Canada Launching Process to Acquire Up to 12 Conventionally-Powered Submarines

In National

Canada is the country with the largest coastline in the world – an underwater surveillance capability is crucial to our security and sovereignty.

As outlined in our defence policy update, Our North, Strong and Free, released in April 2024, our Arctic is now warming at four times the global average, making a vast and sensitive region more accessible to foreign actors who have growing capabilities and regional military ambitions. By 2050, the Arctic Ocean could become the most efficient shipping route between Europe and East Asia.

Canada’s Northwest Passage and the broader Arctic region are already more accessible, and competitors are seeking access, transportation routes, natural resources, critical minerals, and energy sources through more frequent and regular presence and activity. They are exploring Arctic waters and the sea floor, probing our infrastructure and collecting intelligence. In the maritime domain, Russian submarines are probing widely across the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific Oceans and China is rapidly expanding its underwater fleet.

In response to these emerging security challenges, in Our North, Strong and Free, the Government of Canada committed to exploring options for renewing and expanding our submarine fleet, in order to allow Canada to detect and deter threats and control our maritime approaches. We made this commitment because Canada’s current fleet of four Victoria-class submarines is becoming increasingly obsolete and expensive to maintain. Canada needs a new fleet of submarines to protect our sovereignty from emerging security threats.

On July 10, 2024, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, announced that Canada is taking the first step towards the procurement of up to 12 conventionally-powered, under-ice capable submarines – and that Canada is launching the process to formally engage industry on this acquisition.

This is an important step in implementing Canada’s renewed vision for defence, Our North, Strong and Free.

Through the Canadian Patrol Submarine Project (CPSP), Canada will acquire a larger, modernized submarine fleet to enable the Royal Canadian Navy to covertly detect and deter maritime threats, control our maritime approaches, project power and striking capability further from our shores, and project a persistent deterrent on all three coasts.

The Department of National Defence is currently in the process of meeting with manufacturers and potential partners, as part of the Canadian Patrol Submarine Project (CPSP). A formal Request for Information will be posted in fall 2024 to gain further information on the procurement, construction, delivery and operational capabilities of potential bidders who can build submarines for Canada. This RFI will also seek to gain information which will enable the establishment of a submarine sustainment capability in Canada. This procurement will enable Canada to develop closer ties with its allies and partners and establish a strategic partnership that not only delivers the submarines themselves, but creates a durable relationship between Canada and its strategic partner(s) to support personnel training and the sharing of information.

Canada’s key submarine capability requirements will be stealth, lethality, persistence and Arctic deployability – meaning that the submarine must have extended range and endurance. Canada’s new fleet will need to provide a unique combination of these requirements to ensure that Canada can detect, track, deter and, if necessary, defeat adversaries in all three of Canada’s oceans while contributing meaningfully alongside allies and enabling the Government of Canada to deploy this fleet abroad in support of our partners and allies.

The procurement of up to 12 submarines is necessary to ensure the defence of our three coasts, and the federal government is looking forward to working with industry to find a partner that will deliver world-class submarines for Canada.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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