Thursday, November 08, 2007

Better Options for Canada's "Lemon" Submarine Fleet

UPDATE: November 9, 2007 - THE CANADIAN PRESS - Ottawa is committed to bringing all four of its Victoria-class submarines into service and isn't considering scrapping the troubled fleet, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Friday. ... When the Liberals first bought the submarines, they planned to outfit them with an air-independent propulsion system to allow the boats to operate in the Arctic. But the Defence Department shelved the idea in 2000 in the face of design complications and a projected cost of $300 million. ... HMCS Corner Brook is Canada's lone operational sub. ... HMCS Chicoutimi has been sitting in dry dock in Halifax since and last year Ottawa said it won't repair the sub until 2010. source
What this may mean: A third-party nation has agreed secretly to subsidize the cost of bringing the 4 Victorias up to safety standard. Who might that be? What did Canada trade?

The Royal Canadian Navy had existed just four years when it got its first two submarines in World War I. Canadians have even built and manned submarines for their allies. The long, proud submarining tradition continues to this day, and the images above must never be construed as derogatory toward Canada, its intrepid submariners, or their well-earned legacy. The notion of 'lemon' subs comes from Canada's own internal critics. We doubt Canada will ever buy or lease subs from the U.K. again.

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.

Is the need for Canada's submarines really justified by the a need to protect the country's arctic sovereignty? By treaty with a neighboring country, that goal might be accomplished for them. Moreover, non-nuclear submarines encounter arduous circumstances operating in the Arctic, unless purpose-built. AIP submarines would overcome such difficulties with relative ease, and at greater economy than a nuclear fleet proposed by Canada's military in 1998.

When the nuclear sub proposal was scrapped, the current lemon fleet of diesel subs was purchased used from the U.K. The present controversy is not really new. Molten Eagle posted this 18 months ago (sponsors have since vacated the internal links, however).

There are many other options, too. Some Canadians probably believe a combination of surface vessels and a SOSUS network would be more than adequate to protect their arctic territory. If this were true, one must really wonder about Sweden's need for a modern submarine fleet. Are there more options? Too many choices are available to mention here, but obviously the Canadian navy could also lease submarines as it did in 1961. Remember, submarines are always silent and strange.
Stay tuned; many secret deals may be in the works for the arctic territories. 'Major oil exporters from Iran to Russia and Venezuela are using their petro-cash to pursue agendas that undercut civilized society's security and interests.' source Consider OPEC, for instance, can Hugo Chavez lease arctic rights for Venezuela through Russia? Check out the oil meter below.



At 09 November, 2007 15:46, Blogger reddog said...

Been taking my 1986 Honda 50cc "Spree" scooter everywhere for the last 3 years. 60 gallons of high test used. 20 a year, not bad.

At 09 November, 2007 18:30, Blogger Vigilis said...

Reddog, two things:
You don't mention it, but you must be averaging great mileage.

If you have been getting great mileage, someone sure knows how to keep that baby in real good shape!

At 17 November, 2007 06:13, Blogger gf0012-aust said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 17 November, 2007 06:19, Blogger gf0012-aust said...

I attended an ADF conference in 1999 where the issue of Collins and its problems were raised. The suggestion made was that we should purchase the Upholders as either an interim, second or replacement squadron.

V Adm Barry (CoN) stood up and spent the next solid hour detailing the problems that existed and made it plainly clear that there was no way that we would get the Upholders in any shape, fashion or form. He made the comment that fixing the Upholders would actually end up more expensive than biting the bullet and fixing up Kockums problems.

The fundamental question is, if we knew about the Upholders problems in 1998-1999, then why did the Canucks persist in the purchase?

At 17 November, 2007 17:20, Blogger Vigilis said...

gf0012-aust, Very good question. Perhaps someone from Canada would like to answer that one for all of us.

At 17 November, 2007 17:53, Blogger gf0012-aust said...

I suspect that the core problem will be that unless they (individuals in the Canadian Navy) were involved with the initial evaluation, that there will be very few who will have first hand knowledge and participation.

The decision process probably lies with a "suit"


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