Bridging the [CSC] Gap

Mikaël Perron, 27 December 2021

Our conversation here in Broadsides about the flaws of the CSC program took us very far on some interesting Ideas. It led to David Dunlop suggesting that Canada should only build 12 CSC and rapidly build 4 Arleigh-Burke-class destroyers ahead of the CSC to get 4 ships with more missiles and top speed at a cheaper cost per ship. I then suggested that what we would need is an almost off-the-shelf proven design that would be affordable to build and affordable to operate too. It would require minimum modifications so it could start building within a year and be delivered within 5 years or so. But within our financing constraint, we should aim for maximum commonality with the CSC but also avoid any major expensive modifications in order to control cost and respect our ‘’speedy’’ schedule. I proposed to equip those AB Flight IIIB with Leonardo 127/64 LW Gun, BAE’s 30mm gun Multi-role boat, CH-148 helicopter and lower aft missiles count down to 16 MK41 Vls cell and 12 Exls Vls and ad 8 NSN missiles. I also suggested that the combat system and sensor remains untouched to again control cost and time. David is suggesting a higher missile count and the fitting of the CSC’s combat system and beefed-up SPY-7 radar since the design of both item might be ready by then. So I choose to illustrate both option with a starboard side view of a Flight IIIB Canadian AB class with SPY-6 radar and a Port side view of a Flight IV Canadian AB class with SPY-7 and MDA illuminator radar. Sorry but I kept my own version of the missile fit on both drawing graciously colored by my brother.

Concept drawing of a Canadianized "Flight IIIB" Arleigh Burke class. Credit: Mikaël and Tommy Perron
Concept drawing of a Canadianized "Flight IV" Arleigh Burke class. Credit: Mikaël and Tommy Perron

While there are worries that the USA would not sell the design (although the Japanese and Korean Aegis destroyers closely resemble the AB class), I thought of another option that is in fact an old new Idea. We could use a 100% genuine Canadian design. For years there were discussion of a Halifax class with a 10 meter extension and now could be an opportunity to build a batch III CPF as a bridging solution between the Halifax class and the CSC. The Halifax class design is about the same age as the AB class design and it could be update for a batch of four ships. A 144 m 6000 tons Halifax class could be a very capable ship that we could afford to build and to operate. We studied the fatigue over the year and could easily adapt the plan to strengthen it. The bow section would receive the extension just in front the bridge and receive a 32 cells MK41 launcher for ESSM, Standard SM2 block IIIC and Tomahawk missile. The 57mm gun would be replace by the 124/64 LW gun. Harpoon would be replaced by NSN missiles while the ESSM launcher on both side of the main funnel would be replaced by 12 cell EXLS launcher for Sea Ceptor missiles. I would replace the Phalanx CIWS with a 35mm millennium gun, just for the fun of it and the fact that it can also be used as CIWS. But we could put the CSC’s 30mm gun also; although it is les punchy! The main thing is that I would install the new mast of the CSC with SPY-7 & MDA’s illuminator on to it. I believe that an enlarged Halifax class could handle such a mast. Such a ship would also call for a completely renewed propulsion plan and auxiliary machinery to reflect on new technologies. In fact I would install the same four Diesel generators as the CSC (two in the forward auxiliary machinery room and two in the aft one). They would supply power to the ships but also the same two electrical motors as the CSC installed in the after engine room instead of the propulsion diesel engine (PDE). This could allow the ship to go up to about 21-22kts on electric drive. I’m not sure if I would keep the two LM2500 GT with an updated cross connect gearbox or also use the T26 single MT30 GT with cross connect gearbox in the forward engine room. I believe that it could take it and all of those parts are now in production. I chose to illustrate a single MT30 use on my drawing. Fewer moving parts means less maintenance anyway! Of course the bridging-the-gap design doesn’t have the crew living standard of newer ships and doesn’t possess the potential of the mission bay to be fitted on the CSC. Four such ship would be a great addition to the fleet and would have commonality with the older class and the future one! Some more stuff to think about!

Concept drawing of a Batch 3 Halifax class frigate. Credit: Credit: Mikaël and Tommy Perron

In fact we are probably just talking here. There is actually no political drive to make such a plan happen. The GoC is still negotiating with Davie Shipyard to include it into the NSS and no official contract has yet been signed for the construction of the simple ferry promised year ago, let alone 4 combat ships! On top of that, the actual workforce shortage and the COVID related and unrelated supply chain issues put at risk many actual and upcoming project in the near future. The final design of the CSC should soon be ready and hopefully be revealed to the general public. The GoC’s aim should be to timely deliver 15 fully equipped and affordable to operate CSC for the RCN. It will give Canada a world class surface fleet and consolidate the NSS in order to tackle the upcoming and most challenging Canadian Patrol Submarine Program that is to deliver a true underwater capability to the RCN so we should remain an important contributor to the world security and have a voice on the world stage.

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