RCN ops

What Assets does the Canadian Navy Have?

The Royal Canadian Navy is a blue-water navy - it travels around the world to play a number of roles to further Canadian foreign policy goals. It conducts operations, often with allies, such as counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, disaster relief and capacity-building operations, as well as war-fighting exercises. What ships/boats does the RCN have to do this?

The backbone of the RCN is its 12 Halifax-class frigates. These frigates joined the navy in the 1990s, and are now used for a wide variety of tasks.


The RCN also has a submarine fleet which consists of four Victoria-class diesel-electric boats. These submarines were purchased from Great Britain in 1998 and have undergone significant upgrades so that they can add to the RCN’s surveillance, deterrence and warfare capabilities.

VIC sub

As well, Canada has 12 Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (MCDVs), built in the 1990s. As their name suggests, the MCDVs were designed for coastal surveillance, but in recent years they have travelled beyond the coasts of Canada, participating for example in counter-drug operations in the Caribbean and visits to West Africa for capacity-building purposes.

MCDVs in 2012

While the RCN waits for the Joint Support Ships (JSS) to be built, it acquired MV Asterix as an interim solution to fleet replenishment needs.

MV Asterix - Wikipedia

And, finally, the RCN has eight Orca-class training tenders, which are not commissioned (and so do not have the HMCS prefix). They were acquired in the mid-2000s and are based on the West Coast. The Orcas are used as training platforms and patrol ships but, if necessary, they can conduct search and rescue operations, or aid ships in distress.

Orca class

If you want to know more about the assets the RCN has - including the ships, personnel and facilities - take a look at the Naval Association of Canada Briefing Note #10 Assets and Platforms, at https://www.navalassoc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/BN10-assets-and-platforms.pdf


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