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GR66 said:I'd argue that cutting back the CSC's to 8 hulls effectively takes the RCN out of the blue water navy category in a major war. With only four combatant hulls on each coast and accounting for less than 100% availability at any time that leaves less than one doctrinal Task Group to defend each of our entire Atlantic and Pacific coastlines.
You suggest cutting the Task Group size in half (or even to a single ship), but even if that is sound doctrine (I have no idea the implications of that, I'll leave it to the experts to comment) it still leaves a maximum of 4 x warships to defend each of our coasts. That leaves zero ships with which to project power and therefore effectively no blue water capability. And as has been pointed out by several experienced naval types in this forum the AOPS, no matter how much lipstick you choose to put on them in terms of extra sensors or bolt on weapons, is not and never will be a combatant.
I'd argue that if we only get 12 x CSCs giving us 6 per coast for a single TG plus spares, or one 4-ship Task Group per coast for coastal defence and a third 4-ship Task Group for deployment it is not enough for what we'll need in a major war. 15 x CSCs is probably the absolute minimum number of combatants we would need in a real shooting war giving us two 3-ship TG's for defence of Canadian territorial waters on each coast and a 3-ship TG for deployment. I think even that leaves us paper thin and doesn't take into account any losses or less than 100% availability.
That's why if I were PM for a day I would like to see something like 12 x ASW capable corvette-type minor combatants added to the fleet to supplement the CSCs. And while even if we were to increase our defence budget to the 2% of GDP goal it may seem like shooting for the stars, as I noted in my original post I'd be willing to give up some other capabilities in order to fund that. Because to be totally honest, having the naval capability to ensure that US military reinforcements and supplies reach a conflict zone will have much greater military benefit in a major war than putting a Canadian Brigade Group on the ground would.
All good points and probably quite valid. With respect to the colourized bit above, I'm actually suggesting that there be no Canada Task Group at all. We can send one or 2 ships to some other Task Group. I realize quite well this is a complete departure from established traditions and operating principles of the RCN, but I will wager that in 20 years the surface fleet will not be much different than what I have set out above. 15 ships (which the RCN and the government state are a minimum) is as much a number as 88 fighters when we plan on only deploying 6 fighters at a time.
Also, the type of surface ship, the principal surface combatant, would be something far more capable than the Type 26 in its current form. Land strike, surface strike, NGS, ASW, AAW, EW, BMD. Not "fitted for" or "planned" but actually fitted out completely.