Future Submarines for Canada 2

The National Shipbuilding Strategy does not include submarines but if Canada is to retain a submarine capability, it will soon have to start thinking about replacing the Victoria-class submarines. DND has a plan to extend their lives, but at some point the decision on either replacing the subs or going out of the submarine business entirely will have to be made. Procurement will undoubtedly be a long and painful process, assuming that Canadians can be convinced of the need for submarines – something that isn’t assured unless there is a serious effort made to convince them. If the government decides to acquire new submarines, that leads us to a consideration of what type of submarine Canada should purchase/build. There is an interesting commentary in Frontline Defence (15 August 2017) by Danny Lam, entitled “Hybrid Submarines, an Efficient Alternative,” that explores the possibilities for a nuclear-steam-electric hybrid propulsion system for new submarines for Canada.

See http://defence.frontline.online/blogs/3896-Dr.-Danny-Lam/7909-Hybrid-submarines%2C-an-efficient-alternative?utm_source=Extras&utm_campaign=dfcdaef847-FrontLine+Defence+Newsletter+August+8&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_efa98dc22e-dfcdaef847-10203993


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2 thoughts on “Future Submarines for Canada

  • Roderick Steckhahn

    Danny Lam 
    I agree with you on the diesel submarines they are indeed very noisy and costs for the up keep of the engines and units will be very high. What Canada requires is a few of these new USS North Dakota (SSN-784), a Virginia-class submarine. Yes, these subs are blue water units but to travel under the amount of frozen ocean Canada has is a long and hazardous journey to say the least. Yes, these units are expensive to purchase per unit but they are worth the expense, Russia has invested heavily in developing its own underwater stealth capabilities in recent years and its submarine technology is approaching the level of the US fleet. While the Russian military is not necessarily building a large quantity of submarines, it is developing boats with advanced quieting capabilities that are very competitive. Russia is modernizing its existing fleet of Oscar-class multipurpose attack nuclear submarines and producing its next generation Severodvinsk Yasen-class. The Russians are making a leverage investment. With these new submarines you don’t have to build a lot of them to become a threat to the North American coastlines and Canada has a lot of coastline in the North America continent.

    China, on the other hand, is opting for a quantity over quality approach when it comes to building up its own submarine fleet. The Chinese are not as advanced but are getting there and they are producing diesel submarines in large numbers. In the end, numbers are a capability in themselves. The submarines being developed by China are becoming close to being as advanced as those in the US arsenal but be warned their approach of producing a large number of boats does pose a threat in itself. Quantity can become a threat. In addition to adding to the size of its submarine fleet the Chinese are also advancing their undersea capability. China is improving the lethality and survivability of its attack submarines and building quieter, high-end diesel and nuclear-powered submarines. China’s claims in the South China Sea represent one glaring example as to how it has been able to successfully implement this type of strategy in a way that allows it to expand its military reach without engaging in direct confrontation.

    Canada will require these Virginia-class subs. Yes, it would be great if Canada could supply the reactors required but I don’t see our governments getting their act together to accomplish this. These new submarines will assist in countering these viable threats of both Russia and China. ($ 3.3 Billion Cnd per copy x 4 = $13.2 Billion Can) x Training, Maintenance & Parts Contract = $7.6 Billion + $13.2 Billion = $20.8 Billion over a 4 period = $5.2 Billion per year. The latest nuclear submarines technology, uses nuclear power to create steam which in turn is connected to electric generators, these then operate a rim-driven pump-jet that has a ring-shaped electrical motor inside the pump-jet shroud, which turns the vane rotor inside the pump-jet cavity to create thrust. This design reduces noise by removing the shaft and also creates fewer water bubbles, making it even quieter. This helps the submarines to elude foes as high concealment is very important to all nuclear attack subs, especially for covert missions and/or surprise attacks if and when it becomes necessary.

    Forbes also explained that the United States has yet to develop a coherent strategy to counter Russian and Chinese gray zone activity — a challenge that will require both the Navy and Congress to reconsider the way it utilizes American sea power. Canada must also become part of this development, as I said Canada has a lot of coastline. The Russians and the Chinese are building military bases in the Arctic Circle and the South China Sea, and in in Aug 2009 2 Russian attack subs were first spotted in international waters off the coast of Georgia.

    Our Defense Minister Peter MacKay at that time said this is a very real indication of the Russians flexing their military muscle. This is a very grave concern for all Canadians, as we are a part of the North American land mass. We do not, I repeat do not, have anywhere near enough submarines to counter this viable threat to our sovereignty. The government cannot afford a submarine capability gap and every day these Victoria-class submarines are not decommissioned, adds days of risk. It also makes Canada look like a bunch of fools. Canada cannot afford to upgrade these antiquated submarines because no matter what we do they will still be out of date. These diesel submarines very noisy and the costs for the up keep of those engines and units will not be cheap.


  • Drew

    Japan may offer conventional technology using lithium batteries that may offer an extended under water capability for under ice operations. This could be true if a conning tower was designed to break through ice. This would allow a sub to have extended trips under the Ice and create air holes to recharge batteries as required. Should japan produce a workable lithium battery design for submarines. Arctic waters are warming and ice thickness may not be as large a problem as in the past. A strengthened snorkel acting as an ice pick might be all that would be required. If the sub could hover under the ice and extend a snorkel to run the engines to recharge batteries.