A reply to ‘Amphion’

Amphion is not the only naval personage musing about the future of the Canadian naval fleet. His comments are serious food for thought as innovative choices and decisions are required to meet the challenges created by the sovereign players and less than sovereign forces in the ever more competitive world. Vice Admiral Drew Robertson has also been speaking publicly, but not in Canada. The March 2008 issue of the US Naval Institute "Proceedings" magazine contains commentaries by several chiefs of naval staff from around the world. They responded to the question, "How do you explain to your government and fellow citizens why your navy is necessary and worth what it costs?" Our Chief of Maritime Staff responded, in part, with the following:

"...the relatively high capital cost of maritime forces can be daunting to those responsible for so many other public priorities. For the latter, I have found it useful to describe the history of our 'Iroquois'-class destroyers. Conceived and approved in the 1960s, these fine ships will enter their fifth decade of service before they are eventually retired. Their designers...built the ships exceptionally well, and the class has provided governments ever since a broad range of options in furthering Canadian policy objectives...".

For the purposes of our generation then the future has been clarified, at least in the mind of our current naval chief, with respect to the matters of air warfare and command at sea capabilities. The Iroquois-class will be replaced by the Iroquois-class. My question to the readership is thus: What will be required to keep the class running through 2025? How extensive will be their life extension refits be? What will these cost? Will they be equipped with the Cyclone helicopter or will the air force try to keep the Sea King going for another two decades? Will the combat systems be maintainable through the added life of the ships?

In conclusion it is appropriate to inquire whether the naval leadership is sacrificing innovation for more of the same?