Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Government Says Canada Can Get Another 20 Years Out of Those Clapped-Out Subs. Well, Maybe.

When Britain's Royal Navy deployed their new, Upholder-class attack subs they retired them in short order. The boats were commissioned into service in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1993. So unimpressed were the Brits they tied them up at the quay in 1994 and left them there. They tried to flog them and almost shopped them to Pakistan but no luck. Then, in 1998, along came Canada and we've had them ever since.

Like the Brits, we too have left those subs either tied up or in dry dock. Think of them as Jean Chretien's white elephant. We have spent a fortune on Cold War-era submarines that don't work worth a tinker's dam.

We've been told, off and on, that, 22 years later, the navy has finally got them sorted out. Maybe, maybe not. The government claims we'll get another 20 years out of them.

The government may be right, judging by last year's results. Of the four boats, not one spent a single day at sea in 2019. Not one day.
The Liberal government's 2017 defence policy does not envision replacing the subs until 2040, but a written statement recently put before the House of Commons indicates the navy wants to keep the boats "operationally effective until the mid-2030s."
They want to keep the boats operationally effective. They've never been operationally effective.  What these boats have taught us over the past 22 years is that we perceive no significant, much less urgent, need for submarines.

Submarines have a limited shelf-life. When they're running and at sea, the pressure on a submerged hull takes a toll. Maybe the hulls of our boats have been spared that wear and tear.
The commander of the navy, Vice-Admiral Art McDonald, said that after some early struggles the submarine program has reached what he described as "a steady state," and he's convinced the boats can be operated safely for years to come.


the salamander said...

.. Mein Gott ! .. (Got Save The Queen !) 'Flood tanks !' 'Close hatches.... Sir !!' ???'

John's aghast said...

Maybe lump them together with TMX pipeline and write it off as a 'bad investment'?

Toby said...

The PM and his Cabinet need to spend some time on the bottom of the Atlantic listening to the noises of over stressed metal.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Well, if we keep them in shallow water carefully tied up at the quay, afloat only on the high tide, we should be able to get another 20 years out of them if there are no more fires.

Purple library guy said...

"What these boats have taught us over the past 22 years is that we perceive no significant, much less urgent, need for submarines."
Bingo. I'm pretty definite that Canada has military needs it is not meeting. Submarines are not something I can see a reason for Canada needing, other than to keep up with the Joneses. Maybe next time we could get cardboard replicas and spend the difference on stuff that's relevant.

Anonymous said...

The Japanese and French both make good cheap subs. Ours are anachronisms that other navies would have scrapped already. Decent summary of the best real world non-US subs, and why Australia went French:


Here, some stray billionaire would want us to build local and reinvent the wheel for money. Like the F-35 has helped to make America rich.


Trailblazer said...

The submarines, regardless of condition, are I believe used for coastal patrols and for the US to play war games against as they have no diesel subs.
The cost of the subs was offset by use of maritime test ranges back east plus some cash from the USA.
Most of the subs problems have been self induced by inexperienced crew.
Hitting the bottom of the ocean and seriously damaging the hull is not a design defect!

Junk they well may be; their cost in real terms 'could' be considerably less than we know.
In fighting equipment I would think that the possible purchase of LM F35's much more problematic.