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Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship AOPS

Privateer

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The following Backgrounder is reproduced from the National Defence site:  http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/newsroom/view_news_e.asp?id=2370

Backgrounder
Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships

BG–07.023 - July 10, 2007

In the current and future security environment, the Government of Canada must have effective tools for exercising control of Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs, or 200 nautical mile limit) in all three oceans, particularly the Arctic. This Government recognizes that an increased Canadian Forces (CF) presence in the Arctic is essential to achieving our goals in this region, which is critical to our national interest and sense of identity.

Currently, the Canadian Navy can patrol the coastal waters of Canada’s East and West Coasts, but it does not have the capability to effectively patrol all three oceans. The Navy can only operate in northern waters for a short period of time, and only when there is no ice.

While the Navy can effectively patrol our close coastal waters in the Atlantic and Pacific with its Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), these ships cannot be used effectively out to the limits of Canada’s EEZs. They have limited ability to operate in the open ocean, limited speed, limited capacity to support boarding operations and lack the ability to support a helicopter. The Navy must use its large combatant vessels – destroyers and frigates, which are expensive to operate and already over-tasked - to patrol the open ocean.

To fill this capability gap, the Navy will acquire up to eight Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (A/OPS). The estimated cost of acquiring these ships is $3.1 billion, with approximately $4.3 billion provided for operations and maintenance over the 25-year lifespan of the ship.

The multi-purpose, ice-capable offshore patrol ship will enhance Canada’s ability to enforce its right, under international law, to be notified when foreign ships enter Canadian waters. The primary tasks of the A/OPS would be to conduct sea-borne surveillance operations in Canada’s EEZs, including the Arctic; provide cross-governmental situation awareness of activities and events in the regions; and cooperate with other elements of the CF and other federal government departments to assert and enforce Canadian sovereignty, when and where necessary.

These ships will also provide the flexibility for the Navy to operate in both the Arctic and offshore environments, allowing them to be used year-round in a variety of roles, including domestic surveillance, search and rescue and support to other government departments.

The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship offers the best blend of capabilities in one platform; however, a ship with these capabilities does not currently exist and would have to be designed to meet a series of high-level requirements:

Seakeeping: The A/OPSs must be able to operate independently and effectively in Canada’s EEZs, including such diverse environments as the Canadian Arctic, the Grand Banks of Newfoundland and the Northwest Coast of the Queen Charlotte Islands. The ship must also be capable of navigating the St. Lawrence River year-round and berthing at Quebec City.

Ice Capability: The hull of the A/OPS must be ice strengthened to operate in medium first-year ice, which may include old ice inclusions - old ice that is denser and may strike the hull of the ship. This ice capability is exclusively for the ships’ own mobility, not to provide icebreaking services to other ships.

Endurance/Range: The ship must have the ability to sustain operations for up to four months and must have a range of at least 6,000 nautical miles.

Command and Control: The ship’s electronic equipment must have the ability to ensure safety of navigation and flight, as well as sufficient command, control and communications capability to provide and receive real-time information to and from the CF Common Operating Picture.

Speed: The ship must be able to maintain an economical speed of 14 knots and attain a maximum speed of at least 20 knots.

Armament: The ship must have gun armament to assert Canadian sovereignty.

Boat Operations: The ship’s crew must be able to conduct boat operations in up to sea state four, support operations ashore via landing craft and support naval boarding parties.

Class Life: The ships should remain operational for 25 years.

The ship may also be designed to embark and operate an on-board helicopter, as well as house one flying crew and one maintenance crew.
Procurement Strategy

The two-phased process of procuring the A/OPS will be an innovative, fair and transparent means of guaranteeing the requirements of the CF are met in a timely manner, while ensuring value for Canadians’ tax dollars and maximizing opportunities for Canadian industry. Industrial and regional benefits totalling 100 per cent of the contract value would be sought for the implementation contract.

A project definition phase of 24 months will be needed to develop the functional design, refine the high-level statement of operational requirements (SORs), complete and issue the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the implementation phase of the project and evaluate responses. A competitive process will be used to select a Definition, Engineering, Logistics and Management Support (DELMS) contractor, who will develop the design used to refine the requirements and provide input into the RFP. During this time, consulting engineering contractors will also deliver a functional design for the infrastructure needed to support the A/OPS.

Throughout the project definition phase, industry will be kept engaged and informed of progress and design work. Interest from industry will be sought through a Letter of Interest to allow potential bidders to self-identify, and qualified teams will be invited to comment on the draft project implementation (PI) RFP. The definition phase of the procurement process would end with the release and evaluation of this RFP.

The implementation phase of the process would involve the successful contractor completing a detailed design of the ships, followed by construction and the provision of integrated logistics support, and initial in-service support. Delivery of the first Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship is expected in 2013.

The procurement strategy would conform to the Canadian Shipbuilding Policy Framework, which provides that the federal government will continue to procure, repair and refit vessels in Canada, subject to operational requirements and the continued existence of a competitive domestic marketplace.

This acquisition will create long-term industrial development for Canadians. The Government's policy requires that prime contractors on defence procurements undertake business activities in Canada, usually in an amount equal to the value of the contract they have won. This helps Canadian companies maintain globally competitive operations in the country and effectively support future national security requirements.

The acquisition of these ships will deliver maximum high-quality industrial benefits to Canadians and the Canadian shipbuilding industry is well positioned to play a significant role as this project proceeds.

A number of points caught my attention:

1.  These vessels have transformed from purely arctic icebreakers to arctic AND offshore patrol ships.  I imagine that this multi-mission goal may be necessary to sell the ships to the government and/or the public, but I worry about multiple missions resulting in a ship that can't do any of those missions in a truly satisfactory way.  Shades of the MCDV here?

2.  The ships must be able to berth in Quebec City?  Why?

3.  The ships must be able to "support operations ashore via landing craft".  I wonder what is being envisioned here.

I wonder if any thought has been given to the question of whether or not reservists will play a role in crewing the vessels.  Does MARCOM plan on having sufficient personnel to crew the ships solely with reg force members?

Finally, there is the issue of the possible location for the northern station ("base" probably being too grand a word for it) for these vessels.  I would be interested in hearing from anyone with actual experience in the north as to what location they think would be best and why.  Thanks!
 

GAP

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Churchill already has a deep water port, long airport strip ( former base) and is rail linked year round...
 

navymich

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For those that are interested in more information, the news stories regarding the ships are posted here.
 

MarkOttawa

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To repeat a comment at the other thread:

From the Globe and Mail story:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070710.HARPERSUB10/TPStory/Front

"Each will be about 100 metres long and displace about 3,000 metric tonnes..."

Svalbard displaces over 6,000 t:
http://www.sfu.ca/casr/bg-icebreaker-svalbard.htm

Unless the story is inaccurate (good chance!) the 3,000 tonnes figure is ridiculous.

Mark
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Neill McKay

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Privateer said:
2.  The ships must be able to berth in Quebec City?  Why?

Speculation: NAVRES has a fleet school there.  Also, some sort of role in border security on the Lakes may be envisioned.
 

PO2FinClk

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Privateer said:
2.  The ships must be able to berth in Quebec City?  Why?
The waterway normally freezes up to Quebec City during winter months, although it does freeze further south never as consistantly. I would go as far as speculating on Border Security as I believe it would enfringe on CCG responsibilities.

GAP said:
Churchill already has a deep water port, long airport strip ( former base) and is rail linked year round...
Agreed, but is located some distance from the Northwest Passage where Resolute is centered on the passage itself. However perhaps it could be used for other purposes based on existing ressources.
 

Greymatters

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I'm curious as to how it would stop a foreign submarine transitting Canadian waters...
 

Spencer100

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sledge said:
Hunt it down with a ASW helicopter.

Something I have always thought about, how do you hunt down a sub under the ice with aircraft and surface ships?  And also how does sonar work up north with all the noise generated by the ice breaking and cracking?
 

Greymatters

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sledge said:
Hunt it down with a ASW helicopter. 

And then what?

a) Tell them to heave to?
b) Shoot a missile?
c) Lodge a protest?
d) All of the above?
e) None of the above?
 

Ex-Dragoon

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GreyMatter said:
And then what?

a) Tell them to heave to?
b) Shoot a missile?
c) Lodge a protest?
d) All of the above?
e) None of the above?

We have ways of getting our message across to subs for aircraft by ways we don't need to get into here at all....
 

cameron

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Coincidentally Privateer, on point no. 3 and your question about reserve crewmembers, I was asking myself the same questions.  As long as they are well built, and can capably carry out their various roles, I think they're a great idea.
 

Greymatters

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Ex-Dragoon said:
We have ways of getting our message across to subs for aircraft by ways we don't need to get into here at all....

I'm aware of that, but was curious as to what Sledge was going to offer as an opinion. 
 

navymich

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Privateer said:
I wonder if any thought has been given to the question of whether or not reservists will play a role in crewing the vessels. 

How?  Unless things have changed dramatically over the past few months, NavRes is having enough trouble manning their own boats, much less others.  Yes, I realize that the APVs aren't scheduled until 2013, but if the current slide of lack of personnel continues...
 

Privateer

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How?  Unless things have changed dramatically over the past few months, NavRes is having enough trouble manning their own boats, much less others.  Yes, I realize that the APVs aren't scheduled until 2013, but if the current slide of lack of personnel continues...

I take your point, but it seems like the A/OPS are intended to take over some tasks currently done by MCDVs such as fisheries patrol, and the recently (re)instated arctic deployments .  I speculate that the introduction of the A/OPS may result in less operational deployments for the MCDVs (leaving them in primarily a training role), resulting in the opportunity / need to use some (reserve) pers previously employed on MCDVs on the A/OPS.
 

Kirkhill

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This SPECULATION comes from Canadian Press and the VCMS  (Can it be speculation if it comes from the VCMS?)

Parkas all around for you Naval Reserve types.  ;)


New icebreakers mean early retirement for navy's coastal patrol ships: expert

OTTAWA (CP) - The Conservative government's plan to build Arctic patrol ships could send some of Canada's maritime coastal defence vessels into early retirement.

Already short of sailors and struggling with budget shortfalls, the navy is working out how to crew and operate the six-to-eight new ice-capable corvettes that were announced this week by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"We think that these vessels are going to be the natural replacement for the (coastal defence vessels)," Commodore Kelly Williams, vice chief of maritime staff, said Wednesday in an interview.

The $3.1-billion program to build armed Class 5 medium icebreakers to enforce Canada's northern sovereignty was announced Monday with much fanfare at Esquimalt, B.C., the navy's principle West Coast base.

An additional $4 billion will be set aside over 25 years to operate the ships.

The smaller Kingston-class coastal defence vessels, built in the 1990s by the former Liberal government at a cost of $650 million, will be "transitioned" to a new role, Williams said.

It's still unclear what that role will be and whether the navy will have the sailors or money to keep all 12 of the 934-tonne ships. Senior naval staff met this week in Ottawa to discuss those questions.

With the first of the new Arctic ships not due until 2013 at the earliest, Williams said there is plenty of time to make decisions.

The 55-metre coastal ships, originally conceived as minesweepers, are not suitable for patrols in choppy seas beyond the immediate coastline. At a top speed of 15 knots, they're also considered slow.

Most warships have a 30-to 35-year lifespan and the Kingston-class, the last of which hit the water in 1999, are at only the mid-point in their service life.

"There's an awful lot of work that remains to be taken out of those ships," said Williams. "Canadians would expect us, having invested in those vessels, to use them to the maximum advantage possible."

He said he could see them used for training and ideally would like to keep some for patrols close to the coastline, while the Arctic corvettes and frigates work farther offshore.

But a retired fleet commander said that was unlikely.

"We're in a resource-strained environment," said Eric Lerhe, a retired commodore and member of Dalhousie University's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies in Halifax.

"The navy would undoubtedly love to keep the (maritime coastal defence vessels). They've been a success story."

A planned $100-million, life-extending refit for the coastal vessels has already been shelved by the navy.

Senator Colin Kenny, whose security and defence committee has recommended Canada's defence budget be increased to $25 billion by 2010, from its current $18 billion, agreed with Lerhe's assessment.

The Conservative government shows no appetite for boosting defence spending to that level, he said.

A strategic assessment, written last year and obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, sounded blunt warnings about the navy's future.

Among other things, it called for a massive injection of capital to upgrade existing vessels and to begin building the next generation of warships. Some of those concerns were addressed with the Arctic ships plan and the announcement that the country's 12 Halifax-class frigates will receive a $3.1 billion modernization.

But the assessment also painted a stark picture of the navy's struggle to live within its current $701-million operating budget, with the rising cost of fuel and maintenance and the departures of experienced sailors.

In early 2006, there was a shortage 276 qualified personnel, a situation that hasn't improved much in the last year, a navy official acknowledged.

With the regular navy stretched, Williams said the new icebreakers will likely be crewed by reservists.

"We really don't have a detailed answer yet for crewing concepts, but we think the naval reserves are going to play a massive role in the manning of these vessels," he said.

Unlike the army and the air force, which plug reservists into empty slots within existing units, the navy has a designated role for its existing 4,500 part-time sailors. They form entire ship's companies, crewing all 12 of the Kingston-class vessels.

Although Harper's government has pledged to add 13,000 reservists to the Canadian Forces, the bulk of them are destined for the army.

Asking reservists to crew the new Arctic ships will present some training challenges in terms of technology and the addition of helicopters, said Williams, but added he's confident they're up to the task.



© The Canadian Press, 2007
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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Any bets on where the MCDV's go?

Are they a good fit for the Coast Guard?

Would anyone buy them?


Matthew.    ???

P.S.  As a guy from Ontario, I had no idea the Coast Guard had so many vessels:

http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/vessels-navires/main_e.asp

Of note, it looks like there are quite a few mid-70's vintage ships that could use replacing.
 

navymich

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It's still unclear what that role will be
I'm sure the rumourmill aka 'shadline', is running full out on this!

The 55-metre coastal ships, originally conceived as minesweepers, are not suitable for patrols in choppy seas beyond the immediate coastline. At a top speed of 15 knots, they're also considered slow.
Can I see a show of hands who didn't know this?  Duh! ::)  But that's for another topic, which I know there are many of around here.

They've been a success story.
For all the naysayers  :nana: It's about time this was said in print!  And yet again off-topic for this thread, but I had to say it!

Asking reservists to crew the new Arctic ships will present some training challenges in terms of technology and the addition of helicopters, said Williams, but added he's confident they're up to the task.
This is great to hear!  Of course they are up to the challenge.  They are chomping at the bit to get more qualifications.  There are too many supervisors on the boats that are doing a great job, but they are junior in rank and TI, and especially lacking in qualifications.  And the biggest reason for this is manpower.  There is no spare manpower to allow these personnel the opportunity to increase their knowledge base.  Not to mention the whole money and politics behind the "reserve qual does not equal reg qual" (note:  I am aware this is not true for all trades, but it is for a majority of the ones employed on the MCDVs).  They advance within their trade, but are sorely lacking for current training in keeping pace with their reg force counterparts.


Even though I am no longer a part of the NavRes community, I was for too long not to be interested in how this story goes.  This announcement has really shaken things up, and my opinion is that it is what the shad world needs right now!!





 

MarkOttawa

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Cdn Blackshirt: I can't see the MCDVs having any particular utility for the CCG, which anyway has its own patrol vessel program underway:
http://forums.milnet.ca/forums/threads/27961/post-556243.html#msg556243

As for asserting sovereignty in Arctic waterways, an excellent article by a former CCG Deputy Commissioner (a brilliant public servant whom I knew):

A job for the Coast Guard
It's too bad that the Harper government's preoccupation with the military has caused it to overlook a more sensible solution to Arctic sovereignty

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=1c73cfd5-d71b-4b28-8670-43f374e8dc88

Mark
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Mark
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cameron

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I know it may be a bit early to ask about these kinds of details but still I guess it can't hurt to ask, apart from the ASW helos that these ships may be embarking,  will the ships themselves be equipped with ASW sonar?
 
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