Canadian Patrol Submarine Plans Announced

By Dan Middlemiss, 11 July 2024

A graphic accompanying a press release by Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems for the start of production of the Type 212CD submarine for Norway, September 2023. Credit: Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems

At the NATO Summit in Washington, MND Bill Blair announced early plans to proceed with a project to replace the navy’s current submarine fleet.[1]

Some key points made by MND Blair and senior government officials include:

- up to 12 boats

- conventionally powered

- under-ice capable

- to be procured outside the NSS

- but Ottawa is seeking a Canadian sustainment component

- an RFI could be issued in the fall 2024

- no details about costs, numbers, or delivery schedules

The announcement does not move the project much beyond the ‘explore options’ caveat in the recent Defence Policy Update. Moreover, the initiative appears to be a political move to counter external criticism of Canada's ‘shameful’ defence spending status in NATO.

David Perry, a respected Canadian defence expert, “estimated that the full cost of acquiring up to 12 submarines would be up to $120-billion, and that it would take up to 15 years for the first of the new submarines to be operational.”

There was no indication of how the RCN will find crews for these boats.

It will be interesting to see the extent to which Ottawa will be able to resist industry efforts to ‘Canadianize’ and add ‘Canadian content’ to whatever design is ultimately selected.

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