Reconsidering the Type 26 Plan

By Dr. Ann Griffiths, 21 June 2023

It’s hard not to get discouraged about Canadian military procurements. And it’s particularly discouraging when looking at the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) project. For a very expensive major program, the lack of interest by government departments is palpable and puzzling. Thus the pages on the website of Public Services and Procurement Canada which discuss the National Shipbuilding Strategy haven’t been updated in almost a year. The most recent entry in the ‘Progress of the Project’ section for the CSC is dated 7 February 2019. The ‘News’ section for the CSC has nothing more recent than 8 February 2019. The RCN website includes one piece of news, dated 1 June 2023 -- the CSC Project adopted a new Operations Room/Command Information Centre (CIC) layout [Sailors shape future CSC Command Information Centre -]. What if anything can we learn from this painfully slow process? And should it be abandoned partially or completely? It is useful to look at Australia where there’s speculation that a high-level review of the RAN surface fleet may result in a reduction of the number of Hunter-class frigates (which, like the CSC, are also Type 26-based) to be built to free up resources for smaller and more numerous ships. The Australian Type 26 adventure sounds eerily familiar to what Canada has experienced with the CSC – delays, huge cost increases, increasing size/weight of the ships, design tweaks, etc. It even includes questions about how the design was selected in the first place, as the ship only existed on paper, whereas the two rival designs were already in service. This article by Andrew Tillett, “Shipbuilder defends $45 billion frigate project as axe hovers,” should be read by Canadians, and perhaps there should be a similar discussion in Canada:


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