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Canadian Surface Combatant RFQ

Underway

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Also intriguing why cost comparisons weren’t done for De Zeven Provencien and F-105, yet T31 was included when it never was in contention.
Because it was a committee decision by politicians taken on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend? Let's not kid ourselves. Unlike the US system where many politicos are fairly well versed in military matters (better to pork-barrel my riding my dear) Canadian ones generally are not.

They grabbed onto ships that represent two other COAs. Another high-end ship of a different design and the low-end mixed fleet ship. The UK decision to go mixed fleet was highly publicised and visibilt. The FREMM was of course offered as a cheaper option which was bid non-compliant so to get that monkey out of the way it was also picked.

I think their goal was to examine two questions. Would another high end ship be just as expensive, and how much cheaper would a fleet mix be. They weren't interested in other ships in the blue blook.
 

Uzlu

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In defence of Canadian shipbuilding

Jeffrey F. Collins: It would be nice if there were an off-the-shelf ship Canada could acquire, but none exist. Nations build ships to meet their own operational demands.

Jeffrey F. Collins is a Fellow with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute and a researcher in defence procurement

Budgets, it is said, can sink warships. Reports by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) and Auditor General (AG) last week into Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) paint a challenging picture for the multi-decade effort to build 52 large ships for the navy and coast guard. The PBO report estimates that the cost for the yet-to-be-built 15 ship Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) has jumped from $60 billion to $77 billion. The AG meanwhile pins delays and cost overruns in the NSS on the lack of personnel both within shipyards and in government.

The near consensus response from the national commentariat is to throw in the towel, accept that Canada cannot do defence procurement, launch a Royal Commission, make it “illegal” to build ships in Canada, and bizarrely, considering their own challenges, buy our fleet from the Australians. Abandoning ship (pardon the pun) and opting for an overseas buy may certainly seem tempting, but beware: modern naval shipbuilding is far more complex and expensive than meets the eye. What may seem like a bargain (see: ex-British submarines) rarely ever is. Instead, the decision to build a fleet at home or aboard must be seen within the context of trade-offs, of which cost is just one.

Strategically, Canada is a maritime power. Although often forgotten in central Canada, Ottawa presides over the world’s longest coastline, second largest continental shelf, and fifth largest exclusive economic zone containing vast sea life and petroleum reserves. To the north, the twin impact of melting sea ice, a global resource hunt, and tensions between the U.S., Russia and China are transforming the Canadian Arctic into a ‘geopolitical centre of gravity’. In the north Atlantic, Russian submarine activity is at post-Cold War highs. The Indo-Pacific, the site of growing Canadian trade and political ties, sees a Sino-American rivalry criss-cross the South China Sea and the Taiwan Strait, all amid a regional submarine arms race, and anti-ship missile build-up.

It would be nice if there were an off-the-shelf ship Canada could acquire, ready-made for naval service in such a challenging global operational environment, but this is not the case. To no surprise, foreign countries build ships to meet their own operational demands. German submarines are designed for short range missions in shallow Baltic waters. Likewise, the British Type-26 frigate is one of four warship types being built for protecting the Royal Navy’s aircraft carriers and nuclear ballistic submarines.

Canada’s adoption of the Type-26 design in 2018 for the CSC project envisions a more expansive and ambitious role. Meant to last for 40 to 50 years, the CSC will be the sole true warship for Canada. It adds new capabilities to deal with the global tensions cited above (e.g., Tomahawk cruise missiles) and replicates those found in the now retired Iroquois class destroyers (area air defence) and still-serving Halifax class frigates (anti-submarine warfare). Fitting these Canadian requirements into the British design has consumed time and money but Canada is left with a Type-26 attuned to its needs.

The National Shipbuilding Strategy’s 30-year approach of continuous shipbuilding to avoid ‘boom and bust’ cycles may be new, but building Canadian warships, to Canadian specifications and in Canadian yards, dates to the Second World War. Except for submarines and aircraft carriers, it has been official bi-partisan policy to build Canada’s large naval ships domestically. The impetus to build local is hardly a Canadian preoccupation. All other G7 members have naval shipbuilding programs, as do smaller and mid-size powers like Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and Norway.

Finally, building in Canada has other ancillary benefits too. In a time of economic nationalism (e.g., vaccine production), domestic shipbuilding minimizes both the risk in relying on foreign supply chains and in operational disruptions (and costs) from sending fleets overseas for maintenance. The knowledge gained from building the Halifax frigates paid off when it came to completing the equally technically challenging and costly refits here in Canada.

The NSS is far from perfect (as the PBO and AG reports note) but neither are there easy or cheap options. If we are serious about tackling international security threats, upholding global norms, managing tensions, and defending our own sovereignty we better be prepared to pay up.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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The following video was posted by Kirkhill in the Air Defense thread, but I thought it also deserved a place in the CSC thread in the context of the ship's ability to defend itself from swarm attacks as it paints a much clearer picture of what the potential of those attacks looks like....

 

Colin Parkinson

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I can see these making a comeback as the last line of defense, likley in a small caliber to allow more ammunition ready to go. For ships, likley the missile and gun systems combined if possible.

M163_VADS.JPEG
 

Colin Parkinson

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Staying with ships, these smaller drones will likely be delivered near the ship by some means where they attack the ship to use up ammunition and to attack Bridge, sensors, weapon mounts, then followed by large conventional Anti-ship missiles to sink the ship.
 

suffolkowner

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Thats the question though, isn't it? Is the 30mm capable enough to take out a volume of small drones/loitering munitions? 24 Sea Ceptors=24 drones?
 

Loachman

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Staying with ships, these smaller drones will likely be delivered near the ship by some means where they attack the ship to use up ammunition and to attack Bridge, sensors, weapon mounts, then followed by large conventional Anti-ship missiles to sink the ship.
I see it as much like the carrier battles in the Pacific Ocean - whoever detects the other first and launches the right aircraft at the right time with the right weapons and can still defend their own airspace and can best co-ordinate their recovery/refuelling/re-armament had the best chance of coming out on top. The Japanese were hampered by their inability to conduct launches and recoveries simultaneously/close together, had less-well-protected aviation fuel and bomb/torpedo stores, and only specialized damage control parties that were easily overwhelmed.

And for every measure, there is always a countermeasure.
 

Colin Parkinson

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.50cal gives you more range and mass than a 7.62, but does not take up the volume that 20mm+ does. If your going big than the 40-57mm with proximity fuzes with work well, ammo designed to spread small ball bearings in a even pattern.

Roof hatches on trucks with MG's will have to be common to increase the volume of fire, along with "self-defense drones" mounted in something that looks like smoke discharger.
 

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Swarm attacks from small UAV are not the threat people make them out to be. If an aircraft is in a position to launch a bunch of tiny UAV with extremely limited range, electronic hardening and payload then it would be better off dropping two Exocets.

If a ship is close enough to the shore to have to deal with UAV's of that type then it would be better to just drop artillery and mortars on the ship. UAV's like that are much better for land warfare given the terrain, dispersed nature of the enemy, tiny battlespaces (in comparison to naval ones) and limited countermeasure availability.

UAV's like that have uses in naval warfare. A sonobouy launched UAVs with MAD exist. They disperse in a pattern and can detect submarines.
 

suffolkowner

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I have a limited understanding of this obviously but the systems are not limited to land and a 1000km range and 9 hr endurance would seem to pose a threat to any ship



 

Colin Parkinson

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I am less worried about massed drones for the moment and more worried about individual or small groups of suicide drones going after the lesser navy ships, like AOR's, AOP's and the Kingston's. Suicide drones will become the weapon of choice for organized non-state actors. They allow for a significant propaganda victory, complete with video and at minimal risk and cost to themselves.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I suspect you see the AOP's and perhaps the AOR's armed with the 57mm and some other counter measures within 10 years as the evolving threat sinks in. The Bofors 57mm seems well placed as effective defense against suicide drones.
 

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Would the good ol' modernized CWIS still be a good option against a threat like this?
 

blacktriangle

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I think it's biggest drawback is the limited ammo supply and lengthy reload
For sure.

I'd also wonder about how often they'd have mechanical issues relating to elevation/traverse, gun etc during heavy use (no idea) as well as how effective they'd really be against saturation attacks. Not things that I'd want discussed in detail on public internet, but my layman concerns nonetheless.

Perhaps one day, some form of phased-array DEW system will address many of these issues.
 
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I have a limited understanding of this obviously but the systems are not limited to land and a 1000km range and 9 hr endurance would seem to pose a threat to any ship

Well, a missile is a true drone. Those are basically missiles you're talking about.

What's the difference between a whole bunch of missile-sized UAV's and a whole bunch of missiles? From a ships perspective, the threat is the same. I see nothing there the isn't pre-existing, except for perhaps the mission profile.

It's the small UAV's (less than 1m in any dimension) that are hard to detect that are the new threat IMHO. The main defence against them is to keep moving and standoff. Followed by ECM and then 40mm and below.

As for CIWS being useful, CIWS may not recognize them as a threat as they move relatively slow, as CIWS in AA Auto has parameters like target speed it uses to detect threats. You can of course set the parameters wider but then you run into things like the CIWS targeting your own approaching helicopter. It would have to be a policy thing to manage.

CIWS with a manual control setting using IR tracking however can likely do the job. If you have a CIWS magazine with a direct feed to the mount you wouldn't have to worry about ammo (the Tico's have this setup). Just keep clipping on more to the belt and let fly.

20-30mm Mk38 type naval guns can also do this sort of thing as they have IR tracking and predictive targeting. AOPS carries a 25mm version of this gun-type (might not be that specific brand) and the CSC will carry two 20mm versions. With low and slow UAV's I think this sort of setup would work great. I suppose we might need to try it out with the Snyper drones the RCN uses...
 
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Uzlu

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No plans to change warships despite PBO cost warning, top official says

OTTAWA — Canada’s top military procurement official says there are no plans to change directions on the construction of a fleet of new Navy warships despite a recent warning about escalating costs from Parliament’s budget watchdog.

In an exclusive interview with The Canadian Press, Troy Crosby, the assistant deputy minister of materiel at the Department of National Defence, said he remains confident in Ottawa’s estimated price tag for the 15 vessels.

And he suggested switching things up now to save money would only lead to delays and undercut the Navy’s ability to protect Canada.

"The solution that we have will deliver the equipment that the Navy and Canada require for its surface combatants for the long term," Crosby said. "We’re going to do the best we can to deliver that in as timely a fashion as possible so the Navy gets the ships it needs."

Crosby’s comments come about a month after parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux released a report predicting another multibillion-dollar cost increase in what is already the largest military procurement in Canada’s history.

While the government says the warships will cost up to $60 billion, Giroux put the figure at more than $77.3 billion.

The vessels were supposed to cost $26 billion when the project to replace the Navy’s frigates and destroyers was launched in earnest a decade ago.

Despite the parliamentary budget office’s demonstrated track record of predicting such costs over the years, Crosby was adamant about the accuracy of the government’s current figure, which was set in June 2017.

"They use a different model than we do, which is okay, it does provide a comparison," he said. "But we’re confident in the estimates that we wrote."

Crosby also stands by the government’s estimates despite recent revelations that the first of the warships, which will be based on the British-designed Type-26 model that has yet to be built by any country, won’t arrive until at least 2030. That is years later than expected.

Officials previously questioned Giroux’s figure, suggesting he put too much emphasis on the ship’s weight in his calculations and included tax, which they say the government doesn’t have to pay.

Crosby also noted the $60-billion figure includes contingency funds, adding his confidence in that number is based on having more understanding about the project as it has moved from an abstract idea over the years to a real design.

"We’ve got far more facts to be able to bring to the cost estimating," he said. "Information brought to us by the contractors, and the experience they’ve got internationally on the Type-26 program, for example, that can all be brought into our own estimating work now."

Giroux and his team also looked at the idea of a hybrid fleet, in which Canada builds three Type-26 ships and supplements them with 12 other vessels. That would mimic how the Navy was previously built, with three destroyers and 12 frigates.

To that end, the PBO found that the government could save $40 billion if it built only three Type-26 frigates and supplemented them with 12 smaller, less capable Type-31s, which is similar to what Britain has decided to do.

Canada could also save $50 billion if it scrapped plans to build any Type-26s and went with an entire fleet of Type-31s, according to the report, though the PBO noted the Type-31 was "designed to operate alongside the ‘higher-end’ Type-26."

It also found that launching a competition to select a new design could delay delivery of the first ship by four years.

The government has previously said it has no plans to restart the project, while Crosby said a hybrid approach "would not meet the needs, would not meet the requirements" of the Navy.

One area where Crosby would concede concern was around whether the Halifax shipyard and its counterpart in Vancouver, which is building two Navy support ships alongside several vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard, have enough staff to get the job done.

Potential staffing shortages, as well as the need for more government officials to oversee the shipbuilding projects, were highlighted in a recent report by the federal auditor general.

"There isn’t sufficient workforce to do all of the work that needs to be done, but that’s okay because the work doesn’t need to be done today," Crosby said. "It’s certainly something that we keep an eye on for ourselves as well."

He also suggested some of the projects already underway, most of which are behind schedule, could face further delays as shipyards have been forced to scale back work and otherwise adapt to COVID-19.

"COVID has caused a challenge in the yards," he said. "The full consequences of COVID will be clearer over time."
 
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