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Replacing the Subs

daftandbarmy

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I'm all in favour of us having nuclear subs I just don't see it being realistic. Opportunity to join with Australia on this would be impressive and I don't see the US opposing it this time around unless they view us as that leaky from an intelligence standpoint. Why the French-Australian collaboration didn't work is hard to say from the outside. Maybe it's a cultural thing or the Australians were asking too much, but it looks like they managed to make it work on a lot of other deliveries including one nuclear project in Brazil


Given that we have a complimentary platform, diesel hunter-killers, it should be fairly easy to suggest some kind of partnership.

If we had any international credibility in the political realm, and an effective track record of opposing China, of course.
 

Czech_pivo

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a 10 year+ lead time to train people up. Not saying it's not feasible just would be really expensive to set up and maintain.
Given our track record over the last 20+yrs in procurement, I think that the above timeline fits nicely with our way of doing business.

As someone else pointed out, station the trainee crews out of Virginia and/or WA and have them start by being a part of the normal crew rotations. Build up the experience in that manner. I going to go out on a limb and say that the operation tempo in Virginia is a bit more frequent than ours.

We imbed troops with the US and UK forces all the time, across all branches of the services. Perfect example being our having 'boots on the ground' in Iraq during the invasion of Iraq (both in the US and UK forces) and having Sr personnel at the C&C centres down in the US doing the planning and logistics, even when Chretien was loudly declaring that Canada wouldn't be going. I'm saying this to pre-emptively counter the argument that the CDN public would be against our positioning of service members on nuclear subs. A CDN hand in Colorado can just as easily 'turn the key' to launch an ICBM as an American one.
 

OldSolduer

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Given that we have a complimentary platform, diesel hunter-killers, it should be fairly easy to suggest some kind of partnership.

If we had any international credibility in the political realm, and an effective track record of opposing China, of course.
There's the issue. As long as we have a government led by -IMO - a Communist sympathizer we will be shut out from our true allies.
 

Fishbone Jones

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Dont we have a huge problem with retention and recruitment? I think I read here somewhere we have civies manning positions aboard ships. How are we expected to man nuclear boats?
 

Navy_Pete

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Dont we have a huge problem with retention and recruitment? I think I read here somewhere we have civies manning positions aboard ships. How are we expected to man nuclear boats?
Just like the combined plan for the Libs and Cons for budget balancing, and our crew retentions, we'll employ the COA of;

St Patricks Day Rainbow GIF by TipsyElves.com


I think they'd be a great capability but think that we can't afford to buy them without a massive change in perception of defence procurement, and we don't have the funding, expertise or infrastructure to safely maintain them. We fail on the surface ships, and manage it with a massive effort for the diesel subs, but think a nuclear plant would completely break our entire support structure. Maybe if we scrapped everything else and just had a few nuke subs, but that would leave massive capability holes, in all the big political points things we bring to the table like disaster relief.

It's going to take a huge amount of work to get our surface fleet back up to snuff after decades of hard use/abuse, but don't see any real changes to the status quo in the near future. We'll probably have to have a few ships "self-retire" first and hopefully no one gets hurt in the process.

I mean, it'd be awesome if I had a 3 car garage and an outbuilding for a workshop along with a home office and some more property, but you have to live within your means and be practical about it. If we're struggling with the basics, maybe we should figure that out first.
 

OldSolduer

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Just like the combined plan for the Libs and Cons for budget balancing, and our crew retentions, we'll employ the COA of;

St Patricks Day Rainbow GIF by TipsyElves.com


I think they'd be a great capability but think that we can't afford to buy them without a massive change in perception of defence procurement, and we don't have the funding, expertise or infrastructure to safely maintain them.
I`m not RCN but I have read a fair bit about nuclear powered subs. They ain`t your grandpa`s fleet boat and they should not be commanded by nincompoops and idiots. Safety is the watchword here.
 

Navy_Pete

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I`m not RCN but I have read a fair bit about nuclear powered subs. They ain`t your grandpa`s fleet boat and they should not be commanded by nincompoops and idiots. Safety is the watchword here.
Our entire risk management process would need overhauled, trained and ingrained on the operations side to get there. Right now it's a basic stoplight setup (with four colours for the lower risk side) and the joke is that the RAs are an exercise in 'talking it until it's yellow' (which used to be blue, but people said we were too risk adverse...). Stricter on the sub side, but still a pretty basic process. The nuclear industry is far more advanced, and actually not even really sure how the regulation of that would work in Canada. We're exempt from a lot of things, but some environmental laws still apply, so who knows.
 

KevinB

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Dont we have a huge problem with retention and recruitment? I think I read here somewhere we have civies manning positions aboard ships. How are we expected to man nuclear boats?
From my understanding (any RCN folks feel free to steer me onto the correct course if I am wrong) that the civilian positions are on the converted container ship that is doubling as a fleet supply ship because the government didn't replace the Protequetor (whatever the French of Protector is) and Provider in time.

Virginia Class has 134 Crew - the LA Class had (has as some are still in service) 128.
Significantly more than the 53 on the Victoria class SSK's - but all told even for 6 the difference is 486 personnel.

If the CF has issue finding 486 people to be submariners - you have a lot more issues than just that...
 

Grimey

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From my understanding (any RCN folks feel free to steer me onto the correct course if I am wrong) that the civilian positions are on the converted container ship that is doubling as a fleet supply ship because the government didn't replace the Protequetor (whatever the French of Protector is) and Provider in time.

Virginia Class has 134 Crew - the LA Class had (has as some are still in service) 128.
Significantly more than the 53 on the Victoria class SSK's - but all told even for 6 the difference is 486 personnel.

If the CF has issue finding 486 people to be submariners - you have a lot more issues than just that...
The core crew is civvies, augmented by RCN pers for RAS activities, force protection, helo ops etc.
 

Eye In The Sky

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station the trainee crews out of Virginia and/or WA and have them start by being a part of the normal crew rotations. Build up the experience in that manner. I going to go out on a limb and say that the operation tempo in Virginia is a bit more frequent than ours.

We imbed troops with the US and UK forces all the time, across all branches of the services. Perfect example being our having 'boots on the ground' in Iraq during the invasion of Iraq (both in the US and UK forces) and having Sr personnel at the C&C centres down in the US doing the planning and logistics, even when Chretien was loudly declaring that Canada wouldn't be going. I'm saying this to pre-emptively counter the argument that the CDN public would be against our positioning of service members on nuclear subs. A CDN hand in Colorado can just as easily 'turn the key' to launch an ICBM as an American one.

Has Canada ever had an exchange officer/NCM onboard USN nuc's before? If not...why not? There's a reason if the answer is "no".

I think RCN Officers have been on RN SSNs, at the very least while attending PERISHER. That was on T-boats, I can't comment on if a RCN Officer has witnessed the inside of an Astute.

Navy_Pete, your "Magic" gif....perfect.
 
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OldSolduer

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Has Canada ever had an exchange officer/NCM onboard USN nuc's before? If not...why not? There's a reason if the answer is "no".

I know RCN Officers have been on RN SSNs, at the very least while attending PERISHER. That was on T-boats, I can't comment on if a RCN Officer has witnessed the inside of an Astute.
I think - don't quote me here - there are agreements in place between the UK and USA regarding technology that is present in UK submarines and that not just anyone can climb aboard a Brit SSN.
 

Grimey

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lol, I don't think we operate with what anyone would consider a 'sustainable and robust' workforce for crewing. Usually one boat or more is in an extended work period, and they are offset by design, so you don't normally need a full crew there. Suspect they are like us and would be in trouble if they wanted to actually sail all their operational boats at the same time.

Similarly, we don't have 12 CPF crews sitting around, so lots of pier head jumping to meet the basis for 'safe at sea' crew levels, let alone sustained operations, which needs a lot more people (and a higher level of functioning equipment) to actually be combat capable. Lot of people are quitting for various reasons (including burnout and disatisfaction with some trade amalgamations and pier head jumping) which just compounds things. Our current ops tempo in the RCN continues to be unsustainable and the institution is going to break itself. We didn't even slow down wit COVID, and keep sending ships to sea far below the threshold where they would be allowed out as commercial vessels, (without actually understanding the risk we're taking on) all for peacetime operations.

I think we'll have to start tying up old ships to actually send any of the incoming AOPs to sea (as well as to afford the maintenance), but the RCN still wants to operate the MCDVs (and the Oriole!) so things are all spread dangerously thin.
With the amalgamation of the three Mar Eng sub-trades, has that alleviated pier head jumping somewhat, or is there still a shortage of Cert 2/3/4s or whatever they're called now? I've been out for 9 years along with most of my peer group. Hard to get a feel as to what the state of Mar Tech (god, what a awful name) manning is currently.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I think - don't quote me here - there are agreements in place between the UK and USA regarding technology that is present in UK submarines and that not just anyone can climb aboard a Brit SSN.

Yep; some of it is discussed in the book Submarine by Tom Clancy. There's comparison and discussion points on the LA Class and Trafalgar class boats, including the different LA flights, as well as comparison of both navies' "Command Colleges". You might be correct....I changed my post to "think RCN Officers have been on T-boats. I don't remember where I read that, and the documentary I watched on PERISHER had only a USN Officer on the course along with the RN Officers.

The Clancy book....it's a bit old now, of course, but still a good read (IMO). I think I paid $8.99 for my Kobo E-book.
 

Colin Parkinson

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In the book "Through a Canadian periscope" The author who is well connected mentioned that the UK stopped inviting non-nuclear Captains to their Perisher course when they dropped non-nuclear subs. Canadian crews work with other NATO members on a non-nuclear NATO Perisher course modelled off of the Brit one. Apparently our subs have been used on these courses a number of times.

 

Edward Campbell

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Dont we have a huge problem with retention and recruitment? I think I read here somewhere we have civies manning positions aboard ships. How are we expected to man nuclear boats?

My sense, from being a regular here on Army.ca, is that the staffing situation applies across the board ... the RCN may be the worst but, it appears, that everyone has some real problems.

Absent a big recession ~ which we might be due for in a few years (major recessions and subsequent expansion come every 25-50 years in modern (post industry revolution) times, our last major recession ended in 2009 ~ the best way to solve the recruiting and retention problem is to make military service and a military career more attractive than, say, being a civilian truck-driver or construction worker, or retail sales clerk, or electronic technician or a banker or businessperson or an airline pilot. It also seems, to me, based, largely, on what I read here, that the 21st century CF is NOT s really attractive career choice for most young people. (Please, remember, folks, I joined BEFORE Paul Hellyer became MND and retired almost 25 years ago.)

There was an analogous situation in the late 1950s and early 1960s. There was no war to fight ... the "adventure" factor ~ which I think does make the military attractive to young men, especially ~ was lacking and pay was low. Mr Hellyer "solved" the pay issue by promoting most trained OS, Pte, LACs to Cpl and most Lts to Capt ... it worked, sortta, but it also mangled a proven , successful, leadership pyramid that had served Canada well in war, after war, after war.

But I'm sot sure pay is the top issue in 2021. Maybe "lifestyle" matters more: there are damned few perquisites any more, are there? And Cold Lake, Petawawa, Bagotville and Gagetown are not quite as "nice" for a soldier raising a family as were Calgary, Winnipeg, London, ON and Germany.

I agree with you, old chum, that recruiting retention MUST be solved in parallel with fixing the procurement system ... and both need to happen AFTER the fat morbid obesity is cut from the CF's command and control superstructure and AFTER the individual training and career management mess is sorted.

In my view, ALL those reforms need to happen BEFORE the defence budget can be increased in any meaningful way ... and I suspect, actually, I fear that the top levels of the CF's leadership pyramid are, broadly and generally, unfit for purpose and cannot make the needed things happen.
 

OldSolduer

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I seem to recall one of our sub skippers court martialled. It seems he was a grad of the Perisher program. I watched some tv about him and was he rail roaded?
 

Colin Parkinson

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Dont we have a huge problem with retention and recruitment? I think I read here somewhere we have civies manning positions aboard ships. How are we expected to man nuclear boats?
Federal Fleet Services, Canada's attempt at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. It's actually a good idea and has side benefits of creating berths for merchant marine types that will go on to be the Ship pilots and Chief Engineers of the future. Apparently the current system needs some tweaks, but it's quite workable and the US/RN even uses contracted helicopters and crews for the vertical replenishment as well.
 

CBH99

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I`m not RCN but I have read a fair bit about nuclear powered subs. They ain`t your grandpa`s fleet boat and they should not be commanded by nincompoops and idiots. Safety is the watchword here.
After watching that show on Discovery about the RN Perisher course, and reading two memories of ex-submarine skippers… I have realized I’m not remotely capable of commanding a submarine.

Especially not one that has anything nuclear onboard, regardless of what it is.


What has always really impressed me was just how well educated a lot of the submarine CO’s, XO’s, and crews are. A lot of them have PhD’s, Masters, etc in a variety of advanced sciences. Younger members benefit immensely from that kind of culture, and many of them (in the USN anyway) had started impressive degrees of their own.

I don’t think idiots can get even close.
 

dimsum

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After watching that show on Discovery about the RN Perisher course, and reading two memories of ex-submarine skippers… I have realized I’m not remotely capable of commanding a submarine.

Especially not one that has anything nuclear onboard, regardless of what it is.


What has always really impressed me was just how well educated a lot of the submarine CO’s, XO’s, and crews are. A lot of them have PhD’s, Masters, etc in a variety of advanced sciences. Younger members benefit immensely from that kind of culture, and many of them (in the USN anyway) had started impressive degrees of their own.

I don’t think idiots can get even close.
Yeah - dummies (or bad ship-drivers) don't really get far in the sub fleet, from what I've heard.
 
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