Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-Class Submarine Fleet is Operational

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Naval Forces News - Canada
 
 
 
Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-Class Submarine Fleet is Operational
 
For the first time since they were purchased 17 years ago, 3 out of 4 Victoria-class subs are in the water meaning the Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-class submarine fleet is now operational. HMC Submarines Windsor, Victoria and Chicoutimi were all at sea in December 2014 and spent a cumulative total of approximately 260 days at sea in 2014.

HMCS Corner Brook is currently docked at Victoria Shipyards to undergo its Extended Docking Work Period (EDWP) under the Victoria In-Service Support Contract with Babcock Canada Inc. It is scheduled to remain in EDWP until 2017.
     
For the first time since they were purchased 17 years ago, 3 out of 4 Victoria-class subs are in the water meaning the Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-class submarine fleet is now operational. HMC Submarines Windsor, Victoria and Chicoutimi were all at sea in December 2014 and spent a cumulative total of approximately 260 days at sea in 2014.
HMCS Chicoutimi, Victoria class SSK. Picture: RCN
     
Canadian submarines generally operate in an operational cycle in which each vessel is available to the fleet for six years, referred to as the “operational period”, followed by two years in deep maintenance during an EDWP.

The Victoria-class submarine fleet is an important strategic asset for Canada. Submarines are stealthy, lethal and persistent, making them ideal for surveillance and intelligence gathering. They enjoy unparalleled freedom of action and independence to act at a time and place of the Government’s choosing. In an emerging crisis, their presence can profoundly shape regional decision-making and, should deterrence fail, their lethality can contribute decisively to combat operations, both in defending surface forces and placing opposing forces at peril.
     
For the first time since they were purchased 17 years ago, 3 out of 4 Victoria-class subs are in the water meaning the Royal Canadian Navy Victoria-class submarine fleet is now operational. HMC Submarines Windsor, Victoria and Chicoutimi were all at sea in December 2014 and spent a cumulative total of approximately 260 days at sea in 2014.
HMCS Corner Brook, the third Victoria class SSK. Picture: RCN
     
Victoria-class submarines are extremely versatile, allowing them to operate in any weather condition for periods of up to 45 days, and perform in a variety of roles to fulfill Canada’s requirements for a balanced, multi-purpose and combat-effective naval fleet.

In addition to their inherent lethality and strategic importance as a war-fighting vessel, they fill a wide array of peacetime naval roles:
•Fisheries patrols
•Surveillance of all three Canadian coastlines
•Support to maritime law enforcement and other governmental departments
•Maintenance of fleet skills
•Bilateral engagement with continental defence partners
•Participation in multinational exercises
•Deterrence of would-be terrorists, smugglers and polluters

Status of individual submarines
-- HMCS Victoria
HMCS Victoria was declared fully operational in 2012. Since that time, Victoria has participated in various advanced international exercises such as the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), revealing the modern and unique capabilities of the Victoria-class submarine while providing anti-submarine training for Canadian and international maritime vessels. As part of RIMPAC 2012, Victoria was the first of its class to fire the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Mk48 torpedo, sinking the decommissioned United States Naval Ship Concord. This clearly demonstrated the lethality of Victoria-class submarines.
Victoria worked with Special Forces during Joint Exercise 2013 and other binational continental defence exercises, and also participated in operations on behalf of Canada.

-- HMCS Windsor
HMCS Windsor docked in 2014 to allow for replacement of one of its generators. The RCN took advantage of that docking period to accelerate the previously planned installation of some exciting upgrades, including a state-of-the-art bow sonar system that wasn’t originally scheduled to go in until 2016. The new sonar system will bring the entire sonar suite of the Victoria Class forward – from 1980s technology into the 21st century – in order to continue to act on behalf of Canada in the face of emerging maritime threats. Windsor was back at sea in December 2014.
Windsor sailed from June 2005 to December 2006 and spent 146 days at sea in 2006 alone. The submarine participated in a number of large Canada/U.S. exercises, advanced and improved special operations forces capabilities, and trained with Canadian ships in essential warfare skills. Windsor also participated in the first-ever parachute rendezvous at sea practised with Canada's Patrol Pathfinders (soldiers specialized in the insertion and extraction of follow-on forces). The submarine also conducted several sovereignty patrols off Canada's east coast for intelligence gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance. Since the end of its last deep maintenance period in 2012, Windsor has spent a total of 174 days at sea.

-- HMCS Chicoutimi
HMCS Chicoutimi completed its EDWP and returned to the RCN fleet in December 2014. This was the first EDWP conducted by industry under the VISSC. This contract highlights a key strategic knowledge sharing initiative and partnership between the RCN and Canadian industry. The successful completion of Chicoutimi’s return to operations was enabled by the skills and talent of Canada’s submarine community and the relationships forged with industry. These partnerships enabled the establishment of new supply chains and the integrated logistics to sustain these complex weapons systems.

-- HMCS Corner Brook
HMCS Corner Brook is docked at Victoria Shipyards Co. Ltd., in Esquimalt, B.C., to undergo its EDWP under the VISSC with Babcock Canada Inc. It is scheduled to remain in EDWP until 2017.
 

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