• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs)

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
2,848
Points
1,040
SeaKingTacco said:
Mr Campbell,

I don't think a small combatant/OPV/whatever we call these things needs to be commanded by a three ringer. A sufficiently experienced and appropriately command qualified 2 and a half can probably do it. I am agnostic about reservist or reg force. The problem today is that the giant suck of HQ staffs is pulling MARS Officers thru seagoing postings so fast, there is not a deep well of driving experience at that rank level (IMHO, only- others may beg to differ).

I would like to see these drives given to promising 2 and a halfs before they are promoted and given a frigate or CSC. Not sure what the RCN has in mind.
From everything I can understand the RCN likes the way that the Britts and Aussies use their smaller boats, as command development platforms.  You can be a CO on an AOPS, MCDVS, or future patrol boat before or just after your frigate XO tour.  With the smaller crew sizes and minimal combat systems these budding "major combatant" COs can get their feet wet.  It also provides a place for those 2 1/2s that somehow missed their chance the first time around.
.
Kirkhill said:
Just wondering -

If a big vessel like Maersk Triple Es can be managed with the same size crew as  the Danish OPV, could a crew of the same size, manning all the same duty stations be trained on something the size of the Orcas which, as ERC seems to  suggest, could be floated in any large body of water?

Could a common bridge work for all vessels from something the size of an Orca all the way up to AOR? Or bigger?
[/qoute]
Bridge layouts are generally similar from the simulators at NOTC to the frigates.  Gyro, COs chair, radar displays, electronic charts, sound powered phone, VHF, all nav equipment are basically in the same places. The helmsman might be on a different side.  Changes come when you look at ancillary stations that are not navigation related, like the bridge Navcom stations.

Engineering equipment is also different, ORCAs can sail with a crew of 5.  So their engineering is monitored from the bridge by the helmsman and bridge crew.  So much more can go wrong in the other ships that an MCR needs to be manned.  No real control of that on the bridge for the rest of the ships.

Though not a bad idea it's not that big of a deal switching between classes even though they layouts vary a little.  Bigger challenges lie in remembering what functions this particular navigation radar has, and then remembering how to use it. ;D
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
7,916
Points
1,360
Underway said:
...You can be a CO on an AOPS, MCDVS, or future patrol boat before or just after your frigate XO tour.  With the smaller crew sizes and minimal combat systems these budding "major combatant" COs can get their feet wet.  It also provides a place for those 2 1/2s that somehow missed their chance the first time around...

Does the RCN have enough command billets for a streamer to command both an AOPS then CSC?  Would not a command of a 6,000 ton, weaponized, Northern passage-capable ship not in and of itself qualify as a command of a warship for the RCN's purposes?  While not quite a parallel, something like how the CA had Battalion/Regiment commands and school commands, but you would rarely see a School Cmdt then go to Battalion or Regiment command.

Thanks in advance.

G2G
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
880
SeaKingTacco said:
Mr Campbell,

I don't think a small combatant/OPV/whatever we call these things needs to be commanded by a three ringer. A sufficiently experienced and appropriately command qualified 2 and a half can probably do it. I am agnostic about reservist or reg force. The problem today is that the giant suck of HQ staffs is pulling MARS Officers thru seagoing postings so fast, there is not a deep well of driving experience at that rank level (IMHO, only- others may beg to differ).

I would like to see these drives given to promising 2 and a halfs before they are promoted and given a frigate or CSC. Not sure what the RCN has in mind.

I think you are contradicting yourself here SKT. In an earlier post you stated that once air ops are added to a ship - any size - it is not a "minor" warship anymore. Now you say it requires an "appropriately command qualified" person. And my question here is what do you know of the requirements made of a Minor Warship Command candidate to qualify that would not make it "appropriate" for air ops?

The "Minor" command syllabus is constantly modified to add whatever new knowledge is required of its candidate, just like the Surface Command one. When the reserves went from the Gate Vessels to the MCDV's, the syllabus was adjusted to add all of the new engineering, all of the new underwater mine warfare operations and the new communications knowledge; just as the Surface Command was adjusted up when the old steamers were replaced by the HAL's. I surmise that, from an operations point of view, it was as much of a step up for one as for the other.

Yet, all command qualified personnel at the time were "grandfathered" but given a chance to pick up the extra operational knowledge. Why would that be? It is because, unlike the Air Force, where you qualify  by type of aircraft, the Navy does not qualify MARS officers by ship class. You talk about "driving experience" and I know that we often call the C.O's "ship-drivers". But in practice, all C.O. know that while we are given command of a ship, it is the crew that we really command. CO's, unlike pilots in their plane, hardly touch anything: They have a crew to do it for them.
So if you add air ops to a small combatant, there is no reason to believe that, if it wanted to keep it a "Minor Command", the RCN could not incorporate it into the Minor Warship Command program.

BTW, I agree with you that a 2 1/2 is sufficient for those small combatants ERC has in mind. After all, the crew is only about 60  people, which makes a good "junior" command step. It was unfortunate, in my mind, that the Regular Forces lost such junior commands for its officers when they retired the PB's on the West Coast at the time the MCDV came into service and went "all reserve". The return of some MCDV to being available for regular MARS officers is a good thing in my mind. Anyone who has commanded ships will tell you that nothing - not the command certification process; not years as a Mars officer; not even a tour as XO - prepares you for your own command. Even commanding something as small as an ORCA has more bearing on showing if you have the character for command. In that sense, the junior commands are a good place to find out earlier in one's career if he/she has what it takes.
   
 

SeaKingTacco

Army.ca Fixture
Donor
Reaction score
3,907
Points
1,010
OGBD,

I did not contradict myself. A Ship that has air ops is sufficiently complex that it requires someone who has passed that major combatant command board. Note that I did not specify the rank of the CO. I know of Lt(N)s that have passed the Command Boards for a Major warship.

This is all my humble opinion. But, since I have commanded HELAIRDETs on three ships, I think I have an idea about what I speak.
 

Kirkhill

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Reaction score
3,180
Points
1,060
Digression?

I thought that traditionally, in the RN, sailing (or driving) the ship was the responsibility of the Warrant Officers, starting with the Master.  The Commissioned Officers were charged with directing and fighting the ship.

I know the Master has gone the way of the Dodo but has the Master's role been replaced or has it been subsumed into the Captain's role?
 

Stoker

Army.ca Veteran
Subscriber
Reaction score
283
Points
880
Under the 60/40 split there are several MCDV's who now have major warship Command qualified CO's including mine. My CO was recently promoted to LCdr and will only be CO for a one year posting. The other 40% billets are pretty much the same, one year posted and gone again. It is interesting to note that the ships with the reg CO's are the only ones doing OP Nanook, presumably to get arctic time for the CO's until they could be posted to a AOPS in the future.
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
2,848
Points
1,040
Kirkhill said:
Digression?

I thought that traditionally, in the RN, sailing (or driving) the ship was the responsibility of the Warrant Officers, starting with the Master.  The Commissioned Officers were charged with directing and fighting the ship.

I know the Master has gone the way of the Dodo but has the Master's role been replaced or has it been subsumed into the Captain's role?

MARS officer job alone.  NavOs department.  You have to learn to sail the ship before you are allowed to command and direct it in battle.

SeaKingTacco said:
OGBD,

I did not contradict myself. A Ship that has air ops is sufficiently complex that it requires someone who has passed that major combatant command board. Note that I did not specify the rank of the CO. I know of Lt(N)s that have passed the Command Boards for a Major warship.

This is all my humble opinion. But, since I have commanded HELAIRDETs on three ships, I think I have an idea about what I speak.
Command quals are being merged when possible.  The command course is the same for reg and reserve MARS.  2nspots were saved for PRES billets.  Command boards are a different thing and can be dependant on the class of ship.  Command of MCDVs is a different board then Command of a frigate or an Orca.  To drive an AOR you need to have your deep draught qualification.  AOPs might require an Ice operations qualification.  The system is flexible enough you could easily have an AOPS command board that didn't include all the extra war fighting stuff but included all the requirements for an air detachment.

AOPs is going to be a very different beast, with all that mini support to forces ashore capability.  I wouldn't be surprised if they added that extra req package to any aspiring AOPS COs.  I also wouldn't be surprised if they entirely cut out the PRES entirely unless you got your major surface combatant board qualification.

Initially I think that they will stick with the major combatant qual and then re-visit after a few years.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
880
SeaKingTacco said:
OGBD,

I did not contradict myself. A Ship that has air ops is sufficiently complex that it requires someone who has passed that major combatant command board. Note that I did not specify the rank of the CO. I know of Lt(N)s that have passed the Command Boards for a Major warship.

This is all my humble opinion. But, since I have commanded HELAIRDETs on three ships, I think I have an idea about what I speak.

I am not questioning whether you know anything about commanding Helairdets or what CO's with a Surface Command ticket are all about. What I am questioning is what you know about what CO's that have a Minor Warship Command ticket are all about, and what makes you think they are any less capable of handling air ops IF IT WAS PART of their training and curriculum.

I see you mention ship's complexity. As I tried to explain, that is not relevant to command of a ship because we have technical personnel to handle all that for us. What matters is leadership, handling of people, a good tactical sense and knowledge, which you are presumed to posses when facing a command board, of the ship's organization.

I note that "Underway" seem to think that command board are different by class. I do not know what his experience is to make such a statement, and it may well be true, but in my experience, I doubt it. That may be so for engineering questions, but those hardly form a large part of the boards. [A side note here, Underway seem to create a third "command" ticket category for the ORCA's. That is not the case. Someone with a Surface or Minor command cert can just step in and take charge of an ORCA on their ticket. People who don't have such command tickets can acquire the required knowledge and challenge a "Charge" board to get their ORCA charge ticket. Something that do not let them assume command, but obtain charge of an ORCA as O.I.C.]

In my experience (my command board and those of a few friends that faced them), the Board takes for granted that  someone who has passed all the command exams [and in my days, six of the eight command exams for Minor Warship command were exactly the same as for Surface command, and were granted towards your surface command if passed] and has been recommended by his ship's captain after serving under him/her for a while (a power of recommendation all Co's I know take very seriously) can be counted on to possess the technical knowledge to command a ship. Therefore, the Boards concentrate on other aspects, such as character, leadership and knowledge and appreciation of the CAF general policies relating to personnel and how to apply them in a shipboard setting.

In my 2 hours command board (minor Warship), we spent about 15 minutes on Rules of the Road questions, another 15 minutes in navigation, engineering and seamanship, before going into 1 and a half hour where we dealt with scenarios concerning how to handle suspected drug use onboard, alleged sexual harassment or general harassment complaints, suspected financial misconduct by the supply officer, scenarios where I would have to order some poor chap to carry out an action that would result in his death, and two scenarios that were designed to see how much imagination I could show in trying to resolve situations more and more dire, and at which point I would conclude it was hopeless and I ordered abandon ship.

This Minor Warship command Board was chaired by CAPT. Al Davies, onboard Protecteur which he captained at the time, and made up of his Coxn, two destroyers CO and one of the said destroyers Chief ERA. What makes anyone think this board was much different from a full Surface Command one? 
 

quadrapiper

Sr. Member
Reaction score
72
Points
330
Very edifying discussion.

On the CO-tour point, is there any value in, or are these people at a point in their training where it would make sense to, place Lts (N) in a CO role on (for example) PCTs? Core crew with a roving cast of reservists and others in need of sea time?

Also, does the Army or Air Force do anything like the command board described above before battalion command?
 

SeaKingTacco

Army.ca Fixture
Donor
Reaction score
3,907
Points
1,010
In the Maritime Helicopter World, you must pass a board before you can be appointed as a Crew Commander. Probably a legacy of our RCN past.
 

Underway

Army.ca Veteran
Donor
Reaction score
2,848
Points
1,040
Oldgateboatdriver said:
I am not questioning whether you know anything about commanding Helairdets or what CO's with a Surface Command ticket are all about. What I am questioning is what you know about what CO's that have a Minor Warship Command ticket are all about, and what makes you think they are any less capable of handling air ops IF IT WAS PART of their training and curriculum.

I see you mention ship's complexity. As I tried to explain, that is not relevant to command of a ship because we have technical personnel to handle all that for us. What matters is leadership, handling of people, a good tactical sense and knowledge, which you are presumed to posses when facing a command board, of the ship's organization.

I note that "Underway" seem to think that command board are different by class. I do not know what his experience is to make such a statement, and it may well be true, but in my experience, I doubt it. That may be so for engineering questions, but those hardly form a large part of the boards. [A side note here, Underway seem to create a third "command" ticket category for the ORCA's. That is not the case. Someone with a Surface or Minor command cert can just step in and take charge of an ORCA on their ticket. People who don't have such command tickets can acquire the required knowledge and challenge a "Charge" board to get their ORCA charge ticket. Something that do not let them assume command, but obtain charge of an ORCA as O.I.C.]

In my experience (my command board and those of a few friends that faced them), the Board takes for granted that  someone who has passed all the command exams [and in my days, six of the eight command exams for Minor Warship command were exactly the same as for Surface command, and were granted towards your surface command if passed] and has been recommended by his ship's captain after serving under him/her for a while (a power of recommendation all Co's I know take very seriously) can be counted on to possess the technical knowledge to command a ship. Therefore, the Boards concentrate on other aspects, such as character, leadership and knowledge and appreciation of the CAF general policies relating to personnel and how to apply them in a shipboard setting.

In my 2 hours command board (minor Warship), we spent about 15 minutes on Rules of the Road questions, another 15 minutes in navigation, engineering and seamanship, before going into 1 and a half hour where we dealt with scenarios concerning how to handle suspected drug use onboard, alleged sexual harassment or general harassment complaints, suspected financial misconduct by the supply officer, scenarios where I would have to order some poor chap to carry out an action that would result in his death, and two scenarios that were designed to see how much imagination I could show in trying to resolve situations more and more dire, and at which point I would conclude it was hopeless and I ordered abandon ship.

This Minor Warship command Board was chaired by CAPT. Al Davies, onboard Protecteur which he captained at the time, and made up of his Coxn, two destroyers CO and one of the said destroyers Chief ERA. What makes anyone think this board was much different from a full Surface Command one?
Fair enough, I was kinda smooshing boards and quals together on my post.  There are no more command exams now.  Just the command course in which you get your Orca OIC ticket as part of the entire package.  But the intention of my post remains, that training and courses prepare you for the ship you are to command, and if you are judged to have the proper training then you can command the ship, assuming the board has been passed.
 

Cronicbny

Member
Reaction score
18
Points
230
For the sake of clarity - the draft NAVORD 4500-28, Sea Command Boards, has within the following useful nuggets:

2.4 Warship One of HMC ships, under the command of a commissioned officer.

2.5 Major Warship Surface warships carrying over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, or which operate aircraft.

2.6 Minor Warship (MWS)
Surface warships which do not carry over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, and which do not operate aircraft.


And

3.1
Aim The examination for Surface and MWS Command Qualifications shall be a Command Board.

The aim of a Surface Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful Executive Officer (XO) tomorrow of a major warship or a successful Commanding Officer (CO) tomorrow of a minor warship.

The aim of a MWS Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful CO tomorrow of a minor warship.

Granted, it is in draft form and subject to change, but it may prove useful nonetheless.



 

Edward Campbell

Army.ca Myth
Subscriber
Donor
Mentor
Reaction score
1,080
Points
1,160
IN ARDUA NITOR said:
For the sake of clarity - the draft NAVORD 4500-28, Sea Command Boards, has within the following useful nuggets:

2.4 Warship One of HMC ships, under the command of a commissioned officer.

2.5 Major Warship Surface warships carrying over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, or which operate aircraft.

2.6 Minor Warship (MWS)
Surface warships which do not carry over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, and which do not operate aircraft.


And

3.1
Aim The examination for Surface and MWS Command Qualifications shall be a Command Board.

The aim of a Surface Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful Executive Officer (XO) tomorrow of a major warship or a successful Commanding Officer (CO) tomorrow of a minor warship.

The aim of a MWS Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful CO tomorrow of a minor warship.

Granted, it is in draft form and subject to change, but it may prove useful nonetheless.


So by that definition, my example of a small combatant (German Fassmer OPV 80 at less than 2,000 tons) would, likely, not be a "minor war vessel," is that right?

I'm not sure the designation matters, to me; the point of my question was "what rank is 'right' to command?" and I think I hear that a smaller vessel, with a crew of, say, less than 100, is, probably a LCdr's command ... despite a CF wide tendency to over-rank (although that regrettable habit is most evident in too many, bloated, unnecessary and over-ranked HQs, not in fleet and field units and formations, but that's another matter).
 

dimsum

Army.ca Legend
Mentor
Reaction score
3,913
Points
1,260
IN ARDUA NITOR said:
For the sake of clarity - the draft NAVORD 4500-28, Sea Command Boards, has within the following useful nuggets:

2.4 Warship One of HMC ships, under the command of a commissioned officer.

2.5 Major Warship Surface warships carrying over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, or which operate aircraft.

2.6 Minor Warship (MWS)
Surface warships which do not carry over-the-horizon, anti-air or ASW weapon systems, and which do not operate aircraft.


And

3.1
Aim The examination for Surface and MWS Command Qualifications shall be a Command Board.

The aim of a Surface Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful Executive Officer (XO) tomorrow of a major warship or a successful Commanding Officer (CO) tomorrow of a minor warship.

The aim of a MWS Command Board is to assess a candidate’s potential to be a successful CO tomorrow of a minor warship.

Granted, it is in draft form and subject to change, but it may prove useful nonetheless.

Just curious, why must the "tomorrow" be included and not assumed?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
880
It says tomorrow because if the candidate is then heading for the other coast from his/her board, he/she has to have the time to get there  ;D.

Actually, I agree it is a useless word: You pass the Board, you ought to be able to be given command (or XO's position) immediately.

As for the rest of the new descriptors they are using to differentiate minor from major warship, I think they are stated in an unfortunate fashion.

First of all: are the criteria an all inclusive requirement, i.e. to be a major warship you have to have all of them: OTH weapons, ASW weapons, AAW weapons and operate aircraft? or if you meet any one of these criteria, you are a major warship?

And does the OTH weapons apply to any weapons or is just an adjective qualifying AAW and ASW weapons? In other words, would a patrol boat with harpoons and a CWIS be a minor warship, because Harpoons are ASuW weapons and the CWIS is anti-air but not OTH?

Similarly, if a single criteria puts the ship into the major category, isn't an all encompassing "operate aircraft" unduly restrictive of a minor warship in an era where UAV's of all sorts are becoming available for small vessels, or if we want to have a "minor" warship that has a landing spot, without bear trap system, to accommodate some limited landings of helicopters if required, from time to time.

Considering this is a NAVORD and, lets face it we are not the US Navy, would it not be simpler to simply state the classes of ship we consider major and the classes of ship we consider minor, and amend the list from time to time (how often do we take in a new class of vessels?) .

For instance: "Major Warship means an AOR, JSS, DDH, FFH or AOPS. Minor Warship means a MM."

Why always make things more complicated than they ought to be?
 
J

jollyjacktar

Guest
Oldgateboatdriver said:
Why always make things more complicated than they ought to be?

Because, it seems to be a hard naval tradition (from what I've seen many times).
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
880
You know, it just occurred to me that if the OTH weapon is NOT a qualifier of the AA or AS weapons but a criteria on its own, i.e. if you carry any type of OTH weapon you are a Major Warship, then it would have been a lot simpler to just say:

"Minor Warship is any warship armed ONLY with ASu weapons for use within line of sight. Anything else NOT a submarine is a Major Warship".
 

Infanteer

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Donor
Reaction score
3,716
Points
1,160
Is the typical path for a LCdr in the Navy XO of a major warship and than CO of a minor warship (if those billets are available)?
 

Oldgateboatdriver

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
335
Points
880
No its not the usual path.

Until recently, the minor warships (read MCDV's) were fully manned by the reserves and thus commanded by reserve officers*. The normal path for a regular force officer was XO of a major surface ship followed by CO of such major warship, with perhaps a short posting ashore between the two.

Regular forces officers now have the opportunity to command minor warship, and as they are a LCDR command, this can count as their "XO" tour instead, or if they are too junior [theoretically one could get a minor warship command certificate  and get command of an MCDV while still a LT] as a precursor to a tour as Major warship XO. Such path used to exist before the MCDV's came on line, when there were six reserve ships (the GVs and FS) and four or five regular force PB's in the minor warship category.

*: In fact, for a long time, there was no such distinction as a "minor" vs "major" warship for tickets purposes. You had the Surface Watch Keeping and Command certificates on the one hand and the Reserve Watch Keeping and Reserve Command certificates, which let you stand watch or command any warship assigned to the reserves. My BWK was under the old system, became grandfathered as a MWBWK and my command certificate was a minor warship one right off the bat.
 

Good2Golf

Moderator
Staff member
Directing Staff
Subscriber
Mentor
Reaction score
7,916
Points
1,360
Oldgateboatdriver said:
You know, it just occurred to me that if the OTH weapon is NOT a qualifier of the AA or AS weapons but a criteria on its own, i.e. if you carry any type of OTH weapon you are a Major Warship, then it would have been a lot simpler to just say:

"Minor Warship is any warship armed ONLY with ASu weapons for use within line of sight. Anything else NOT a submarine is a Major Warship".

OGBD, I confirmed with my English-major writer wife, and the text of the draft NAVORD is clear, the "or" in the Major Warship description represents an unrestrictive union phrasing, i.e. means that if you have any one of the three capabilities, you're Major.  The Minor Warship is logically defined in the opposite sense with a restrictive, intersecting phrasing, meaning that all capabilities must be not present for the vessel to be Minor.  This grammatical phrasing is also supported by Venn diagrams...some of your Naval colleagues we either very deliberate with their phraseology (which I suspect to be the case) or they stumbled upon a logically consistent phraseology by accident.

[/2nd-person grammatical pedant]

Regards,
G2G
 
Top