One Submarine Fleet's Surprising Recovery
BackgroundCanada's fleet of 4 Victoria class subs, British-made vessels bought in 1988 for as a package for $750-million, had been plagued with hefty maintenance issues.
From November 2007:
Canada's four Victoria-class, diesel boats are capable of only limited operations in arctic waters and options include extensively upgrading them or buying new ones capable of prolonged, under-ice ops. 'Nobody knows precisely where it's going, but it looks to be focused on the Arctic.' said Eric Lerhe, a former commodore and Pacific fleet commander. The Prime Minister's Office is considering whether to "scrap them altogether, upgrade the existing boats or buy new," said a political source. -THE CANADIAN PRESS
From November 2013:
(the caption - see photo accompanying photo in linked article - says, "By the time Canada's submarines are ready for duty, they'll be due for retirement.")
Defence Minister Peter MacKay blames the Liberals for Canada’s troubled fleet of second-hand Victoria-class submarines. It was the Liberals who purchased the four . Yet it was none other than MacKay himself who, 10 years later, persuaded his Conservative colleagues not to scrap them. It was MacKay who signed taxpayers up for another $1.5-billion worth of refits and repairs, thereby throwing good money after bad. It was apparent long before 2008 that the submarines were deeply flawed. The diesel engines were designed for railroad locomotives and not the rapid stops and starts required of submarines. [red and underlined emphasis is mine]- National Post.com
UPDATE February 2015
The fleet of Victoria-class subs is now fit, with three of four submarines available for operations, according to the Royal Canadian Navy's Feb 2015 state of the fleet announcement.
HMCS Windsor, Victoria and Chicoutimi operated a cumulative total of about 260 at-sea days during 2014. HMCS Corner Brook is currently docked at Victoria Shipyards for extended dry dock availability until 2017 [under ice?].
Canadian submarines generally work an operational cycle in which each s available to the fleet for six years, the so-called "operational period", followed by two years of major maintenance work during a period prolonged dry dock, says the Royal Canadian Navy in its state of the fleet.
Small size and extremely quiet, diesel-electric propulsion equip the Victoria class for stealth and increased maneuverability [under ice?].
They have advantages in certain conditions with respect to nuclear submarines, especially on the coasts and in strategic choke points, which makes them a valuable asset for Canada and our international partners in the coming years.
Submarines are always silent and strange.