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Replacing the Subs

Stoker

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I know someone who goes up to the Arctic every second summer for the entire navigation season for the purposes of mapping the seabed and such. He’s told me that he has personally seen old Soviet navigation maps pre-1990 that were much more accurate and detailed than the maps they were using 25yrs later - all within Canadian waters.
We use charts from various sources some are modern, some foreign and some are from the 50'sfrom HMCS Labrador. The government should as part of the NSP build several dedicated hydrographic ships and send them to the Arctic to chart more of it.

You seem to have a lot of complaints about the Arctic, what would you do to secure it?
 

KevinB

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We use charts from various sources some are modern, some foreign and some are from the 50'sfrom HMCS Labrador. The government should as part of the NSP build several dedicated hydrographic ships and send them to the Arctic to chart more of it.

You seem to have a lot of complaints about the Arctic, what would you do to secure it?
Would that be 4 months out of the year?
 

Stoker

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Would that be 4 months out of the year?
If your going to spout off about 4 months of the year at least be accurate on when an AOPS can actually operate in Arctic waters. I know it seems you have a lot of criticism of the RCN and government in regards to the Arctic and I'm sure its deserved but do your research on what exactly the ships are capable of and not just in the Arctic.
 

Czech_pivo

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We use charts from various sources some are modern, some foreign and some are from the 50'sfrom HMCS Labrador. The government should as part of the NSP build several dedicated hydrographic ships and send them to the Arctic to chart more of it.

You seem to have a lot of complaints about the Arctic, what would you do to secure it?
One thing that I wouldn’t be is complacent or accepting of the fact that we have access to Soviet charts from 30+yrs ago that they could have only gathered is by mowing our grass for us. Do you not find that just a little troubling?

Depending on how you look at it, we are either blessed or cursed with having the 2nd largest land mass in the world to govern with a population less than California that just happens to be condensed in a tight narrow corridor about 100 miles wide. When described in that manner it sounds a lot like a curse.

What can be done with the Arctic? The vastness of it makes it just about ungovernable with such a tiny population that has become soft and mellowed by all the creature comforts of urban living and the hyper-marketing that goes with it. The harshness of it solidifies the answer. Dropping penny packets of men and materiel throughout the Arctic achieves nothing for they will have nothing to do but count polar bears and fight boredom and depression. Stationing more SAR capabilities further forward will reduce the long hours flying to the high Arctic from Trenton, adding some more modern versions of the Aurora (and adding a few more to our fleet as well), to our tool box will help with semblance of anti-submarine surveillance throughout the entire area, but finding an SSN under the ice is close to zero. Greater number of flights does lead to greater presence and awareness throughout the area. Increasing the size and capabilities of our heavy ice breaking fleet and using this fleet consistently throughout the Arctic 12 months of the year is in effect 1 of 2 ways to have ‘boots on the ground’ in the Arctic. Due to the fact that sailing time from the East coast is long and arduous to reach the middle islands of the Arctic and coming from the West coast is even longer, with more danger and political risk due to the fact that we must sail through so much American water to reach our own, ignoring the fact that we are spit ball away from the Russians a lot of the time. Stationing these heavy ice breakers in say, Churchill as their main port should be considered going forward. This would necessitate upgrading the existing rail line and ultimately building an all weather road as well. Yes of course the challenges are many, but what’s the alternative? Having a rail line and all weather road would allow for more supplies being brought forward to the settlements scattered throughout the Arctic. These ice breakers could be used to ferry in supplies throughout the year instead of only the summer months. Lastly, the second way to achieve’boots on the ground’, is obtaining full under ice capable subs, wether nuclear or whatever feasible, reliable alternative there may be. The only way to own an area is to live in the area, there is no other way.

The Russians achieved population centres throughout their Arctic by 3 ways in the past. The first was penal colonies under the Czars. The second was Gulags under Stalin and the third was very high salary and incentives under Stalin’s successors. We can’t do numbers one or two and we’ve tried number three with very very little success so populating the Arctic just doesn’t look feasible in the short to medium term.

If global warming is occurring (and I fall into the camp that the earth is going through one of its many warm/hot cycles), then the North West Passage will become more of a common sailing option when going from Europe to Asia. Look at it this way, does Canada (and it’s Allies) routinely sail in the waters between mainland China and Taiwan? Yes, of course it does as we believe that it’s International waters, not internal waters of China. So, following this logic, do you not think China is going to one day call our bluff on this and sail their new polar icebreaker through the North West Passage? The ship come from the Russian side of the Arctic, hell there might even be Russian ice breaker with it, and they will push through and other than us getting some nice pics of them during some fly overs there won’t be much we can do about it.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Continuous commitment to increasing the infrastructure to the existing communities is the only way. That means better airports, better navigation systems for vessels and aircraft. Better communications. Improve existing roads and extend them. Beef up the rail line to Churchill, plan on extending a railine into the Yukon or NWT. Work on improving access to electricity, natural gas and and locally grown food in greenhouses. If ever there was a place for small nuclear powerplants it is the North.

On the military side, build some good hanger and facilities (including ammunition bunkers) at certain airports to support fighters, SAR and transports. Build up the training establishments so we can run more people through them, purchase equipment like the BvS 210 to support troops in the region and give them support as required. Set up Reserve units in some communities to act as support for the Rangers, training the regs and patrolling. Set up two-three naval reserve units with patrol boats that can be hauled out over winter and stored indoors. Rotate RSS staff through on short term deployments to assist, but with a focus of training locals.

All of the above will make the North more habitable and easier to attract and keep people up there. this is the long term solution and needs buy in from both major parties.
 

Kirkhill

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Pivo, you ask what the alternative is to building new infrastructure. Effectively incurring additional capital expenses. The alternative is always to swap capital expenses for operating expenses.

We already have infrastructure in place in the sense that there are communities. What they need is better connectivity. People can live there but they can't afford to live well there. Visiting the neighbours costs too much. Seeing a doctor. Going to hospital. Buying lettuce. Going to the Caribbean. Heating the house. That's all because the price of moving people and goods is too high.

We can spend trillions building road and rail links over ground that melts, and heaves and freezes and sinks and grows mountains and floods. Or we can use what we know already works. Float planes. Ski planes. Hercs. Jets. Helicopters. And rough terrain vehicles.

For the amount of money we would spend building the infrastructure we could subsidize northern living for the small number of people up there for a very long time. Reduce the cost of fuel. Government subsidies on air travel and air craft and ATVs. Flying Doctors of the type pioneered by the Aussies where the Doctors actually flew their own government aircraft on their rounds.

But that will take money that could be reasonably spent buying more votes on the American border.

If we few want to keep ahold of this vast treasure hoard then we are going to have to pay for it. And that is going to mean exploiting that treasure.

And if we won't sell thermal coal from Alberta and BC to Dalian so they can run their factories, heat their homes and purify their water somebody may take it into their head to help themselves.

Some people want to live up north. The more that want to live in the "boonies" then the fewer "security guards" we have to hire to watch the treasure while we drink our beers at the cottage.

Buying the locals a few tickets down south, cheap milk and a doctor would be well worth it.

But only if we mean to use our treasure and not just sit on it.

Slainte.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I have to disagree, roads and rail are important. a lot more thought goes into road building now to minimize damage.
 

Retired AF Guy

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We can spend trillions building road and rail links over ground that melts, and heaves and freezes and sinks and grows mountains and floods. Or we can use what we know already works. Float planes. Ski planes. Hercs. Jets. Helicopters. And rough terrain vehicles.
And may I add hovercraft.
 

Stoker

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One thing that I wouldn’t be is complacent or accepting of the fact that we have access to Soviet charts from 30+yrs ago that they could have only gathered is by mowing our grass for us. Do you not find that just a little troubling?

Depending on how you look at it, we are either blessed or cursed with having the 2nd largest land mass in the world to govern with a population less than California that just happens to be condensed in a tight narrow corridor about 100 miles wide. When described in that manner it sounds a lot like a curse.

What can be done with the Arctic? The vastness of it makes it just about ungovernable with such a tiny population that has become soft and mellowed by all the creature comforts of urban living and the hyper-marketing that goes with it. The harshness of it solidifies the answer. Dropping penny packets of men and materiel throughout the Arctic achieves nothing for they will have nothing to do but count polar bears and fight boredom and depression. Stationing more SAR capabilities further forward will reduce the long hours flying to the high Arctic from Trenton, adding some more modern versions of the Aurora (and adding a few more to our fleet as well), to our tool box will help with semblance of anti-submarine surveillance throughout the entire area, but finding an SSN under the ice is close to zero. Greater number of flights does lead to greater presence and awareness throughout the area. Increasing the size and capabilities of our heavy ice breaking fleet and using this fleet consistently throughout the Arctic 12 months of the year is in effect 1 of 2 ways to have ‘boots on the ground’ in the Arctic. Due to the fact that sailing time from the East coast is long and arduous to reach the middle islands of the Arctic and coming from the West coast is even longer, with more danger and political risk due to the fact that we must sail through so much American water to reach our own, ignoring the fact that we are spit ball away from the Russians a lot of the time. Stationing these heavy ice breakers in say, Churchill as their main port should be considered going forward. This would necessitate upgrading the existing rail line and ultimately building an all weather road as well. Yes of course the challenges are many, but what’s the alternative? Having a rail line and all weather road would allow for more supplies being brought forward to the settlements scattered throughout the Arctic. These ice breakers could be used to ferry in supplies throughout the year instead of only the summer months. Lastly, the second way to achieve’boots on the ground’, is obtaining full under ice capable subs, wether nuclear or whatever feasible, reliable alternative there may be. The only way to own an area is to live in the area, there is no other way.

The Russians achieved population centres throughout their Arctic by 3 ways in the past. The first was penal colonies under the Czars. The second was Gulags under Stalin and the third was very high salary and incentives under Stalin’s successors. We can’t do numbers one or two and we’ve tried number three with very very little success so populating the Arctic just doesn’t look feasible in the short to medium term.

If global warming is occurring (and I fall into the camp that the earth is going through one of its many warm/hot cycles), then the North West Passage will become more of a common sailing option when going from Europe to Asia. Look at it this way, does Canada (and it’s Allies) routinely sail in the waters between mainland China and Taiwan? Yes, of course it does as we believe that it’s International waters, not internal waters of China. So, following this logic, do you not think China is going to one day call our bluff on this and sail their new polar icebreaker through the North West Passage? The ship come from the Russian side of the Arctic, hell there might even be Russian ice breaker with it, and they will push through and other than us getting some nice pics of them during some fly overs there won’t be much we can do about it.
Thank you for responding. Just for context I did ten deployments with the RCN in the Arctic conducting over the years various missions including hydrographic work, mass SAR, working on a sensor net as proof of concept in the NWP and operating with the French, Danish, USCG and US Navy. The Arctic is not unknown to me.

Yes known about the soviet charts, they consist of soundings taken more than likely by soviet submarines at the entrance of both sides of he NWP during the height of the cold war. Understandable why the soviet union would attempt this given we were in a cold war with them. Going through the NWP is a dangerous proposition for submarines, any submarines. I would like to point of that the Russian cruise ship that went aground in the NWP several years ago were probably using these charts. At the current rate of charting it will take 300 years to chart the Canadian Arctic. I would propose that under the NSP we prioritize several ice capable hydrographic ships built by Davie to carry out charting missions exclusively in the Arctic. Can't use the Arctic if we go aground in it.

Immediately replace the aurora with a capable replacement with larger numbers to allow more overflights of the Arctic. Ensure that these aircraft or if retaining the Auroras are armed with the Harpoon or NSM.

Expand the airfields capable of operating the CF 18 or possible replacement and add more airfields at existing population centers. Purchase a fighter capable of mounting a ASM.

Put more money towards satellite coverage of the Arctic and increase communications bandwidth.

Create a regional SAR center at Iqaluit with satellite centers in strategic places in the Arctic seasonally manned or manned if needed.

Expand the deep water port at Iqaluit with storage, fuel and jetty space to accommodate allied ships during the ice free navigation season. Make an agreement with Denmark, the US, UK and Norway to create an Arctic squadron to patrol the Arctic during the ice free season.

Establish another refueling station at the west end of the NWP. Take the current one and expand the capacity.

Nuclear submarines will never happen, AIP is not tested under the ice all pipedreams currently. By all means replace the current subs with 6 to 8 with lithium ion batteries and efficient motors.

Continue research and implementation of a sensor net in the chokeholds of the NWP.

Start researching ASW drones that can operate under the NWP.

Build 2 more heavy icebreakers in addition to the other 2 that is planned.

Churchill is too far away but certainly upgrade the air facilities there to operate fighters, upgrade the rail line and declare it a strategic asset and have port facilities to support naval ships.

I'll make some comments about what you said about population centers. Our Arctic is very different from the Russian Arctic. They have large economic and population centers that need to have ample icebreaking capability for commercial traffic ours not to the extent to what they do. Back in the 50s the government forcibly relocated some of the native population to far flung areas to increase the population and establish communities to claim sovereignty. This is a dark stain on Canada.

China is definitely in interested in the NWP, in fact they published a guidebook in 2016 for transiting the passage. This issue is that currently the unpredictably of ice in the passage makes it not economically feasible to send container ships through there because of possible delays. Eventually that may change and honestly economically they are more than welcome to use the passage just like any country shipping cargo. It will be a matter of time before we seen their icebreaker coming through. Their main focus right now is the polar silk road linking Russia to Europe via the Northern sea route much less dangerous.

As for scenarios of joint Russian and Chinese naval icebreakers coming through the passage without permission, we'll see. I'm willing to bet that will not happen.
 

daftandbarmy

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We already have infrastructure in place in the sense that there are communities. What they need is better connectivity. People can live there but they can't afford to live well there. Visiting the neighbours costs too much. Seeing a doctor. Going to hospital. Buying lettuce. Going to the Caribbean. Heating the house. That's all because the price of moving people and goods is too high.

IMHO this is the key to any northern defence posture. Not wasting money building remote ports that are iced in for 9 months of the year.

However, communities up there are simply a mess: technically, structurally, and in all dimensions of the normal human services that 99.9% of Canadians take for granted.

A massive investment in infrastructure and services is called for if, for no other reason, following the humanitarian principles we love to preach to the world in our usual superficial and virtue signalling fashion.

If we do that other benefits, such as greater security, will likely follow.
 

Kirkhill

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And may I add hovercraft.
And boats

And perhaps Multi Purpose ships based on the AOPS hull? If I am right and the AOPS hull is to be replicated for SeaSpan MPV contract then that will result in a fleet of 24 hulls (6 built by Irving for the RCN and 2 for the Coast Guard as well as 16 built by SeaSpan for the Coast Guard). There is also the possibility of additional sales to the US Coast Guard.

If that hull form is successful, in the same way that the Flower Class Corvette whaler was successful, then it could become the basis of a northern freighter fleet. Rugged and, hopefully cheap.

Just recently I learned about the Peterhead boats.

Peterhead2


The Peterhead boats were fishing boats built originally in Peterhead in Scotland and brought to the Canadian Arctic where they became popular. They were then built in Canada and became mainstays of northern life for decades. I believe some are still operating. Perhaps the AOPS hull can achieve some of the same utility. HDW has had a great maiden voyage it seems. How far north can she go? How long can she stay there? How far up the MacKenzie can she navigate?

And even if it turns out she is an expensive hull, even with an economy of scale of mass production, it might be worth subsidizing the build of commercial variants if she improves daily life. Make them available to the northern freight companies as coastal freighters and oilers.



Another way to tie the North to the government would be to put the Rangers on to the payroll. Currently they are only obligated for 12 days a year. Pay them a solid full time wage. Upgrade their kit to something akin to the Volunteer Coast Guard or a Volunteer Fire Department while still remaining under DND authority. Leave them armed and independent but improve their gear and supply them with full environmental clothing built to their designs. Improve their comms and navigation gear to their satisfaction. Issue them with Domestic Arctic Mobility Equipment like the Bv206 or the stuff that Foremost makes, or subsidize trials until they find something they like. Issue them with jet boats that work in shallow waters, and coastal seas. Issue drones. Train some as pilots, both aerial and maritimes. Support more paramedics/nurse-practitioners. Emergency generators and back up water plants. Fire fighting. HazMat response.

Make the Ranger Patrol the centre of each community. Make it useful and desirable and make it a means of pumping government dollars into every village. Tie those villages securely to Ottawa.

With a network of loyal, interconnected hubs dotted around the north, from the southern edge of the treeline to Eureka, if not Alert, then

  • security will be enhanced,
  • native prosperity improved (which can only have a beneficial effect on land claims - the worst sovereignty challenge that we face, and the most easily exploited by our potential enemies )
  • northern access improved
  • commercial opportunities enhanced
  • sovereignty enhanced.

And the CAF will have a firm base on which to fall in when the need arises, and models for the kit and systems it really needs for working in Canada.

The Rangers, and the Militia, would then supply the comms, log and security infrastructure for Domestic Ops.

The CAF could focus on Armed Response and Expeditionary Ops.

But that would also mean "subsidizing" the Militia with terms of service and full time billets.
 

Kirkhill

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Further to my notion, it would also supply a more northern focus for the Yellow Fleet. And perhaps it would be worth subsidizing Viking to produce more Yellow Twin Otters, and possibly even Buffalos for local communications.
 

daftandbarmy

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Further to my notion, it would also supply a more northern focus for the Yellow Fleet. And perhaps it would be worth subsidizing Viking to produce more Yellow Twin Otters, and possibly even Buffalos for local communications.

Or even better: contract out to Space X

 

Colin Parkinson

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Further to my notion, it would also supply a more northern focus for the Yellow Fleet. And perhaps it would be worth subsidizing Viking to produce more Yellow Twin Otters, and possibly even Buffalos for local communications.
The fact that we are flying ancient Twotters when Viking is making new ones boogle the mind. for a Northern based patrol boat I am thinking something the size of the CB 90. Hovercraft were heavily used in the Arctic for oil exploration, however they are maintenance hogs and require shore support. but if your going Hovercraft go big or go home......
 

Dale Denton

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The Peterhead boats were fishing boats built originally in Peterhead in Scotland and brought to the Canadian Arctic where they became popular. They were then built in Canada and became mainstays of northern life for decades. I believe some are still operating. Perhaps the AOPS hull can achieve some of the same utility. HDW has had a great maiden voyage it seems. How far north can she go? How long can she stay there? How far up the MacKenzie can she navigate?

And even if it turns out she is an expensive hull, even with an economy of scale of mass production, it might be worth subsidizing the build of commercial variants if she improves daily life. Make them available to the northern freight companies as coastal freighters and oilers.

Couldn't agree more, i'd like to expand on the above by having two having a design competitions for a Canadian or ice-capable design and a Canadian yard to build something like you stated. It funds the engineering of icebreaker ship design and research either at home or brings foreign knowledge (N.European?) of ship designs to us. Have framework for the ships to be arctic-capable, rugged, easily built and operated and cheap to run. Make a line of ships over time that would build on this framework and eventually allow for larger or more varied designs and jobs.

Make the design licencing available for cheap to larger Canadian yards and free for small-boat builders throughout Canada. It would allow industry to build replacement parts and aftermarket accessories to advance the utility of these boats, adding to their longevity.

With a network of loyal, interconnected hubs dotted around the north, from the southern edge of the treeline to Eureka, if not Alert, then
  • security will be enhanced,
  • native prosperity improved (which can only have a beneficial effect on land claims - the worst sovereignty challenge that we face, and the most easily exploited by our potential enemies )
  • northern access improved
  • commercial opportunities enhanced
  • sovereignty enhanced.

I'd like to add Internet connectivity to that as well. Make mobile learning easier for remote communities, and acts as a way to link them together. Keep bushpilots on payroll and operate something from Viking to run (RCMP, Doctors, RNs and RPNs, Rangers) through these expanded airfields.
 

Retired AF Guy

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I know someone who goes up to the Arctic every second summer for the entire navigation season for the purposes of mapping the seabed and such. He’s told me that he has personally seen old Soviet navigation maps pre-1990 that were much more accurate and detailed than the maps they were using 25yrs later - all within Canadian waters.

From a 06 Dec 2011 article in the Globe and Mail: Russian maps suggest Soviet subs cruised Canadian Arctic

A 15 July 2015 article in Wired that talks about how these Russian maps ended up in the west: Inside the Secret World of Russia’s Cold War Mapmakers.

One of the people mentioned in the above aticle even wrote a book about the Soviet effort and can be bought here. And if you don't want to buy the book, you can buy the maps instead at the same website.

And finally, as an example here is a link to a 1:500,000 scale map that shows the area around Alert.



 

KevinB

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If your going to spout off about 4 months of the year at least be accurate on when an AOPS can actually operate in Arctic waters. I know it seems you have a lot of criticism of the RCN and government in regards to the Arctic and I'm sure its deserved but do your research on what exactly the ships are capable of and not just in the Arctic.
It seems that is is a CF limitation - the hull based on the open source specs is good for year round Arctic work - and is a pretty decent Polar Icebreaker -- my criticism is solely based on the Political issues that the CF has in actually patrolling the Arctic - don't take it as a personal jab.
 

Kirkhill

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The fact that we are flying ancient Twotters when Viking is making new ones boogle the mind. for a Northern based patrol boat I am thinking something the size of the CB 90. Hovercraft were heavily used in the Arctic for oil exploration, however they are maintenance hogs and require shore support. but if your going Hovercraft go big or go home......
CB90ish Yes.

Monster hovercraft no. Although LCACs might have a place as ship to shore lighters.

300px-Dessin_d%27un_Ship-to-Shore_Connector.jpg



Which would be cheaper - a long pier in Iqaluit or half a dozen "lighters" based there?
 

daftandbarmy

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CB90ish Yes.

Monster hovercraft no. Although LCACs might have a place as ship to shore lighters.

300px-Dessin_d%27un_Ship-to-Shore_Connector.jpg



Which would be cheaper - a long pier in Iqaluit or half a dozen "lighters" based there?

Looks like they're on that:

Iqaluit deepsea port project remains on schedule for 2021 completion​


Despite pandemic restrictions, the construction of Iqaluit’s deepsea port and small-craft harbour remains on schedule.

The project, awarded to Tower Arctic in 2018, is still expected to be completed in 2021 and operational by the 2022 shipping season.

“I think that things are looking good to make that date,” said Justin McDonell, a project manager with the Government of Nunavut’s capital projects division.

According to McDonell the project is also still on budget.

“It took a little while to get all the details totally smoothed out for this project to move forward, but overall, we did not see as bad of a delay as other projects,” he said, referring to the impact of the pandemic.

 

Kirkhill

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Thanks for that D&B. In that case the pier is cheaper. Forget the maintenance hogs. :D
 
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