Bring Back Canada’s Fighting Corvettes Pt 2
If Canada would look to its roots, from the world wars where it was the world’s Third Largest Navy, it might find the means to fund its many and often delayed shipbuilding plans. Currently the backbone of the fleet consists of aged destroyers, missile frigates, and conventional submarines, whose functions and roles could be adequately replaced by modern corvettes, themselves far more capable than during the war years.
The new Canadian Home Fleet would costs of 3 “Influence Squadrons“, for the Atlantic, Pacific, and the Arctic. Each would average 10 corvettes, 2 submarines, and a logistics mothership, though numbers could vary more or less according to each squadrons’ particular need. In time of war or crisis, a second or even a third mothership could be deployed if the squadron need to split up, or because of a loss in battle. Special task forces should be taken from each of the three fleets to operate with our allies, as in the ongoing anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden.
Corvettes and submarines should be proven designs already in service and production, though built new in Canadian yards if possible, to reduce costs, technical difficulties, and insure quick delivery dates.(I can’t emphasize this latter point enough, the idea being to get a reasonable numbers of hulls in the water in a reasonable time-frame, a basic art seemingly lost to Western Navies) The same rule should hold for motherships, keeping them around 15,ooo tons. Converted merchant freighters or older amphibious vessels bought off the shelf should be considered first before the expense of new build ships are undertaken.
The following are examples of the makeup of the new fleet:
- 10 Anti-Air Warfare Corvettes-$250 million each
- 10 Patrol Corvettes-$100 million each
- 10 Aviation Corvettes-$100 million each
- 10 Coastal Submarines-$250 million
- 5 Motherships-$250 million each
Numbers for each particular type could vary of course, but we would hope the price of each would remain stable, if not less. This could be performed by keeping specifications and add-on’s as limited as possible for existing designs. We have no particular favorite but the AAW corvette should be armed with a medium range to point anti-missile system like the American ESSM, British Sea Wolf, or the Israeli Barak system. The quality of the patrol corvette could vary, as we are thinking an offshore patrol vessel type. This craft could also carry bombardment rockets like NetFires to support amphibious operations. The aviation corvette would load up to 2 helicopters or perhaps 3-5 UAVs, perhaps geared toward ASW warfare. By limiting aviation assets to these vessels, the cost of the others could be kept to a reasonable number.
Submarines should be of the small or coastal variety, from 1000-1500 tons. Again this should be an existing design, though new build unlike the present Victoria class and armed with ship-killing missiles. Because we say “small” submarines doesn’t mean “less capable” since conventional boats are now greatly dreaded by even the mighty US Navy, who has operated with such vessels, notably against German Type 209 and Swedish Gotland class boats in naval exercises. For a small navy, such silent and lethal craft are capital vessels.
The new battleship for the surface navy would be these small off the shelf corvettes. Canada’s new corvette centric fleet would not be out of the ordinary, as we noted yesterday, but an homage to its glory days when such vessels as well as light frigates and destroyers were the core of the fleet. For about $10 billion she could deploy a powerful and balanced fleet unlike any seen in Northern waters in decades.