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Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship AOPS

Cdn Blackshirt

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MarkOttawa said:
Cdn Blackshirt: I can't see the MCDVs having any particular utility for the CCG, which anyway has its own patrol vessel program underway:
http://forums.milnet.ca/forums/threads/27961/post-556243.html#msg556243

As for asserting sovereignty in Arctic waterways, an excellent article by a former CCG Deputy Commissioner (a brilliant public servant whom I knew):

A job for the Coast Guard
It's too bad that the Harper government's preoccupation with the military has caused it to overlook a more sensible solution to Arctic sovereignty

http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/opinion/story.html?id=1c73cfd5-d71b-4b28-8670-43f374e8dc88

Mark
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Mark
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Thanks for the update on the CCG program.

RE:  The article about the CCG doing the arctic patrols - until the CCG decides it's going to be an "armed" force, I totally disagree.


Matthew.  :salute:
 

newfin

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If you are looking for what sort of "mix" the Navy is hoping for in the future then check out this link:

http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/cms_strat/strat-issues_e.asp?category=57&id=620&x=2

2x  littoral manoeuvre ships (LPD's?)
3x  JSS's
4-6x  submarines (I think that number is going to stay stuck at 4 for a very long time)
4x  AAD's
12-14x  frigates
28x  CH-148's
16x  CP-140's
8x A/OPS's
4-6x coastal defence vessels
8-16x internal waters/inshore patrol vessels (there's something new)
numerous TUAV's operated from ships and submarines

Thoughts?
Looks like the Kingston's numbers are to be reduced dramatically and numerous smaller inshore patrol vessels are to be added.  Perhaps similar in size and function to the Coast Guard's MSPV's?

And I would like to know if 28x CH-148's are enough anymore?  With 6-8 more vessels of the A/OPS class requiring helo's that were not acounted for when the original order was placed, doesn't this mean that the Navy will find itself short on airframes?  Especially if you take into account the air requirements of those 2 Littoral Manoeuvre ships he refers to.  I personally think that you have seen the last of the big ticket items that this government is going to spend on the Navy for a long time now.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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newfin said:
If you are looking for what sort of "mix" the Navy is hoping for in the future then check out this link:

http://www.navy.forces.gc.ca/cms_strat/strat-issues_e.asp?category=57&id=620&x=2

2x  littoral manoeuvre ships (LPD's?)
3x  JSS's
4-6x  submarines (I think that number is going to stay stuck at 4 for a very long time)
4x  AAD's
12-14x  frigates
28x  CH-148's
16x  CP-140's
8x A/OPS's
4-6x coastal defence vessels
8-16x internal waters/inshore patrol vessels (there's something new)
numerous TUAV's operated from ships and submarines

Thoughts?
Looks like the Kingston's numbers are to be reduced dramatically and numerous smaller inshore patrol vessels are to be added.  Perhaps similar in size and function to the Coast Guard's MSPV's?

And I would like to know if 28x CH-148's are enough anymore?  With 6-8 more vessels of the A/OPS class requiring helo's that were not acounted for when the original order was placed, doesn't this mean that the Navy will find itself short on airframes?  Especially if you take into account the air requirements of those 2 Littoral Manoeuvre ships he refers to.  I personally think that you have seen the last of the big ticket items that this government is going to spend on the Navy for a long time now.

I still would like to see (4) heavy armed ice breakers added to the mix. 

The potential resource in the Northwest Passage is huge and I don't think we should be cutting corners by not providing a year-round armed presence in those waters.

If it were me, I still would've bought the heavy ice breakers first, and then added the A/OPS second.

The one caveat is that I wonder from a technical standpoint if in order to have the capability to build heavy icebreaking vessels in Canada, we first need to be able to build ice-hardened ships like the A/OPV. 

If that is the case (and to me it would be somewhat logical), then I completely understand the order of procurement.


Matthew.  :salute:
 

30 for 30

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Regarding the retired CGG executive's letter, don't we need capable, armed enforcement, at least at the entrances to the Northwest Passage, if large numbers of foreign merchant vessels start to use our northern waters as a shortcut a few years down the road? If we want to control the situation, don't we need the ability to use force? CCG patrols would be incapable of this role, and it would seem a few Mounties onboard would not be sufficient to do the job.

I'm being a bit of a devil's advocate here. Mark knows a lot more about CGG than me, so I'm interested to hear that perspective.
 

Neill McKay

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Cdn Blackshirt said:
RE:  The article about the CCG doing the arctic patrols - until the CCG decides it's going to be an "armed" force, I totally disagree.

Can you paint a picture in which the navy actually takes a shot at someone in the name of preserving Canada's arctic sovereignty, in peacetime?

Except when someone wants your land badly enough to shoot at you for it, sovereignty is better asserted by building infrastructure and using it than by military means.  For example, there is a disputed island off the coast of New Brunswick on which the Coast Guard maintains a staffed lighthouse (the only on in the Maritimes) because putting people and equipment on the island is the most effective way to assert sovereignty over it.  An armed naval vessel is nowhere to be seen.
 

MarkOttawa

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Senor Mono: There are two things.

1) Asserting sovereignty over the waterways by being able to maintain a government presence in them--it doesn't matter much in terms of law if that presence is civil or military.  And even if we did physically assert our presence in the waterways, if they become navigable we still might not win the case in international law (see the various straits in SE Asia, Dover Strait, many others).  It is noteworthy that the EU, Japan and Russia also do not recognize our claim to the Northwest Passage, a point our media usually ignore in painting the Americans as the threatening bad guys.

2) For dealing with any non-military problem CCG vessels can be armed with weapons  (e.g. machine guns) operated by others--Fishery Officers, RCMP, even the Navy.

Mark
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Cdn Blackshirt

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Neill McKay said:
Can you paint a picture in which the navy actually takes a shot at someone in the name of preserving Canada's arctic sovereignty, in peacetime?

Except when someone wants your land badly enough to shoot at you for it, sovereignty is better asserted by building infrastructure and using it than by military means.  For example, there is a disputed island off the coast of New Brunswick on which the Coast Guard maintains a staffed lighthouse (the only on in the Maritimes) because putting people and equipment on the island is the most effective way to assert sovereignty over it.  An armed naval vessel is nowhere to be seen.

I agree that building infrastructure is MORE important and that should happen regardless of what vessels are tasked with sovereignty patrols.

That being said, I think your other argument is downright silly.

History has shown that those who do not take pro-active measures to protect their assets, immediately have others begin eyeing those assets and pondering the risk-reward of taking them by force.  More to the point, those that don't pre-emptively protect their assets with sufficient armed force, invariable lose that sovereignty.  My own opinion is that there is an ever-greater likelihood of an energy-war within the next 20 years due to the dynamics of falling world supply and ballooning global demand.  With that in mind, I think Canada should be positioning ever-increasing military capability (as well as sovereign infrastructure, as per your point) in the north, to keep ratcheting up the "risk" side of that equation for anyone who is considering doing something stupid.  And should they still decide to do something stupid, then yes, I think you fight.  That's the point of sovereignty.  If it's yours, you fight for it.   So if that's the underlying principle of sovereignty that I assume we agree upon, and we're prepared to protect our sovereignty, procurement and planning should be based on winning any conflict that could take place in our north....and investing in unarmed Coast Guard Vessels adds nothing to that equation.


Matthew.  :salute:
 

30 for 30

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It's a warm arctic July in 2020, and the Passage has turned into a convenient summer freeway for all manner of shipping. Let's say a particular merchant vessel wanted to transit, and let's say we had major concerns regarding this particular VOI with respect to the risk of an environmental accident in our waters. How will unarmed CCG ships prevent this vessel's transit? This was an example that came to mind. 

Good points all around, thanks for the insight.
 

Privateer

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With respect to the northern station (base) for these vessels, my initial thought (not based on actual arctic experience) would be that the most preferable solution would include:

- Two stations, one near each end of the Northwest passage.  While two stations may sound extravagant, would it not cut down on the the cost in time and fuel of transiting from one end of the passage to a centrally located station?  I don't imagine that the northern stations would look anything like the dockyards in Esquimalt or Halifax:  They would just be for fueling, reprovisioning (perhaps) and possible crew change.  (Or am I missing something?)

- On the continental mainland:  So that they can be accessed year-round, possibly by rail, for ease of maintenance and resupply.

Thoughts?  Any suggestions for locations (in addition to Churchill)?
 

MarkOttawa

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Senor Mono:
How will unarmed CCG ships prevent this vessel's transit?

The same way they do now in all other Canadian waters, which is assume the vessel will obey instructions.  Why should we be more worried about hypothetical Arctic cases than about present reality?

Mark
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Seen. From my perspective I envision a hypothetical, law-breaking, problematic VOI being stopped in other Canadian waters (ie. East Coast/West Coast), if necessary, by naval assets who have the ability to control movement. As we have no such capability in arctic waters, I understand the desire for that armed presence in the arctic that can control a situation versus standing by and watching laws being broken (or other applicable problems).

Of course this isn't a common scenario, but it could be, and military forces ideally exist for all contingencies. Cheers.

 

Kirkhill

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Mark, I can't do it.  I have tried but I can't help myself.  ;)

Canada has exchanged shots over fish.  Britain and Iceland have bumped over fish.  China and Vietnam, Italy and Greece, and France and Spain.  The US arrests Canadian fishermen in disputed waters.  Personally I know of American fishermen trading shots over fishing spots in the North Pacific and American trawlers outrunning Russian Coast Guards.

The Inuit have been complaining about Greenlanders poaching bears on Baffin Island and lack of control over the shrimp fishery.  Poachers are a sufficiently lawless bunch that Park Wardens and Game Officers have been asking to be armed for years - and have been subsequently told not to enforce the laws - leave that up to the RCMP.

Piracy is a common enough event where there is inadequate supervision of the seas.  We don't have piracy because we don't have ships using the arctic.  Presumably if we do have ships up there, and we don't police the area vigorously then piracy becomes an issue.

We have not yet got to bumping hulls with the Danish Navy over Hans Island, or the US over fishing in the Beaufort but given open water......

The USCG seems to feel the need to be heavily armed so as to be able to interdict smugglers of all stripes.


I agree - the Coast Guard needs to have its ice-breaking fleet renewed, heavied up and probably expanded.  But I can't believe that you can bridge the culture gap within that organisation between those that are comfortable with shooting and being shot at and those that aren't.  You have the Park Warden, Border Services issue all over again.

The preferred solution seems to be to call for the RCMP to come along to do the dangerous bits.  And that isn't such a bad idea.  It might make more sense to put the RCMP onto border and internal policing duties with additional numbers and relieve them of some of their other "security investigation" files.  Apply that paramilitary culture to a paramilitary environment.

But can you tell me that Coast Guard vessels, even if they were armed with guns manned by the RCMP, would be comfortable closing with other vessels that are shooting back?  You say that you work now with the expectation that people will obey the law and cooperate.  People don't obey the law and cooperate on the 401 or at Yonge and Bloor.  Why would they do it any more willingly 500 miles from the nearest witness?

It seems to me to be a much better division of labour to have the Coast Guard operating the SAR, the aids to navigation, the permissive enforcement of civil law, support for research  and hydrography etc while the Navy trails along on the horizon reminding the locals to behave and play nice.  With these A/OPVs the Navy can more closely escort CG breakers, or perhaps it should be that the CG breakers could create highways in the ice that commercial ships can transit and the Navy patrol.


Cheers Mark ------ What Round Number is this?   I have lost count. ;D




http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0010347

1995 - Canada (a DFO vessel) fired on the Spanish trawler Estai

1) China and Vietnam have exchanged gunshots over fishing rights surrounding the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.

2) Italy and Greece have squabbled over the former’s use of drift nets in the Mediterranean.

3) The U.S. Coast Guard has arrested Canadian fishing boats in waters that both countries claim off the British Columbia coast north of the Queen Charlotte Islands.

4) France and Spain, allies in the confrontation with Canada over turbot, have themselves traded machine-gun fire in a dispute over fishing in the Bay of Biscay.


Britain and Iceland Cod Wars.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/nationonfilm/topics/fishing/background_decline.shtml

Cod Wars

The first 'Cod war' took place in 1958, when Iceland, extended its coastal fishing limit, from 4 miles, to 12 miles.

The Second Cod War started in 1972 when Iceland extended its coastal non-fishing limit to 50 miles.

It ended with an agreement between the two countries that limited British fishing to restricted areas, within the 50-mile limit.

This agreement was valid for two years and expired on November 13 1975, when the third "Cod War" started.

Between November 1975, and June 1976, the cod brought two NATO allies to the brink of war.

Great Britain and Iceland confronted each other as Iceland proclaimed its authority to 200 miles from its coastline.

British trawlers had their nets cut by Icelandic Coast Guard vessels and there were numerous rammings between Icelandic ships and British trawlers and frigates.

Iceland claimed that it was merely enforcing what would soon be international law.

International Maritime Bureau live map on Piracy Attacks

http://www.icc-ccs.org/extra/display.php

No attacks in the Arctic but, there again, no ships in the Arctic.


Edit:  I just can't see anybody running down a fleeing ship in an icefield with an ice-breaker.  Get out the helicopter.  Get out the snowmobile.  Or get out and walk  and you could catch up faster.






 

MarkOttawa

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Kirkhill:
It seems to me to be a much better division of labour to have the Coast Guard operating the SAR, the aids to navigation, the permissive enforcement of civil law, support for research  and hydrography etc while the Navy trails along on the horizon reminding the locals to behave and play nice.  With these A/OPVs the Navy can more closely escort CG breakers, or perhaps it should be that the CG breakers could create highways in the ice that commercial ships can transit and the Navy patrol.

Cheers Mark ------ What Round Number is this?  I have lost count. Grin

OK.  Then buy maybe four A/OPVs just in case somebody might have to threaten force sometime in the Arctic.  Which has never happened in actual Canadian territorial waters short of war--the Estai was not in territorial waters and the Navy wasn't used (on the surface).  Much political and nationalist ado about nothing that won't in the end be settled under international law without any Canadian vessel ever firing a shot ;).  Meanwhile CCG icebreakers can do all that can be done, under international law, to try and establish a claim that the Northwest Passage is a Canadian sovereign inland waterway.

I am dubious about the claim if the ice really does melt.  But that's another issue :).

Mark
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Kirkhill

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I agree with you on the ice question Mark.  Too early to tell.

Actually I am hoping that the final design of these A/OPVs will be more like a pocket LPD like the Kiwi's Canterbury but based on the Svalbard.  Useful for ice operations, supporting domestic littoral operations, EEZ patrols and disaster response.  Vessels that are workhorses but that can also be used to work the kinks out of Army/Navy cooperation before spending some big bucks on LPDs.
 

Ex-Dragoon

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MarkOttawa said:
Kirkhill:
OK.  Then buy maybe four A/OPVs just in case somebody might have to threaten force sometime in the Arctic.  Which has never happened in actual Canadian territorial waters short of war--the Estai was not in territorial waters and the Navy wasn't used (on the surface).  Much political and nationalist ado about nothing that won't in the end be settled under international law without any Canadian vessel ever firing a shot ;).  Meanwhile CCG icebreakers can do all that can be done, under international law, to try and establish a claim that the Northwest Passage is a Canadian sovereign inland waterway.

I am dubious about the claim if the ice really does melt.  But that's another issue :).

Mark
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Mark, I beg to differ on the Estai incident...I was on the Terra Nova when we helped bring her in.
 

Neill McKay

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Senor Mono said:
It's a warm arctic July in 2020, and the Passage has turned into a convenient summer freeway for all manner of shipping.

In which case, who needs icebreakers?  MCDVs (which, one presumes, will still be in service then! ;) ) would be fine for the job.
 

Neill McKay

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Cdn Blackshirt said:
I agree that building infrastructure is MORE important and that should happen regardless of what vessels are tasked with sovereignty patrols.

That being said, I think your other argument is downright silly.

History has shown that those who do not take pro-active measures to protect their assets, immediately have others begin eyeing those assets and pondering the risk-reward of taking them by force.  More to the point, those that don't pre-emptively protect their assets with sufficient armed force, invariable lose that sovereignty.  My own opinion is that there is an ever-greater likelihood of an energy-war within the next 20 years due to the dynamics of falling world supply and ballooning global demand.  With that in mind, I think Canada should be positioning ever-increasing military capability (as well as sovereign infrastructure, as per your point) in the north, to keep ratcheting up the "risk" side of that equation for anyone who is considering doing something stupid.  And should they still decide to do something stupid, then yes, I think you fight.  That's the point of sovereignty.  If it's yours, you fight for it.  So if that's the underlying principle of sovereignty that I assume we agree upon, and we're prepared to protect our sovereignty, procurement and planning should be based on winning any conflict that could take place in our north....and investing in unarmed Coast Guard Vessels adds nothing to that equation.

I think we're talking about two quite different situations here.  You're contemplating a shooting war over territory, and I agree that if such a thing becomes a realistic possibility then we should be prepared to fight.

But that's worlds apart from us wanting to stop peaceful use of our waters by merchant traffic.  Firing at a freighter because it wants to go through our waters against our desires is an extremely serious matter, and I strongly doubt we will ever see it in our lifetimes.  If it comes to that then it will definitely be a naval matter, because the next ship that comes by is likely to be a warship from the same country as the freighter.
 

Ex-Dragoon

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The problem with icebreaking with it being left in the CCG hands is as a unionized body they have the right to go on strike and with that we put people at risk. I saw ice breaking is a role that should go to the Navy.
 

Kirkhill

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OOOH.  Ex-D plays the "essential service" card....... >:D
 

MarkOttawa

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Ex-Dragoon: Sorry about HMCS Terra Nova; but I believe the actual shooting was done by a DFO vessel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Terra_Nova
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbot_War

...The Estai cut its weighted trawl net and fled, resulting in a chase which stretched over several hours and ended only after the Canadian Fisheries Patrol vessel Cape Roger firing of a .50 calibre (12.7 mm) machine gun across the bow of the Estai. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir Wilfred Grenfell used high-pressure fire-fighting water cannons to deter other Spanish fishing vessels from disrupting the enforcement operation. Finally, armed DFO and RCMP officers boarded the vessel in international waters on the Grand Banks and placed it and its crew under arrest...

The CCG was under Transport Canada in March 1995.  Shortly thereafter it was transferred to DFO and in 1996/97 the two civilian fleets were merged under the Coast Guard.

I don't think icebreaking operations have ever been seriously dislocated by union actions;  CCG personnel tend to be very devoted to their work.  And I think Navy people would be bored stiff if they took over all icebreaking including in the St. Lawrence.

Maybe we could use water cannon to cause civilian vessels to heave to in the Northwest Passage! ;)

Mark
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