CIWS crew

Figuring out the Crews of New Naval Ships

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Canada is building new ships for the navy. We hear about design, capabilities, timetables, numbers and especially costs. But we don’t hear a lot about crewing the new ships. Technology has already reduced the need for large crews in some cases. But, although technology to produce unmanned ships is advancing quickly, for now a ship still needs a crew. But what size of crew? Personnel represent a significant cost for a navy (and militaries in general), and thus reducing the crew size can lead to significant cost savings.

But reducing the number too far can have serious negative implications. Crew size is not the only matter to consider in a new ship, but it’s an important factor and it needs to be considered early in the ship build so that suitable accommodation can be factored in. Crewing new warships is an interesting topic, and one that doesn’t receive the public attention it deserves.

For a discussion of the considerations at play, take a look at the Naval Association of Canada Briefing Note on the topic, at


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