Skip to comments.A New and Improved HMCS Fredericton
Posted on 12/09/2010 12:28:35 AM PST by buccaneer81
A new and improved HMCS Fredericton Published Wednesday December 8th, 2010
Modernization of Canada's 12 Halifax-class frigates is finally underway. And some would say none too soon.
Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Fredericton transits the narrows en route to a refuelling stop in St. John's Newfoundland in April. HMCS Fredericton was returning home to Halifax after completing a six-month counter-piracy and counter-terrorism deployment. The ship will undergo a refit next year to bring her in line with modern warfare demands.
It's been close to 20 years since the ships, referred to by the military as the "backbone of the navy," first hit the seas.
That's a lot of pounding and use in what is often an unforgiving environment - an environment known to chew up and spit out those who use and abuse it.
What were the words used once by Charles Darwin?
Oh, yes, survival of the fittest.
That is particularly true when it comes to navies. Only the strongest and most durable survive.
According to an October background paper prepared by the Department of National Defence, the multi-purpose ships were originally designed to accomplish the Cold War missions of anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, mainly in the open-ocean environment.
But times have changed, as the Cold War is no longer a part of our lives.
Other threats have emerged.
That's why the refit makes sense in ways other than those related to age.
According to the military, "current and evolving threats are faster, more manoeuvrable and are moving from open ocean areas to areas closer to the coast."
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing this country's fleet of frigates is what the Forces refer to as asymmetrical threats, such as terrorist attacks, that were not envisaged when the ships were designed.
"Innovations in procedures and tactics have enabled the frigates to operate effectively in the new threat environment," notes the discussion paper. "However, sensor and weapons enhancements are needed in order to enhance the ships' ability to deal with these new threats into the future."
Among those scheduled for an upgrade is the HMCS Fredericton, not long back from its most recent tasking - a six-month mission in regions of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean as part of Operation Saiph.
HMCS Fredericton, which has been on the seas since 1994, will be torn down early next year.
The overhaul for all ships will include:
* A new command and control system;
* New radar suite;
* IFF Mode S/5 - Interrogator Friend or Foe Mode S/5;
* Internal communications system upgrade;
* Harpoon missile system upgrade (surface to surface); and
* Electronic support measures upgrade.
Other HCM projects include:
* Long-range infrared search and track system (SIRIUS); and
* Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (surface to air) ESSM.
Related maintenance and sustainment activities and projects will strive to maintain equipment at its current level of capability.
* Preventive, corrective and unique mid-life maintenance activities:
* Modifications to the BOFORS 57mm naval gun;
* Replacement of the Shield II Missile Decoy Countermeasures System;
* Replacement of the integrated machinery control system; and
* Replacement of the navigation radar.
The mid-life refit is designed to add years to the survival of the frigates.
"The life span of a warship is planned to be about 30 to 35 years," former HMCS Fredericton Cmdr. Steve Waddell said in May. "We are at that point now (with HMCS Fredericton) as we go into a mid-life refit, which will take her out of commission for about 18 months."
The former commander said the navy will be going through a period from now until 2017 where it won't have as much deployable capability as was possible in the past.
In April 2008, the federal government awarded two contracts - one to Halifax Shipyards for $549 million, and the other to Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd. for $351 million - for the maintenance and refit of the 12 ships.
But who really knows if that will be the final cost of the project. The trend these days is to run millions of dollars over budget.
Did someone say F-35 stealth fighters?
If all goes well, the military hopes to have the last of the frigates modernized by 2017.
The investment into the fleet is certainly justifiable, as the ships need to be modernized.
Let's just hope it can be done in an efficient, cost effective and timely manner.
Michael Staples covers the military for The Daily Gleaner. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Canadian military ping.
She is a beauty.
Nice lines. Something weird going on with the exhaust structure (man, that thing takes a lot of deck space), but looks like a good ship otherwise.
That’s the air intake for the gas turbines as well as the exhaust. Those turbines use a LOT of air in full howl.
>>* Modifications to the BOFORS 57mm naval gun<<
Anti-pirate with ONE gun? All those missiles and radar are not cost effective for anti-piracy work. A “Ma Duece” fore, aft, port and starboard would improve the ships’ capabilities immensely.
The Canadian navy's Iroquois class area defence DDGs
38 to 40 years old. No replacement even planned.
That makes sense, thanks.
Thanks for the ping, buccaneer81.
If only the Canadian Forces were like those after WWII. Trudeau was the most infamous character in Canadian history, IMHO.