Mistral-class Assault, Helicopter Carriers

By Roderick Steckhahn, 14 January 2022

A Mistral-class ship would assert the RCN’s capability to perform amphibious assaults, withdrawals, demonstrations and raids. This would allow it to further integrate into the doctrinal frameworks described by NATO’s Allied Tactical Publication 8B (ATP8) and the European Amphibious Initiative. While air capabilities are a priority, it also recommended an increase in the number of vehicles and personnel that could be transported and deployed; Canada’s fixed aim is to project a force comprising four combat companies (1,400 people, 280 vehicles, and 30 helicopters) for ten days, in a 100 kilometre-deep sector. This force should be able to intervene either anywhere within 5000 kilometres of Canada’s capital, or in support of Canada’s oversea territories or allies. As well as joint operations with NATO and EU forces, any proposed ship has to be capable of inter-service operations with Canada’s armoured forces through Canada’s peacekeeping actions.

Specifications

Displacement: 21300 tons (full load) / 16500 tons (empty)

Length: 199 meters (653 feet)

Beam: 32 meters (105 ft)

Draft: 6,3 meters (21 ft)

Speed: 18.8 knots (35 km/h), max.

Range: 5800 NM (10800 km) at 18 knots (33 km/h) / 10700 NM (19800 km) at 15 knots

Complement: 160

Propulsion: 3 x Wärtsilä diesel alternators 16V32 (6,2 MW) 1 x Wärtsilä Vaasa auxiliary diesel alternator 18V200 (3 MW) 2 x Rolls-Royce Mermaid azimuth thrusters (2 x 7 MW) - 2 five-bladed propellers

Canadian shipyards could be expected to oppose such a purchase. There would be little for them (except maybe in-service support) in such an acquisition and they could argue that such a purchase would undermine the National Shipbuilding Strategy. But who is running the country? The shipyards that are proposing that it will take 7.5 years to construct one Type 26 Frigate? I mean really? The average cost per ship for the nine FFG(X) is $1,284 billion in Canadian dollars. In contrast, the average production cost for the 15 CSC is estimated at $3,546 billion per copy in Canadian dollars - 2.76 times more expensive. Can Canada afford not to purchase offshore-built ships?

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