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Replacing the Subs

Rainbow1910

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The head room though... :LOL:

Spoke to a few British sailors on the Tide Class when the QE came to Halifax. they were built by Korean yards. One of the disadvantages was that they used Korean average heights for everything. There were a number of spaces where British sailors felt a little... claustrophobic.
I've heard the same thing levied by the Australians towards Japanese submarines a few years ago.

"But in the meantime, why don't we lease some of these used ones?" 🤨
I think another leased/used submarine procurement would be off the table, the Victoria's has completely poisoned that idea politically.
 

Spencer100

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Our political masters have the corporate memory of a flea. Do not under-estimate their ability to repeat bad mistakes.
I do believe the government does have a plan. Do nothing until absolutely they have to because of world events and/or if not justified at the time divest without replacement. This would be a win in their books.
 

GR66

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Personally I'm very much in favour of submarines for the RCN. I've suggested previously that we should go nuclear - even if we need to home port the subs in the US alongside their own in Grotton, CT and Kitsap, WA in order to be able to provide the required technical support.

The maritime domain that we need our subs to cover is absolutely massive. Russian sub-launched cruise missiles have a range of 2,500km for the SS-N-30A land attack version so they have a huge area far from our littorals we'd need to cover. Covering even the entrances to the NW Passage is a huge distance for our subs to travel and any deployment to an Asian crisis is very major undertaking.

Australia has already determined that the only way they can cover the distances they need to deploy is with nuclear propulsion. I don't think that the situation is any different for Canada. Presumably in any actual war situation our subs will need to make their transits to their operating areas submerged and at low speed in order to remain undetected by the enemy. How long will that take? What trade-offs will need to be made between the need to get on station as quickly as possible and remaining stealthy?

Then there's the question of quantity. With our current fleet of 4 x subs (3 in the Atlantic and 1 in the Pacific) even if we assume that all four are available to deploy then what kind of area could we cover? If we have one sub covering the Eastern end of the NW Passage would the other two be enough to maintain that coverage considering the time required to transit to and from station, resupply requirements, etc.? And that's just to patrol one location on one coast.

While a sub might be the best ASW weapon available I think realistically that since subs are slow and obviously can only be in one place at a time that you need a minimum number available for them to be worth the cost. I'm not sure exactly what that number is but I'm pretty certain that the number is likely more than 3 per coast. Nuclear subs with their better submerged transit speed and basically unlimited endurance would have a lower minimum number requirement.

My (uneducated) guess is that the Mulroney-era plan for 10-12 SSNs (giving 5 or 6 per coast) is likely about right for a minimum requirement. That would allow two or three subs to deploy to station fairly rapidly and be sustained by the remaining subs. Still doesn't provide a great amount of coverage, but would create a great amount of uncertainty for any enemy. Nuclear subs would also have the transit speed to be able to keep up with any Surface Task Group we might want to deploy.

I'm guessing that to get a similar level of sustainable coverage from a conventional submarine fleet you'd likely need 8-10 subs per coast. And I'm also guessing that with conventional subs it would be very hard to deploy in support of a Task Group in a distant theatre.

My gut tells me that unless you get to that critical mass in terms of numbers to be an effective force then maybe you'd be better off spending that money on a larger quantity of individually less capable assets. For example, how many P-8's can you buy for the price of 4 x SSKs? Which option would ultimately give you more ASW bang for your buck?

I'm definitely pro-submarine, but I'm just saying that our thinking regarding our submarine fleet needs to go beyond "submarines are good, our four submarines are old, and we need to buy new ones".
 

Rainbow1910

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Australia has already determined that the only way they can cover the distances they need to deploy is with nuclear propulsion. I don't think that the situation is any different for Canada. Presumably in any actual war situation our subs will need to make their transits to their operating areas submerged and at low speed in order to remain undetected by the enemy. How long will that take? What trade-offs will need to be made between the need to get on station as quickly as possible and remaining stealthy?
While you are correct in saying nuclear submarines are the best option for a Canada wishes to properly defend itself and flex power into the Arctic, I do not think operating a fleet of nuclear attack submarines is remotely plausible. Australia being brought into the ring of western nuclear attack sub operators is largely due to the fact that the country can be used as a very effective submarine base by the US in the event of conflict with China, having extra nuclear boats in the area as well is another positive. It's something to also consider that Australia very much has the incentive for its government to heavily invest in these types of boats given it's large holdings in the area and most importantly, an increasingly aggressive Chinese government pushing further out into its territory. Canada and its government doesn't have this urgent requirement, we are not directly at risk such as Australia by a powerful regional player. We are tucked away safely in North American with the current world superpower as a neighbor, a neighbor invested in maintaining the status quo of our combined defense.

Nuclear submarines for Canada would require domestic and international cooperation through multiple governments and incredible amounts of investment into countless aspects of the RCN. It would effectively result in a completely new future procurement and operational plan for the Navy going forward. There's also political issues with the US (and UK to a more minor degree) to deal with in regard to Arctic sovereignty as well as infrastructure, basing, training, physical procurement of vessels/parts and much more. It's effectively a pipedream that would require an unnaturally competent/united Canadian government to get such a procurement program through. At this point, the only realistic option I see for Canada is 6-8 modern and larger conventional boats.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The 15 nuke subs for Canada was also at the expense of most of the surface fleet. Surface Fleet can do a lot of things subs can't do and vis versa. It's very clear that 4 subs are not enough as 1-2 will always be in some sort of refit and another working up. Minimum 6 boats with 8 being a good number for us. That would allow 2 subs in deep refit, 2 working up and 2 operational (or 1 if we go 6) on each coast, assuming we can man them.
I think we can safely say that without a major geo-political event scaring the crap out of Ottawa, Canada is not getting nuclear subs in the next buy.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I’d go as far as changing the last line in the above post to say “Canada is not getting subs in the next but”.

Canadians just don’t care and neither does our government. We’ll continue to have rather token ASW and sub-surface forces. For the record I include my own fleet in that “rather token” statement.
 

OldSolduer

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I’d go as far as changing the last line in the above post to say “Canada is not getting subs in the next but”.

Canadians just don’t care and neither does our government. We’ll continue to have rather token ASW and sub-surface forces. For the record I include my own fleet in that “rather token” statement.
Especially this current Liberal government. I think if the young tard had his way he'd fire the CAF.
 

Eye In The Sky

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I think I'd have to agree; Canadians....care from 09 - 12 Nov and when they see the Snowbirds at an airshow.

Anyone would be hard pressed to convince me otherwise. I recently heard an Exchange Officer from one of our Allies say "your government really does not like you"...you being 'the Canadian military'. I don't even believe we are really all that respected amongst our Allies anymore as a force.
 

GK .Dundas

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The 15 nuke subs for Canada was also at the expense of most of the surface fleet. Surface Fleet can do a lot of things subs can't do and vis versa. It's very clear that 4 subs are not enough as 1-2 will always be in some sort of refit and another working up. Minimum 6 boats with 8 being a good number for us. That would allow 2 subs in deep refit, 2 working up and 2 operational (or 1 if we go 6) on each coast, assuming we can man them.
I think we can safely say that without a major geo-political event scaring the crap out of Ottawa, Canada is not getting nuclear subs in the next buy.
As I recall it was the Navy that cancelled the third tranche of 6 City class frigate because of sheer spectacular capability that SSNs offered..
The ability of warships to transit from Halifax to Esquimalt in a week to ten days as opposed to many weeks . Is very appealing, very appealing.
Furthermore I believe the figure usually mentioned in those heady days was 10-12 .
 

Halifax Tar

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While you are correct in saying nuclear submarines are the best option for a Canada wishes to properly defend itself and flex power into the Arctic, I do not think operating a fleet of nuclear attack submarines is remotely plausible. Australia being brought into the ring of western nuclear attack sub operators is largely due to the fact that the country can be used as a very effective submarine base by the US in the event of conflict with China, having extra nuclear boats in the area as well is another positive. It's something to also consider that Australia very much has the incentive for its government to heavily invest in these types of boats given it's large holdings in the area and most importantly, an increasingly aggressive Chinese government pushing further out into its territory. Canada and its government doesn't have this urgent requirement, we are not directly at risk such as Australia by a powerful regional player. We are tucked away safely in North American with the current world superpower as a neighbor, a neighbor invested in maintaining the status quo of our combined defense.

That sentiment is why we cant have nice things
 

KevinB

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We are tucked away safely in North American with the current world superpower as a neighbor, a neighbor invested in maintaining the status quo of our combined defense.
Uhm, the neighbor is getting sick and tired at you freeloaders, and has been making noises for years that you need to carry your own weight, or we will start making things uncomfortable for you.
 

Good2Golf

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Uhm, the neighbor is getting sick and tired at you freeloaders, and has been making noises for years that you need to carry your own weight, or we will start making things uncomfortable for you.

Canada: (sadly, not the first time I’ve used this…)
1660308263965.gif

…and the neighbour probably wouldn’t be as upset if they didn’t have to put up with Canada’s preachy, sanctimonious virtue-splaining on a regular basis.
 

OldSolduer

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Uhm, the neighbor is getting sick and tired at you freeloaders, and has been making noises for years that you need to carry your own weight, or we will start making things uncomfortable for you.

All empires eventually come to an end and tear themselves apart from within,

The USA is no different.
 

Edward Campbell

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Canada: (sadly, not the first time I’ve used this…)
View attachment 72463

…and the neighbour probably wouldn’t be as upset if they didn’t have to put up with Canada’s preachy, sanctimonious virtue-splaining in a regular basis.
Jeffrey Simpson , a decade ago, whinging about the Harper government, as he was won't to do, too often, quoted Dean Acheson: "American statesman Dean Acheson once acidly quipped that Canadians discussing foreign affairs reminded him of listening to the "stern daughter of the voice of God." Canadians, he implied, were pious moralists, ready to give free and often unwanted advice, based on the assumption that Canadians possessed a rare insight into good and proper conduct." Acheson made his comments at the height of the Korean War - Canada opposed several elements of the US-led UN strategy, especially getting too far North, close to the Yalu River. In the same (recorded) chat for his memoirs (Present at the Creation) Acheson, himself the son of an Ontario clergyman and a member of the Gooderham family - once mightily important in Canada - also said that Canada was: “a tribal society, naïve, terribly serious about the wrong things and not at all aware of their real problems.... Their best move would be to ask us to take them over; and our best move would be to say, ‘No.’”
 

Halifax Tar

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Jeffrey Simpson , a decade ago, whinging about the Harper government, as he was won't to do, too often, quoted Dean Acheson: "American statesman Dean Acheson once acidly quipped that Canadians discussing foreign affairs reminded him of listening to the "stern daughter of the voice of God." Canadians, he implied, were pious moralists, ready to give free and often unwanted advice, based on the assumption that Canadians possessed a rare insight into good and proper conduct." Acheson made his comments at the height of the Korean War - Canada opposed several elements of the US-led UN strategy, especially getting too far North, close to the Yalu River. In the same (recorded) chat for his memoirs (Present at the Creation) Acheson, himself the son of an Ontario clergyman and a member of the Gooderham family - once mightily important in Canada - also said that Canada was: “a tribal society, naïve, terribly serious about the wrong things and not at all aware of their real problems.... Their best move would be to ask us to take them over; and our best move would be to say, ‘No.’”

Canada seems to be comfortable being the wimp hiding behind the big kid throwing insults.
 

GR66

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While you are correct in saying nuclear submarines are the best option for a Canada wishes to properly defend itself and flex power into the Arctic, I do not think operating a fleet of nuclear attack submarines is remotely plausible.
I sadly agree that Canada getting SSN's is not really plausible due to a lack of political will. I'd argue that it would be possible IF there was the political will to do so.
Australia being brought into the ring of western nuclear attack sub operators is largely due to the fact that the country can be used as a very effective submarine base by the US in the event of conflict with China, having extra nuclear boats in the area as well is another positive. It's something to also consider that Australia very much has the incentive for its government to heavily invest in these types of boats given it's large holdings in the area and most importantly, an increasingly aggressive Chinese government pushing further out into its territory. Canada and its government doesn't have this urgent requirement, we are not directly at risk such as Australia by a powerful regional player. We are tucked away safely in North American with the current world superpower as a neighbor, a neighbor invested in maintaining the status quo of our combined defense.
Others have already commented on this point and I'll just add my "ditto".
Nuclear submarines for Canada would require domestic and international cooperation through multiple governments and incredible amounts of investment into countless aspects of the RCN. It would effectively result in a completely new future procurement and operational plan for the Navy going forward. There's also political issues with the US (and UK to a more minor degree) to deal with in regard to Arctic sovereignty as well as infrastructure, basing, training, physical procurement of vessels/parts and much more. It's effectively a pipedream that would require an unnaturally competent/united Canadian government to get such a procurement program through.
Nothing that could not be overcome with the political will to do so, but as noted above I agree with you that that will simply does not currently exist.
At this point, the only realistic option I see for Canada is 6-8 modern and larger conventional boats.
I agree that this is the likely course of action due to both political and financial constraints. However, this is where I hope some serious questions are asked before we proceed. Even with the best case scenario of eight subs (doubling our current fleet) that still leaves us with just four subs per coast.

Is that enough subs to be worth the cost in comparison to other capabilities? How many of those four subs per coast can we realistically expect to be able to maintain on station during a conflict considering the vast distances we need to cover? What is their detection range of enemy subs using passive sonar? Obviously the actual distance is highly variable depending on a whole range of conditions (and of course classified), but from what I've been able to find online it's likely less than 10km against a modern submarine at patrolling speed (please correct me if I'm out to lunch on this as this is obviously totally outside my lane). Relative to the size of our maritime domain that is basically nothing. Of course we would have other assets (both Canadian and allied) narrowing down where we should be searching with our subs but conventional subs are limited on how far and fast they can go while remaining undetected themselves.

Clearly there are things that subs can do that no other platform can do and there are things that subs can do better than other platforms, but I'm just suggesting that smart people need to look at whether at a certain point the limited number of subs we're able (willing) to afford makes their comparative advantage over other options not worth their cost. How many P-8s, Corvettes or USV/UUV's equipped with towed array sonars (or various combinations of these platforms) could we have for the same cost as those 6-8 conventional subs? Which combination best meets our military needs? Maybe the correct answer IS 6-8 conventional subs but sometimes I get the impression that we're just wanting replacement subs (and hopefully more than we currently have) because obviously subs are good and we want to have them - not because a critical analysis of our military requirements has determined that X number of conventional AIP subs best fulfills those requirements.
 
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