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Replacing the Subs

Eye In The Sky

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Some capability discussion here.

You buy a piece of military hardware for a capability. Nuke boats are not bought for the capability of going under ice. That's a misdirect frankly and is a common misunderstanding (in my humble opinion) of Cold War submarine strategies. Under ice is only essential if you want to get near Russian nuclear-armed missile submarines to stop their second strike capability.

I think you’re focusing a little too much on “yesterday” and not “tomorrow”. That CW mission didn’t necessarily stop with the CW and it might still be ongoing…

Russia keeps those submarines in their own waters, under ice, protected by a ring of their own attack subs and with their own air cover. They were only there because it ensured Russia had the ability to strike NATO even if their own ground-based nuclear launchers were destroyed. The US and UK tried to get close to them and shadow them all the time because... the Cold War. If you could destroy Russian second strike capability then you had a chance to do a first strike yourself and not give them the chance to hit you back.

I’m going to suggest strike capable RFN boats are going OOA, and more often the past several+ years.

So that being said and the fact that there is thousands of miles of land between arctic waters and anything resembling proper economic or strategic targets no Russian submarine is going to use the Canadian arctic to attack Canada when they can do it just as easily from their own waters. That makes it a NORAD problem, not a navy problem.

You don’t think arctic waters and the resources under them are economic or strategic targets?

Maritime approaches are a NORAD mission set…so the RCN can’t help with that?

Secondly there is no economically viable shipping in the arctic that would be worth sinking in the winter when the ice is across the NWP. When the ice clears up and the shipping comes there then normal military aircraft and ships can hunt submarines quite well.

The only advantage for under-ice capability I can see is to close off some areas of strategic mobility for the Russians using the Arctic to get into the Atlantic from a different direction (Pacific they have much easier access too). But proper use of sensors and conventional submarines/aircraft can cut off those approaches quite easily.

So let's argue on their real merits.
Power, sensors, endurance, speed, size. Does Canada want a submarine that can go into the Pacific with no basing and do some work on a long range patrol, unlimited endurance patrol? Or a submarine that can do land attack? Have the mobiity/speed to get places it needs to be rapidly (under ice is a valuable capability for going east to west coast quickly)?

When the ice argument falls away conventional boats don't look as bad frankly. They can do quite a bit of the stuff we want in a submarine fleet.

Not looking as bad doesn’t = best asset for the size of op area we should be able to patrol under/on/above.

Long range patrol aircraft; because we have good bases to patrol from up north? I’d take the persistence of a sub surface asset any day over skimmers and MPAs for a handful of reasons. ONSTA ability and “no idea where it is” most of the time.

We’re leaving our cupboard alittle to bare; when we decide we’ve made a mistake it will be too late to do anything about it.
 

JMCanada

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The economic and manning sides of getting SSNs would be, along with the political will, the main constraints.

Look to the Australian programme, the nuclear boats are expected to cost at about 6 billion CAD each (can't remember where I read the number, but probably in a ASPI-the strategist article). For that cost the RCN could get 4 may be 5 european, AIP submarines.

SSNs require 100-135 men, while AIP submarines require about 30-40.
 

KevinB

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The economic and manning sides of getting SSNs would be, along with the political will, the main constraints.

Look to the Australian programme, the nuclear boats are expected to cost at about 6 billion CAD each (can't remember where I read the number, but probably in a ASPI-the strategist article). For that cost the RCN could get 4 may be 5 european, AIP submarines.

SSNs require 100-135 men, while AIP submarines require about 30-40.
A bit more than 2/3 of Canada's Ocean territory is ice covered during at least a 4 month portion of the year.

If you aren't going to look after it -- I know some folks who will...
 

JMCanada

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Ok, fine, an AIP boat could also make an under-ice patrol. It is for the brains of the RCN to determine the requirements of speed and endurance. Grossly speaking if a SSK with one AIP module can dive at 4-6 knots for 2-3 weeks, it's mainly (but not only) a matter of adding more modules.

And those brains would have to select an appropiate balance between power and energy (or speed and endurance), which obviously is not needed for a nuclear boat.
 

KevinB

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Ok, fine, an AIP boat could also make an under-ice patrol. It is for the brains of the RCN to determine the requirements of speed and endurance. Grossly speaking if a SSK with one AIP module can dive at 4-6 knots for 2-3 weeks, it's mainly (but not only) a matter of adding more modules.

And those brains would have to select an appropiate balance between power and energy (or speed and endurance), which obviously is not needed for a nuclear boat.
FEE7A654-7895-4204-8460-CC606E27E667_1_201_a.jpeg

2-3 weeks at 4-6 knots won't allow significant patrolling under the ice, (and adding more modules doesn't scale linearly for time or speed).

Generally due to that SSK DE/AIP, boats are not constructed for ice breaching.
I'm not sure anyone wants to run under the ice without a manner of emergency escape.
 

JMCanada

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A reasonable Arctic patrol of 5.000 nm / 30 days or 6.500 nm / 40 days could be achieved at 7 knots. For it some 500-600 kW would be required. In terms of AIP modules this could be 2 power modules of 250-300 kW plus a third one for emergency.

In terms of energy there's no enough info. but guess that six "standard" (if you let me use that term) AIP energy modules (fuel & oxygen stored) would be sufficient to feed double the power (two power modules) and triple the endurance from two to six weeks, that is 42 days, more than 6.500 nm at 7 knots.

See CNR volume 16-2 (2020).
 

KevinB

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A reasonable Arctic patrol of 5.000 nm / 30 days or 6.500 nm / 40 days could be achieved at 7 knots. For it some 500-600 kW would be required. In terms of AIP modules this could be 2 power modules of 250-300 kW plus a third one for emergency.

In terms of energy there's no enough info. but guess that six "standard" (if you let me use that term) AIP energy modules (fuel & oxygen stored) would be sufficient to feed double the power (two power modules) and triple the endurance from two to six weeks, that is 42 days, more than 6.500 nm at 7 knots.

See CNR volume 16-2 (2020).
Q: Can you breach arctic ice with any current design?
A: No

If Canada wants a SSK for northern patrol - it’s going to be a new bespoke design.
Which while not impossible, will be immensely more expensive than any CoG would be willing to undertake.

Realistic options are:
1) Divest the sub surface fleet, get rid of SS trades
2) Divest the sub surface fleet, and send SS crews on Brit and US Nuke boats.
3) Buy new AIP boats and live with constraints (winter work conditions limited by AOPS support)
4) Buy insanely expensive Ice Breaching AIP bespoke fleet
5) SSN buy in with Oz/UK/US.

Frankly for Canada at this junction, I think #2 is probably best, as it could create a ground work for a nuclear navy at a later date.
#4-5 are not practical at this point
 

GR66

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A reasonable Arctic patrol of 5.000 nm / 30 days or 6.500 nm / 40 days could be achieved at 7 knots. For it some 500-600 kW would be required. In terms of AIP modules this could be 2 power modules of 250-300 kW plus a third one for emergency.

In terms of energy there's no enough info. but guess that six "standard" (if you let me use that term) AIP energy modules (fuel & oxygen stored) would be sufficient to feed double the power (two power modules) and triple the endurance from two to six weeks, that is 42 days, more than 6.500 nm at 7 knots.

See CNR volume 16-2 (2020).
So a custom-built uniquely Canadian design AIP sub?
 

JMCanada

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If Canada wants a SSK for northern patrol - it’s going to be a new bespoke design.
I agree...

Which while not impossible, will be immensely more expensive than any CoG would be willing to undertake.
I disagree... still could be cheaper than a nuclear submarine.

So a custom-built uniquely Canadian design AIP sub?
I'm not saying it's the best option, but it is an option to consider.

Added:
Non-orphane options would be, for instance, joining the Type 212CD or the next Dutch Walrus-replacement, if we discard the under-ice capability.
 

YZT580

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Q: Can you breach arctic ice with any current design?
A: No

If Canada wants a SSK for northern patrol - it’s going to be a new bespoke design.
Which while not impossible, will be immensely more expensive than any CoG would be willing to undertake.

Realistic options are:
1) Divest the sub surface fleet, get rid of SS trades
2) Divest the sub surface fleet, and send SS crews on Brit and US Nuke boats.
3) Buy new AIP boats and live with constraints (winter work conditions limited by AOPS support)
4) Buy insanely expensive Ice Breaching AIP bespoke fleet
5) SSN buy in with Oz/UK/US.

Frankly for Canada at this junction, I think #2 is probably best, as it could create a ground work for a nuclear navy at a later date.
#4-5 are not practical at this point
once you let it go you will never get it back. Say what you will about Cretien's used boats we wouldn't have an underseas navy without them because no one was willing to spend the money at that time. Would it be possible/practical to build a base mid-Arctic that would allow a current design to use as home base whilst on patrol?
 

Dale Denton

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Q: Can you breach arctic ice with any current design?
A: No

If Canada wants a SSK for northern patrol - it’s going to be a new bespoke design.
Which while not impossible, will be immensely more expensive than any CoG would be willing to undertake.

Realistic options are:
1) Divest the sub surface fleet, get rid of SS trades
2) Divest the sub surface fleet, and send SS crews on Brit and US Nuke boats.
3) Buy new AIP boats and live with constraints (winter work conditions limited by AOPS support)
4) Buy insanely expensive Ice Breaching AIP bespoke fleet
5) SSN buy in with Oz/UK/US.

Frankly for Canada at this junction, I think #2 is probably best, as it could create a ground work for a nuclear navy at a later date.
#4-5 are not practical at this point

That's a decent summary of the options from this thread. Getting real here, no way we are getting SSNs, if we were, politically we'd have made those plans public and joined hands with Australia.

I think our defence dollars would be better spread across multiple arctic-capable platforms instead.

Imagine spending $50B on a handful of SSNs, or spending that on a combination of P-8s, UAVs, XLUUVs, BV replacements, ice-strengthened AORs/supply vessels, more rotary AC or C-130s. What would be more militarily useful? Heck even just investing in infrastructure projects or expanding the Rangers in some way.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Realistic options are:
1) Divest the sub surface fleet, get rid of SS trades
2) Divest the sub surface fleet, and send SS crews on Brit and US Nuke boats.
3) Buy new conventional or AIP boats and live with constraints (winter work conditions limited by AOPS support)
4) Buy insanely expensive Ice Breaching AIP bespoke fleet
5) SSN buy in with Oz/UK/US.

I would slightly modify Kevin's list as per the above.

And I believe that is the most likely option that Canada will pursue. Divesting the capability would be the death knell of both having a submarine warfare capability and maintaining fleet readiness in anti-submarine warfare, so I can't see that happening.

We have always operated conventional submarines with no under ice capability, thus replacing the subs with the same neither increases nor decreases our submarine warfare capability. AIP boats are great for nations that have (1) short or even very short distances to go to their "patrol" area and, (2) are acting almost exclusively in a defensive/ localized deterent mode.

The reasons we keep talking about SSN's is because of their under ice capability and their capacity to hunt other nuclear boats in the open ocean. Would that be the case in the Canadian Arctic? No. most of our Arctic that could of "interest" to other nations is made up of one of the world's largest archipelago and the attendant continental shelf. Pefect hunting ground for conventional submarines, if it wasn't for the ice. But again here, the reason the Arctic is becoming more important is because it is getting more and more ice free and ice free for longer periods. At such times, it is perfectly possible to operate up there with conventional submarines.

Outside those periods of ice free navigation, only nuclear submarines and extremely powerfull icebreakers can operate and, in view of both their availability (low numbers) and lack of onboard extra housing facilities, they do not represent a threat of invasion to the Archipelago - besides who would want to attempt "invasion" up there in winter? (And icebreakers could be dealt with by the RCAF anyway).
 

Spencer100

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When you look at things here. The more you want to say throw in the towel.

Get a summit with the US. Tell them OK we are going to let you do it.

First agree with the US that Canadians can join the US forces. Reserve units will be returned to militia units and civil defence and aid to civil powers rolls. Current Army equipment transfer to those units with the logistics, supply and techs to maintain and use them. Tanks, artillery, etc retired. Regular Army persons will transfer to those units, retire or be given a chance to sign up in the US forces. The navy will go though the same process with an upgraded Canadian Coast guard. Frigates and subs retired. Upgraded Coast guard will be lightly arm for the constabulary mission. IE AOPS retained. Air Force SAR work and equipment retained and transfer to the Canadian militia command. Some Helicopters retained also. Fighters retired. VVIP and other transport missions transfer to Transport Canada. Patrol aircraft to the Coast Guard.

CFB locations transferred and leased to the US Armed Forces. One condition they continue to fly both flags. Recruiting centers transfer to the US.

RMC turned to a Militia training center and civil university. Canadians will be able to attend the US military colleges.

Army regiments can have a last parade as their colours are lowered. In Ottawa a command transfer to USNORTHCOM.

Canada sends the left over money of the DND budget to the US for the defence of Canada. Maybe we get a deal from the US and there is a saving we can then roll more money into the programs the government likes.

The militia and RCMP can supply whatever blue helmet jobs the UN needs.

Advantages!

Now the Canadian pols can just worry about the stuff they like to do. No messy international stuff just be a convening power. Like setting the the table at international events and then closing the door.

Its win for individuals looking for a job in the military as the US opens many more opportunities.

Politian's get to focus on things they like they then can bash the US even more when things come up.

The upgraded Militia and CCG will offer better full and part time jobs.

Disadvantages

Canadians will see US forces more but they will not like that. But will also realize nothing is free and someone is going to defend the country.
 

Halifax Tar

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When you look at things here. The more you want to say throw in the towel.

Get a summit with the US. Tell them OK we are going to let you do it.

First agree with the US that Canadians can join the US forces. Reserve units will be returned to militia units and civil defence and aid to civil powers rolls. Current Army equipment transfer to those units with the logistics, supply and techs to maintain and use them. Tanks, artillery, etc retired. Regular Army persons will transfer to those units, retire or be given a chance to sign up in the US forces. The navy will go though the same process with an upgraded Canadian Coast guard. Frigates and subs retired. Upgraded Coast guard will be lightly arm for the constabulary mission. IE AOPS retained. Air Force SAR work and equipment retained and transfer to the Canadian militia command. Some Helicopters retained also. Fighters retired. VVIP and other transport missions transfer to Transport Canada. Patrol aircraft to the Coast Guard.

CFB locations transferred and leased to the US Armed Forces. One condition they continue to fly both flags. Recruiting centers transfer to the US.

RMC turned to a Militia training center and civil university. Canadians will be able to attend the US military colleges.

Army regiments can have a last parade as their colours are lowered. In Ottawa a command transfer to USNORTHCOM.

Canada sends the left over money of the DND budget to the US for the defence of Canada. Maybe we get a deal from the US and there is a saving we can then roll more money into the programs the government likes.

The militia and RCMP can supply whatever blue helmet jobs the UN needs.

Advantages!

Now the Canadian pols can just worry about the stuff they like to do. No messy international stuff just be a convening power. Like setting the the table at international events and then closing the door.

Its win for individuals looking for a job in the military as the US opens many more opportunities.

Politian's get to focus on things they like they then can bash the US even more when things come up.

The upgraded Militia and CCG will offer better full and part time jobs.

Disadvantages

Canadians will see US forces more but they will not like that. But will also realize nothing is free and someone is going to defend the country.

bang bang zombie GIF by PlayStation
 

Rainbow1910

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Non-orphane options would be, for instance, joining the Type 212CD or the next Dutch Walrus-replacement, if we discard the under-ice capability.
In my opinion, something along those lines seems like the best idea for Canada. Submarine procurements never seem to go our way so hedging our bets by limiting as much risk as possible should be key. Saab's A26 design has the potential to offer a capability of 18 vertically launched tomahawks alongside a multi-mission bay which allows the launching of divers and unmanned vehicles. I'm not sure the timeline would line up to allow us to piggyback on the Dutch as we seem to be waiting until the cows come home to get down to brass tacks on this program.
 

Czech_pivo

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You don’t think arctic waters and the resources under them are economic or strategic targets?
So that being said and the fact that there is thousands of miles of land between arctic waters and anything resembling proper economic or strategic targets no Russian submarine is going to use the Canadian arctic to attack Canada when they can do it just as easily from their own waters. That makes it a NORAD problem, not a navy problem.

I'm going to suggest that Russian subs may very well use CDN arctic waters to attack the economic resources of the US (which means us), those resources being the Alaska oil fields/Prudhoe Bay.
 

Spencer100

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I'm going to suggest that Russian subs may very well use CDN arctic waters to attack the economic resources of the US (which means us), those resources being the Alaska oil fields/Prudhoe Bay.
In a few years there won't be Russian subs able to leave ports on the current course of action of the Russian gov. Now if you change that to PLAN subs I would say very much too. They are claiming now to be near artic nation.
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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I'm going to suggest that Russian subs may very well use CDN arctic waters to attack the economic resources of the US (which means us), those resources being the Alaska oil fields/Prudhoe Bay.


That would be one heck of a freakish detour of more than a thousand kilometers traded for no tactical gain whatsoever, in fact with a loss of tactical advantage as you would be forfeiting the protection afforded by being in reach of your own shore for most of the way and then having open oceans approaches, instead of trying to go through ennemy territory. Please people, when dealing with Arctic issues, put away your maps and atlases - use a globe. The distances and directions of places and countries up North are not what flat representations leads one to believe.

BTW, I know there is a lot of talk about the North-West passage as the Arctic becomes more and more ice free, but in practice, with receding ice, the fastest and easiest Northern route between Asia and Europe is the North-East passage - North of Russia - and politics be damned - if it is safe, Merchant mariner will take the fastest easiest route. I predict that the N.E.P will develop ahead of the N.W.P., especially considering that the fastest route between Asia and North America remains shipping to the West Coast ports and then train/truck from there.

BTW also, if the Arctic becomes near entirely ice free, you won't even see merchant mariners use either of these passages as the fastest route is then straight across the middle of the Arctic ocean.
 

Czech_pivo

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Q: Can you breach arctic ice with any current design?
A: No

If Canada wants a SSK for northern patrol - it’s going to be a new bespoke design.
Which while not impossible, will be immensely more expensive than any CoG would be willing to undertake.

Realistic options are:
1) Divest the sub surface fleet, get rid of SS trades
2) Divest the sub surface fleet, and send SS crews on Brit and US Nuke boats.
3) Buy new AIP boats and live with constraints (winter work conditions limited by AOPS support)
4) Buy insanely expensive Ice Breaching AIP bespoke fleet
5) SSN buy in with Oz/UK/US.

Frankly for Canada at this junction, I think #2 is probably best, as it could create a ground work for a nuclear navy at a later date.
#4-5 are not practical at this point
Can't there be a '2b' option - much like HMS Uganda (minus the munity) and other such ships - 'owned' by the UK or US but partially, moving towards completely, crewed by CDN's, under a Canadian flag and berthed in Canada, with all operational costs paid by Canada. The UK/US builds it, pays the cost build/arm it but its totally crewed by Canadians and all costs after the initial 'run up' are paid for by Canada.
 
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