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Support Ships for the Navy

Unless the RCN wants to rely on friends and allies, Canada needs support ships/Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ships when RCN ships deploy. Until about five years ago, Canada had two AORs – HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur – but both ships have now been retired. This meant that Canada had a gap in its capability – in particular, it could no longer provide fuel to RCN ships. The interim supply ship Asterix, which came into service in early 2018, has been filling that gap. Meanwhile, we wait for the permanent solution, which has been in the works for some time.

JSS Seaspan dwg

When the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS) was announced in 2010, the plan was to construct two (with the option of a third) Joint Support Ships (JSS) at Seaspan shipyards in British Columbia. The construction has begun, and progress on the first ship is being made.

If you want to know more about the process, size, capabilities and timeline for the JSS, check out the Naval Association of Canada Briefing Note at

Read more: NAC BN #26 (.pdf)

Canadian Naval Review (CNR) - Vol. 16.2

CNR 16_2 cover img

In this issue we start with an Editorial that asks if it is time to rethink Canada’s concept of seapower as the world experiences a period of geopolitical readjustment. We have an interesting article that examines the question of military planning and preparedness using the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. There’s an article that uses newly declassified material to re-examine civil-military relations in Canada at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In Making Waves, we have a response to a commentary in the spring issue that questioned some elements of the NSS.

And for fans of submarines, we have an article that digs into the power requirements that Canada would need should it decide to get AIP submarines capable of traveling under ice in the Arctic.

And of course we also have our fascinating regular columns, book reviews and amazing photos. If you don’t have a subscription yet, you should get one so you don’t miss anything. As always, keep your eyes on the CNR Twitter account for the latest updates at CdnNavalReview

Previous CNR issues


Volume 16, Number 1 (2020)

  • Team Canada (Ships) Sees the NSS Delivering - Vice-Admiral Art McDonald;
  • Reflections on a Decade of NSS - Ian Mack;
  • The NSS: Flawed Premises - Dan Middlemiss;
  • The NSS: A Canadian Submarine Response? - David Dunlop;
  • Dollars and Sense: The First Decade of the NSS - Dave Perry.

Volume 15, Number 3 (2020)

  • Editorial: Not for Sale: Trump, Greenland and Danish Naval Diplomacy - Tim Choi;
  • Winner of 2019 CNMT Essay Contest: On the Rise of the Materialists and the Decline of Naval Thought in the RCN - Captain (Navy) Hugues Canuel, RCN;
  • How Does the RCN Prepare to Fight in Hypersonic Missile Environments? - Matthew Beaupré;
  • Dollars and Sense: Slightly Delinquent: Canadian Defence Burden Sharing - Dave Perry.

CNR resources

Read more: CNR Archives (50+ magazines in PDF) and Subject Index (500+ articles).

Looking for Books about Maritime Matters?

Over the last 15 years, Canadian Naval Review has published over 170 book reviews. These books cover a variety of topics but they all relate to maritime matters, history, or security and defence at sea. This is an amazing resource. Go through the list of reviews, pick out a few books that look interesting, read the reviews, and then order the books from your nearest bookstore or from the publisher. See the list of book reviews at