at sea, and Ottawa has spent billions of dollars on the fleet over the past two decades, with a series of problems such as fires and poor welding. I am dealing with an incident.

In a recent incident, HMCS Corner Brook may have had permanent damage last year after an erroneous test damage to the submarine’s main ballast tank. Corner Brook had previously stranded in 2011, but a fire broke out on board in 2019.

The Ministry of Defense has also fixed the cost of maintaining and operating Victoria-class submarines at around $ 300 million annually.

A new fleet of submarines may address many of these issues, but recent experience in Australia suggests that building a new fleet is not a smooth voyage or cheap.

The Australian government, which has been working for more than a decade to buy 12 French-designed submarines, revealed last year that diesel electric vessels would cost more than $ 80 billion, or more than $ 6 billion per vessel. Did.

The new cost is almost double Campella’s original estimate, and over $ 60 billion Canada will replace the Halifax-class frigate fleet with a brand new fleet of 15 state-of-the-art frigate ships over the next 20 years. I will pay.

Australian officials are currently struggling with what to do with the project in the face of serious civil and expert criticism.

In 2017, the Liberal government’s defense policy promised to extend the life of four Canadian Victoria-class submarines. Sources are spending more than $ 2 billion to keep submarines in operation until the mid-2030s.

Still, defense policy did not set aside money for replacement.

The Navy continues to argue that submarines are important to defend Canada, especially as rivals such as Russia and China become more aggressive and the country’s Arctic Ocean becomes more accessible due to climate change.

“Canada’s submarine force provides significant strategic assets with powerful surveillance and intelligence capabilities, as well as the ability to control or deny access to substantive waters or coastal areas,” said Holder. Stated.

“Submarines are an important element of a balanced fleet, enabling the Royal Canadian Navy to be responsive and effective far from the Canadian coast. Unique flexibility to succeed in a wide range of mission sets. We need sexuality and sustainability. “

Nonetheless, holders decide to begin work on possible alternatives, “giving time to make informed decisions as needed, rather than promising a specific course of action to the government. I will do it. “

David Perry, a defense analyst at the Canada Global Affairs Institute, said there is strong debate about the need for Canada to own a submarine, given that both Russia and China have been strengthening their underwater capabilities in recent years. I am.

But he said the new submarine would cost a lot when the government tried to secure billions of dollars to upgrade North America’s defense network and other procurement projects were running beyond budget. It suggests that the Navy is nervous.

“I will be nervous,” he said. “We’re talking about making pretty important financial investments, and there’s a lot of budgetary pressure on projects of all kinds across defense.”

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