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Exercise Narwhal

SeaKingTacco

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I watched a good piece on the National tonight (8 Nov) about Ex Narwhal.   Seems that we have forgotten a few hard won lessons about operating in the Arctic.   I'm wondering- is it maybe time for the Navy to start thinking icebreakers again?   Any thoughts?
 

canuck101

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First i think the Canadian CoastGuard should build two or three POLAR ICEBREAKER that can service the northern passage year round. The navy could incorporate reinforced hulls  on the new combined surface ships in the future.
 

SeaKingTacco

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If you mean the Joint Support Ship (JSS), it will be year-old ice capable.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/admmat/dgmepm/pmojss/index_e.asp

I'm wondering if maybe we should not be acquiring a dedicated, navy icebreaker or two to help maintain sovereignty up north.   It is one thing for the Coast Guard to do it, but they are not exactly in the power-projection business, should it be required.
 

Ex-Dragoon

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I'd like the navy to have its own icebreaker that way we would not have to go through the red tape of using CCG assets. Give it a light gun armament, 2 embarked helicopters and light crago capacity and we could help supply the northern communites while conducting patrols.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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SeaKingTacco said:
I watched a good piece on the National tonight (8 Nov) about Ex Narwhal.   Seems that we have forgotten a few hard won lessons about operating in the Arctic.   I'm wondering- is it maybe time for the Navy to start thinking icebreakers again?   Any thoughts?


I think it's a good idea with the caveat that you add a specialized artic fighting unit.



Matthew.  ;D
 

Genetk44

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I found it rather interesting that they mentioned in the program that our frigates were not ice-hardened unlike some of the ships of the Danish or US navies. Seems to me that that would be a given since we are an Arctic country. The program also was an eye-opener in revealing how unprepared we are to operate and fight in the arctic.....if the program was truly accurate that is.
Cheers
Gene
 

Bert

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I think if Canada had the resources to acquire and operate a number of military icebreakers, then
why not?  There a number of practical hurdles though.

I'm not a sailor but icebreakers (nuclear or otherwise) are not necessarily sleek, maneuverable,
multi-role or open ocean vessels.  They stick to navigable ice tops, slow moving
because of that, and wouldn't provide the military with significant capability.  If they were
acquired, they'd have to keep sea lanes open most of the ice-covered seasons.  Other
Canadian naval vessels would have to follow in the icebreakers wake (or days after) and
there is still significant ice movement and re-freeze that would make travel for most current
vessels dangerously cumbersome.  Its not impossible but alot of work and expense to make
it practical.

Despite capabilities of other navies, significant operations in the Canadian arctic is inconveniently
difficult for anyone.  My idea might be to invest in comprehensive satellite surveillance, air
surveillance, eyeballs where possible, passive listening nets to know who's around, and responses
to various kinds of scenarios.







 

nULL

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what about subs? isn't patrolling the arctic one of their primary roles?
 

Cloud Cover

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The Navy used to have a breaker, I think it was called the Labrador. As for the JSS, it might be ice capable but will it have the manouverability in steerage for those ops given its proposed size and displacement? And, if deployed for an actual operation against an opposing force, won't it need an escort? I think we need something smaller for near arctic operations, with the armament and helo detachment suggested by Ex-D.

Helo Pilots: The problems with weather holding up the Griffons on the show were disturbing. What would be a better alternative helicopter for those sorts of ops, and what weapons might be fitted to such an aircraft that would function well in that environment?

And in a more general sense, is it possible that the new C27 will be valuable transport asset in those operations? (assuming it is purchased.)

Could the role of the C27 and JSS shipborne helicopters be consolidated into 1 platform for near arctic operations, ala Osprey? 
Cheers. 
 

SeaKingTacco

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whiskey 601 said:
The Navy used to have a breaker, I think it was called the Labrador. As for the JSS, it might be ice capable but will it have the manouverability in steerage for those ops given its proposed size and displacement? And, if deployed for an actual operation against an opposing force, won't it need an escort? I think we need something smaller for near arctic operations, with the armament and helo detachment suggested by Ex-D.

Helo Pilots: The problems with weather holding up the Griffons on the show were disturbing. What would be a better alternative helicopter for those sorts of ops, and what weapons might be fitted to such an aircraft that would function well in that environment?

And in a more general sense, is it possible that the new C27 will be valuable transport asset in those operations? (assuming it is purchased.)

Could the role of the C27 and JSS shipborne helicopters be consolidated into 1 platform for near arctic operations, ala Osprey?  
Cheers.  
HMCS Labrador was indeed the Navy's last icebreaker. You have raised alot of interesting points.   I would like to see a dedicated Icebreaker (or two) for the Navy.   You can't do "presence" with a satellite or even with a patrol aircraft (most of the time- weather).   A Navy ship says that you are serious about your sovreignty.   I don't think it would have to be really heavily armed, but would definitely carry a helo, have lots of room for about a company of troops (for short periods) and have bags of endurance.

As for the Griffon question- First, the aircraft must be capable of flying in "icing conditions".   Not sure how the Griffon does on this point, but I suspect about as well as the Sea King- ie not well.   Second, you must be able to carry enough fuel to hold an alternate airport when the weather is bad.   This is a real problem in the Arctic where distances are long and airports in short supply.   I'm not sure much short of a Chinook (hey, didn't we used to have Chinooks?   :)) would solve this problem.   Third, the INS must be capable of navigating at high latitudes.   Not an insurmountable problem, but it can be easily overlooked when buying a new aircraft. As for weapons- I guess that depends on how you define your threat (he says as he dances carefully away from the question...)

Interesting question about the Osprey.   I do not know that it is mature enough of a technology for us yet.   Maybe we should watch it for about 5 more years and see what happens.   Has potential, though...

Cheers
 
A

aesop081

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I did my ojt (100 hours of self-loading balast !!) on Griffons and when we flew...if we started getting ice, we would have to come down to below the freezing level cuz it doesnt haddle that environment well at all.  The 146 cannot go very far either, even if you include aux tanks on both sides...and then your usefull payload is reduced to basicaly just the crew.  But i'm not a griffon pilot so maybe you can get more details from another source
 

Bert

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SeaKingTacco

I like the idea of the icebreakers.   Its just from my point of view, the role of military icebreaking in the
arctic has no tactical advantage.   Its better left to the Coast Guard and civilian applications.

An icebreaker with heavy armament, helo and troop capability, and relatively self sustaining would
be a large and slow moving.   If Canada procured icebreakers, then they would be cycled out of docks.
Given the size, scope, and nature of the arctic, one or two icebreakers isn't much.

Heres a few problems:
1. Icebreakers get through the ice but are slow moving;
2. Icebreakers and northern operations require supply and any kind convoy/escort near
or associated with the icebreaker would also be slow;
3. Canada could support only a few icebreakers;
4. Nice noisy targets and easy to track by enemy subs, aircraft and sats;
5. The enemy would have interests in northern Canadian operations and likely have
accurate intelligence on Canadian military responses and activities;
6. Scenario isn't likely to include vast amounts of enemy troops or equipment
(enemy build-ups and convoys would be extremely noticeable) and
may be similar to the Falklands war, blockade, or small scale occupation;
7. During the winter season especially, the icebreakers would not have adequate
escort other than CF-18s, and air surveillance.
8. NORAD and NATO agreements would provide overwhelming assistance.
9. Air Force and Army assets are more mobile than Naval vessels.

In the arctic, unless theres a target the enemy wants to get at and Canada has
some kind of warning, an icebreaker cannot provide a tactical advantage of getting
to the zone without becoming a target itself.

The best Canada can do with resources it has is to maintain visibility of the North, to
know what there.   Sats watch the choke points, air surveillance specific for air and sea
area coverage, air readiness for interception, mobilization plans for scenarios and fast
reponsiveness, passives to listen here and there, do I mention subs?, and intelligence
gathering to know who may wish to infringe on Canadian interests in the North.

Perhaps in a scenario where Canada knows country X may wish to infringe on northern
interests in the future, then an icebreaker may be useful as part of an advanced deterrent
response.   The nature of the ice would still play havoc on supply and escort vessels.

I guess if the Coast Guard becomes active in this kind of role then they may be classed
as a combatant and thats not good either.  

Interesting subject.   Time for a beer.
 
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2Lt_Burgie

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Good Day:
Does anyone have any multimedia, videos or pictures of this exercise? I was hoping to get a variety of material for a recruiting CD I was planning on putting together.

Thanks.
 

PPCLI Guy

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How about we fund the Coast Guard appropriately...and then make them part of the CF.  It sure would make security of seaways (including inland ones) a lot easier to coordinate.
 

SeaKingTacco

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How about we fund the Coast Guard appropriately...and then make them part of the CF.   It sure would make security of seaways (including inland ones) a lot easier to coordinate.

Or alternately, we could get the CF out of the search and rescue business altogether by handing it all over to the Coast Guard, while we focus soley on national security.
 

PPCLI Guy

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SeaKingTacco said:
Or alternately, we could get the CF out of the search and rescue business altogether by handing it all over to the Coast Guard, while we focus soley on national security.

Ok - but don't the CG have security responsibilities wrt inland waterways - along with the RCMP?
 

PPCLI Guy

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Well, seeing as neither of us really knows anything about it, we should sit down and write some policy...
 

Hoplite

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Hey Gents, this might help you....


http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/cen-arc/us-nous/index_e.htm

http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/overview-apercu/roles_e.htm




 
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