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Canadian Surface Combatant RFQ

FSTO

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With the project lifespan we could almost just slow down the drumbeat of delivery and have them keep building new blocks of CSCs.

FELEX was really only about the sexy combat systems and didn't do any baseline mechanical systems; it's killing us on the primary and auxiliary mechanical systems, and we have thousands of obsolete items that are trying to be processed for replacement, with very little LCMM/procurement resources.
Chatting with the former Winnipeg XO the other day. She had some horror stories on the physical and mechanical condition of that ship. I’m sure others have similar stories.
 

Edward Campbell

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Chatting with the former Winnipeg XO the other day. She had some horror stories on the physical and mechanical condition of that ship. I’m sure others have similar stories.

Well, they are already between 25 and 30 years old and they will need to last for what: another 10+ years?

Given our history with the St Laurent ~ Restigouche ~ Mackenzie ~ Annapolis and now Halifax class ships it looks like 40 years is the expected service life of a Canadian warship. Maybe mid-life refits need to be part of the initial design/development scheme.
 

YZT580

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Is it possible to maintain the same hull design and continue updating the bits that make it a war vessel so that we have a constant intake of new hulls every 20 to 25 years and each block of 3 or 4 is state of the art compared to the predecessor block? Then we would never have to do this again
 

Navy_Pete

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Well, they are already between 25 and 30 years old and they will need to last for what: another 10+ years?

Given our history with the St Laurent ~ Restigouche ~ Mackenzie ~ Annapolis and now Halifax class ships it looks like 40 years is the expected service life of a Canadian warship. Maybe mid-life refits need to be part of the initial design/development scheme.
Previously we used to do baseline refits; which meant that they would systematically go and just replace sections of piping, valves etc in whole sections. Meant that you would be replacing equipment that still had service life left, but also meant that you wouldn't be afraid of poking a section of piping in case you went through the paint. The replacements was staggered over a number of refits, so you would do something like a third of the firemain (for example) and replace all of it over 3 refits (or about 15 years).

We stopped doing that with the 280s at TRUMP and switched over to conditioned based docking work periods, so basically you do surveys but don't replace anything unless you find out it's messed up. If you do substantial enough surveys it works fine, but as you can imagine you'll miss things, but also coincided with a lot of spending cuts, which reduced the depth of our surveys, as well as not taking on work during DWPs (leaving it to the crews to hopefully fix).

When they retired, the 280s had sections of firemain that were at most about 25 years old (with some large chunks being less then 20). Similarly the old steamers also had the old refit philosophy and had a lot of stuff in relatively good repair, plus large engineering departments to keep up with PM (280s were about 70-80 MSED).

The CPFs started out as condition based, and we've really only started doing in depth surveys in the last 5-8 years, so there is a lot of things that have piled up. With the shortage in staffing, pretty typical to have small crews during the post DWP reactivation (20-30) now, which isn't enough to keep up with just standard PM (preventative maintenance), let alone the repairs. It's pretty usual on some systems that the FMF goes in to do a simple 4 hour PM routine that turns into a few weeks of repairs because the systems are so degraded. And all that missed PM usually leads to something breaking, increasing the repair load and takes away from doing more PM.... (continues ad naseum). Long story short is that the CPFs are in worse mechanical shape now in a lot of areas then the 280s were at retirement.

Ships can do 40 years if you treat them well and maintain them properly; still have a lot of obsolescence issues but you can handle that if you aren't overrun by things being broken and trying to figure out what to do for some kind of bandaid solution. We're beating on the CPFs like rentals, hoping nothing goes bad, and coughing and humming a tune through the safety inspections hoping no one looks to closely. Pretty nuts.

At this point just keeping my fingers cross that when something does go wrong no one gets hurt/killed before we start enforcing our own safety policies. Not really a lot to ask, as they are built around basic commercial requirements, but we're deploying ships to HR missions that might not be allowed to leave port under commercial rules, so I don't really know. Boggles my mind that we never took our foot off the pedal through COVID, despite having major impacts on our ability to fix things, and really no one cared what we were doing anyway.
 

Edward Campbell

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Previously we used to do baseline refits; which meant that they would systematically go and just replace sections of piping, valves etc in whole sections. Meant that you would be replacing equipment that still had service life left, but also meant that you wouldn't be afraid of poking a section of piping in case you went through the paint. The replacements was staggered over a number of refits, so you would do something like a third of the firemain (for example) and replace all of it over 3 refits (or about 15 years).

We stopped doing that with the 280s at TRUMP and switched over to conditioned based docking work periods, so basically you do surveys but don't replace anything unless you find out it's messed up. If you do substantial enough surveys it works fine, but as you can imagine you'll miss things, but also coincided with a lot of spending cuts, which reduced the depth of our surveys, as well as not taking on work during DWPs (leaving it to the crews to hopefully fix).

When they retired, the 280s had sections of firemain that were at most about 25 years old (with some large chunks being less then 20). Similarly the old steamers also had the old refit philosophy and had a lot of stuff in relatively good repair, plus large engineering departments to keep up with PM (280s were about 70-80 MSED).

The CPFs started out as condition based, and we've really only started doing in depth surveys in the last 5-8 years, so there is a lot of things that have piled up. With the shortage in staffing, pretty typical to have small crews during the post DWP reactivation (20-30) now, which isn't enough to keep up with just standard PM (preventative maintenance), let alone the repairs. It's pretty usual on some systems that the FMF goes in to do a simple 4 hour PM routine that turns into a few weeks of repairs because the systems are so degraded. And all that missed PM usually leads to something breaking, increasing the repair load and takes away from doing more PM.... (continues ad naseum). Long story short is that the CPFs are in worse mechanical shape now in a lot of areas then the 280s were at retirement.

Ships can do 40 years if you treat them well and maintain them properly; still have a lot of obsolescence issues but you can handle that if you aren't overrun by things being broken and trying to figure out what to do for some kind of bandaid solution. We're beating on the CPFs like rentals, hoping nothing goes bad, and coughing and humming a tune through the safety inspections hoping no one looks to closely. Pretty nuts.

At this point just keeping my fingers cross that when something does go wrong no one gets hurt/killed before we start enforcing our own safety policies. Not really a lot to ask, as they are built around basic commercial requirements, but we're deploying ships to HR missions that might not be allowed to leave port under commercial rules, so I don't really know. Boggles my mind that we never took our foot off the pedal through COVID, despite having major impacts on our ability to fix things, and really no one cared what we were doing anyway.

Thanks for that; it helps a lot to understand what the RCN is doing. I was in the office of the Chief of Engineering and Maintenance (CEM ~ RAdm Ed Healey) in the mid-1980s when the CPF and CF-18s and TCCS were all major projects. I had (35 years ago) a good, but broad (big hand/small map) overview of what we wanted to do, then, but I've been retired for nearly 25 years. Hearing what we are (and aren't) doing is very helpful, albeit not always reassuring.
 

Underway

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There is a reason that they added Davie to the list for DWP's. The Irving drydock can only do a single ship at a time. Adding Davie does two things, increases the drumbeat for ships able to undergo DWP's where they can get much needed repairs and gets the gov't votes.

This is also why the CSC program is going ahead come hell or high water. We can afford NOT to have that project work. There is no plan B. The ships will fall apart by then. When CSC 12 is built the frigate it will replace will be 40ish years old.

In other news there was a conference on Digital Fires not too long ago (Army folks suddenly start paying attention to navy thread). There were reps from various stakeholders and CSC was one of them. They were there to explain TLAM and 127mm capabilities as well as make connections so that when a FOO calls in Naval Gunfire support its ready to go with no hicups.
 

Grimey

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Previously we used to do baseline refits; which meant that they would systematically go and just replace sections of piping, valves etc in whole sections. Meant that you would be replacing equipment that still had service life left, but also meant that you wouldn't be afraid of poking a section of piping in case you went through the paint. The replacements was staggered over a number of refits, so you would do something like a third of the firemain (for example) and replace all of it over 3 refits (or about 15 years).

We stopped doing that with the 280s at TRUMP and switched over to conditioned based docking work periods, so basically you do surveys but don't replace anything unless you find out it's messed up. If you do substantial enough surveys it works fine, but as you can imagine you'll miss things, but also coincided with a lot of spending cuts, which reduced the depth of our surveys, as well as not taking on work during DWPs (leaving it to the crews to hopefully fix).

When they retired, the 280s had sections of firemain that were at most about 25 years old (with some large chunks being less then 20). Similarly the old steamers also had the old refit philosophy and had a lot of stuff in relatively good repair, plus large engineering departments to keep up with PM (280s were about 70-80 MSED).

The CPFs started out as condition based, and we've really only started doing in depth surveys in the last 5-8 years, so there is a lot of things that have piled up. With the shortage in staffing, pretty typical to have small crews during the post DWP reactivation (20-30) now, which isn't enough to keep up with just standard PM (preventative maintenance), let alone the repairs. It's pretty usual on some systems that the FMF goes in to do a simple 4 hour PM routine that turns into a few weeks of repairs because the systems are so degraded. And all that missed PM usually leads to something breaking, increasing the repair load and takes away from doing more PM.... (continues ad naseum). Long story short is that the CPFs are in worse mechanical shape now in a lot of areas then the 280s were at retirement.

Ships can do 40 years if you treat them well and maintain them properly; still have a lot of obsolescence issues but you can handle that if you aren't overrun by things being broken and trying to figure out what to do for some kind of bandaid solution. We're beating on the CPFs like rentals, hoping nothing goes bad, and coughing and humming a tune through the safety inspections hoping no one looks to closely. Pretty nuts.

At this point just keeping my fingers cross that when something does go wrong no one gets hurt/killed before we start enforcing our own safety policies. Not really a lot to ask, as they are built around basic commercial requirements, but we're deploying ships to HR missions that might not be allowed to leave port under commercial rules, so I don't really know. Boggles my mind that we never took our foot off the pedal through COVID, despite having major impacts on our ability to fix things, and really no one cared what we were doing anyway.
The 280s (and steamers) had a big enough MSE department that PM rarely slacked off or had a chance to snowball. It helped that the (Esquimalt based) 280s had a fairly strong return spring.....I've known guys that have done a full career from OD to CPO2 on a combination of HUR and ALG. The WENG dept for the most part had the same privilege and if you weren't at sea, you were posted to the School teaching systems and equipment you'd just been maintaining. The end result was you had a department that was extremely familiar with their equipment and systems and the pride of being able (again, the numbers had a lot to do with it) to maintain them....up to changing out cruise gas turbines with next-to-no shore side support.

Just a personal observation from my (limited) time on CPFs. in October 2002, ALG returned from Op APOLLO with fully functional engines and generators. We'd been gone for 7 months less a week and were in better material condition than when we left. A few months later, I was carrying out a diesel inspection on WIN who trailed us back from the gulf. The overall mechanical condition was shambolic. Considering the ship was less than 10 years old at that point, it did shine a light on how lean a frigate's MSE department was.
 

Navy_Pete

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The 280s (and steamers) had a big enough MSE department that PM rarely slacked off or had a chance to snowball. It helped that the (Esquimalt based) 280s had a fairly strong return spring.....I've known guys that have done a full career from OD to CPO2 on a combination of HUR and ALG. The WENG dept for the most part had the same privilege and if you weren't at sea, you were posted to the School teaching systems and equipment you'd just been maintaining. The end result was you had a department that was extremely familiar with their equipment and systems and the pride of being able (again, the numbers had a lot to do with it) to maintain them....up to changing out cruise gas turbines with next-to-no shore side support.

Just a personal observation from my (limited) time on CPFs. in October 2002, ALG returned from Op APOLLO with fully functional engines and generators. We'd been gone for 7 months less a week and were in better material condition than when we left. A few months later, I was carrying out a diesel inspection on WIN who trailed us back from the gulf. The overall mechanical condition was shambolic. Considering the ship was less than 10 years old at that point, it did shine a light on how lean a frigate's MSE department was.
For sure, switching from the 280s to the CPFs was eye opening. The east coast was similar, and there were a few people that were posted to the same ship for over a decade (with some breaks for career courses).

The other big change is the level of training and experience. Previously people were overtrained to an extent, but we had guys trained up to the same standard as FSRs to be able to do OEM level maintenance on the ship (which was a really good thing, as we kept running those cruise engines after the OEM stopped supporting them). Now it's pretty hit or miss. Got really luck and our deployed crew included a red seal diesel mechanic and a few diesel inspectors, plus some 280 pers with GT experience, so we actually got up to having all four of the old DGs running, but the black water system, hot water and all the other domestic systems were a running guerilla war of attrition against weird failures, and the crews are now getting promoted faster due to lack of people, so the more senior folks in the department don't have the same experience to mentor the new folks or otherwise have already dealt with whatever fault came up. The hot water system is particularly insane, and still can't believe it doesn't have an automatic temperature control (you instead have to manually tune the electric coils with a really touchy rheostat, which goes from cold to burning people in a fraction of a turn).
 
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