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March 29, 2019 | Local, Naval

No need to lengthen Type 26 warship to meet Canada’s needs, says DND


Industry representatives have been talking about the possibility that the Type 26 design will need to be altered significantly to meet Canadian requirements. There have been suggestions that the length of the ship will have to be increased by 10 metres to better accommodate a Canadian crew size. Questions about such a possibility were even raised by MPs at a Commons defence committee meeting last month.

But the Department of National Defence says there's nothing to such claims. DND spokeswoman Ashley Lemire points out that Lockheed Martin's proposal, based on the BAE Type 26, meets the requirements outlined in the Canadian government's request for proposal. “Therefore, there is no need to lengthen the proposed design to meet Canada's requirements,” she said.

DND procurement chief Pat Finn also faced similar questions from Conservative MPs during the Commons defence committee meeting last month. The Conservatives raised concerns about about whether the Type 26 had the speed or size to meet Canadian requirements. MPs also asked questions about whether the cost of the Canadian Surface Combatant program was increasing from $60 billion-$65 billion to $77 billion. Finn said there are no issues on speed or size for the Type 26. “The requirement for the Canadian Surface Combatant set standards for speed, berths, etc., so there's no cost increase to the bid because of speed or berth,” Finn explained to MPs. “There's been no documentation prepared and nothing has come across my desk that says there's a cost increase to $77 billion.”

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  • Chief of the Defence Staff announces new Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command

    June 1, 2023 | Local, Aerospace

    Chief of the Defence Staff announces new Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command

    June 1, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff, has announced the second Lieutenant-General/Vice-Admiral promotion of 2023. Major-General B.F. Frawley was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General and will be appointed Deputy Commander North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, replacing Lieutenant-General A.J.P. Pelletier who will retire from the Canadian Armed Forces. NORAD is a bi-national military command responsible for aerospace warning, aerospace control, and maritime warning for Canada and the United States. It is the cornerstone of Canada’s defence relationship with the United States and provides both countries with greater continental security than could be achieved individually. The NORAD Deputy Commander supports the NORAD Commander in the execution of the command’s missions. As a bi-national command, the NORAD Deputy Commander’s position is approved by both Canada and the United States. Across our nations, Canadians and Americans monitor and defend North American airspace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is a military relationship like no other—one based on common values, friendship, and a lasting unbreakable bond. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), through its evolving promotion process, continues to choose inclusive leaders who embody its professional values and ethos. Promotion candidates complete an evidence-based character assessment followed by a “360 degree” evaluation known as a multi-rater assessment. This approach uses a diverse group of evaluators to reduce bias and foster diverse perspectives to obtain a holistic perspective of the candidate’s leadership behaviour and effectiveness. Additionally, the promotion candidate is subject to an interview conducted by a third party, external to the Department of National Defence and CAF, which focuses on personal experiences, self-awareness, past challenges, failures, and successes. Additional information regarding the promotion selection process is available here. Further promotions, appointments, and retirements will be announced when they have been confirmed.

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  • It's the mileage, not the years: Military says it plans to keep subs afloat past retirement dates

    July 28, 2020 | Local, Naval

    It's the mileage, not the years: Military says it plans to keep subs afloat past retirement dates

    Conservative critic says maintenance plan ignores fact that not everything on a submarine can be replaced Murray Brewster The Canadian navy has found a very creative way to keep its second-hand submarines afloat until the late 2030s and early 2040s — a plan that emphasizes maintenance over age in predicting how long the vessels can remain seaworthy. The plan — according to a newly-released briefing note prepared in the run-up to the release of the Liberal government's marquee defence policy — would not see HMCS Victoria decommissioned until the end of 2042, giving the warship over 45 years service in Canada. That estimate does not include the time the boat served with Britain's Royal Navy, which would add at least a decade to its working life. The retirements of the other submarines — HMCS Chicoutimi, HMCS Windsor and HMCS Corner Brook — would be staggered throughout the 2030s, with Windsor being the first to go in 2033. "The [Victoria Class Submarines] are a well-designed and solidly constructed class of modern conventional submarines that have had an unusual life since entering service with the [Royal Navy] in the early 1990s," said the August 2016 briefing analysis, recently obtained by Conservative Party researchers. "'While chronologically 20 years older, they have not been operated extensively during that time." The boats were first constructed for the Royal Navy in the 1980s, but Britain decided to sell them when the government of the day made the policy decision to operate only nuclear-powered submarines. One aspect of the Liberal defence policy, released in June 2017, that has puzzled military experts and opposition critics alike was its assumption that the submarines — which have had a tortured technical history that includes one fatal fire — will remain in service until at least the 2040s. The briefing note spells out in detail — and for the first time publicly — how the navy intends to squeeze more life out of boats it was supposed to start retiring in four years. It was originally envisioned, the briefing said, that the Victoria-Class submarines would retire one at a time, beginning in 2024. he report argues it is possible to operate the submarines beyond their expected working lives if the military assesses the "material state" of each boat rather than following "a simplistic calendar driven" evaluation of their operational condition. In others words, the report argues that what matters most is not how old the submarines are, but rather how hard have they been driven and how well have they been maintained. The submarines operate on what's called a "6-2 schedule" — six years of service at sea followed by two years of deep maintenance before returning to duty. The briefing note proposes that the boats do nine years of service and then go into a longer refurbishment of up to three years. The submarines would need a full life-extension overhaul in addition to the extended maintenance plan. As evidence to support the plan, the briefing note to senior defence officials pointed to a 2013 study of the Victoria-Class submarines — which said that "although there are numerous technical and supportability challenges, there was no single obstacle precluding a life extension of up to 12 years." 'Lower expectations' The briefing offers one note of caution, however: "It is reasonable to assume that operational availability will decrease as the submarine ages." The briefing note predicted higher maintenance and sustainment costs as the boats get older. To save money, it said, the navy might have to lower expectations of what the boats can do. The existing plan "assumed that there would be no relaxation of operational performance requirements, although in fact some discretion by the Operational Requirements Authority in this regard may be feasible as a cost saving measure," said the note. Conservative defence critic James Bezan said he was astounded by the plan to stretch out the operational life of the subs. He said he doesn't blame the naval planners who drew up the document — but he does hold the Liberal government accountable, arguing it must have ordered the Department of National Defence to give it some justification for putting off the purchase of new submarines. "It is ridiculous," Bezan said. "There was potential for some political direction on how this was written." Canada's submarine fleet spent 'zero days' at sea last year: government documents Canada's front-line frigates have suffered 10 fire and smoke incidents since 2018 In an interview with CBC News at the end of last year, the commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, defended the plan to extend the life of the boats, saying he had full confidence in the "pretty resourceful and capable" submarine engineering community. The defence policy, he said, "directed us to operate and modernize" the submarine fleet and he's confident it can be done safely. "We know there is still excellent life in the Victoria-class submarine," McDonald told CBC News. "I've seen that personally as an outsider who has come into the program and taken a look at it." The focus of the subs' modernization project — which was in the early stages of being developed when the pandemic hit back in late winter — will be on survivability and making the submarines more livable for crew members. "We're going to be able to operate those boats into the 2030s, but to do that we have to continue with the routine investments we've made and modernize, as was directed" by the defence policy, McDonald said. Not everything can be replaced A series of assessments was conducted between 2008 and 2014. The defence department's naval board, which is charged with planning the future shape of the fleet, met in November 2014 to study the life expectancy of the second-hand boats. "While it is considered unrealistic to predict the material state of 40-year-old platforms, 20 years into the future, certain items such as the pressure hull and main motor will require additional monitoring and maintenance above the current regime, since unpredicted degradation in such areas may not be cost effective to repair and mitigate," said the 2016 briefing note. And that's the problem with the life-extension plan, said Bezan: some key parts of a submarine — such as the pressure hull and the engines — can't be upgraded. He also pointed to how the submarine fleet had "zero days at sea" in 2019 because all of the vessels were tied up for maintenance. The analysis, Bezan said, shows that the Liberal government should immediately begin looking for a replacement for the submarines — something the previous Conservative government was in the process of doing when it was defeated in 2015. The options that were discussed before the election, he said, included partnering with the Australians — who were in the process of acquiring their own submarine replacements — or buying an off-the-shelf design for inclusion in the federal shipbuilding strategy. None of those ideas got very far before the election, he added.

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