A Possible Canadian Arctic Amphibious Capability 

By Les Mader, 6 December 2022

Over the past three years, Colonel (Ret'd) Brian Wentzell, Mr José Cañadas Mendez and I (with advice from Mr Guy Lavoie) have written a series of articles about the development and use of a Canadian Arctic amphibious capability.  Such a force would not only be able to protect Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, by deploying capable presence naval task groups to contain and confront an intruder, but would also be suitable to support NATO, evacuation and HA/DR operations elsewhere in the world.

During an ongoing Broadsides Forum discussion about the Mistral LHD I was asked to provide links to these articles.  Rather than see such a mass of information 'buried' as the 24th comment in a discussion string that started on 9 Oct 22 I decided to provide an expanded response as a new Broadsides discussion post.  It should be noted that some of the articles are currently available only to CNR subscribers. 

The general approach found in these articles is to minimize costs and disruption to, as well the duplication of, existing CAF formations and units in order to maximize the possibility of the Arctic amphibious capability actually being developed and successful.  Thus, existing units and equipment are incorporated as much as possible.

The strategic context for this amphibious capability is discussed at Canadian Naval Review (CNR) 17.3 pp 20-24 (Subscriber-only access online for about four more months).

The general shape of what could be called a basic Canadian Arctic amphibious capability is described at CNR 15.2 pp 36 and 37 (Archives & Index – Canadian Naval Review click on the “15.2” link in the “2019” line).  The similar description for an intermediate level of capability is found at CNR 16.1 pp 32-34 (Archives & Index – Canadian Naval Review click on the “16.1” link in the “2020” line).

Several aspects of the command and control of these amphibious forces are touched on briefly at:

The basic level of capability would use AOPS and JSS (when sea-ice permits) as the required amphibious ships.  The intermediate level would require the development and construction of specialized amphibious ships – the working names for the two suggested notional ship designs are: Landing Platform Arctic (LPA) and Landing Ship Infantry (Arctic) (LSI(A)).  These are discussed at:

The marine infantry required by this new capability would be found by reroling one to three of the army’s existing infantry battalions.  This approach is discussed at:

The initial provision of the helicopters (Cyclones) and hovercraft required to transport the marine infantry to and from their ships is discussed at:

For information.


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