Canadian submarines not part of international Arctic under-ice exercise
Canada’s Arctic sovereignty depends on U.S.-Canada relationship for security, expert says
Over five weeks, the British submarine HMS Trenchant travelled beneath — and broke through — Beaufort Sea ice alongside two U.S. submarines.
It was there as part of the Arctic and Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2018, a U.S. Navy submarine arctic warfare exercise involving U.S., Canadian and British armed forces.
Taking place about 200 kilometres off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort Sea, the exercise was designed, in part, for the U.S. Navy to practise and test the operational and tactical capabilities of its submarines under ice.
The Trenchant is one of the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy submarines that has extensive under-ice capabilities.
“This exercise shows that our Royal Navy is primed and ready to operate in the harshest conditions imaginable, to protect our nation from any potential threats,” Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster said in a Royal Navy news release.
The Royal Canadian Navy, however, cannot make the same claim about its submarines.
Canada’s fleet of submarines, bought 20 years ago from the British Royal Navy, didn’t join the latest ICEX operation. The Royal Canadian Navy’s HMCS Windsor, Victoria, Chicoutimi and Corner Brook aren’t designed for those kinds of under-ice uses.
Unlike their nuclear counterparts, Canadian submarines are limited to open water and near-ice-edge operations, an acknowledged concession due to budgetary realities. This is in part because they’re diesel powered boats, and must come up for air periodically.
Both the U.S.and British navies have nuclear-powered submarines with the capacity to stay underwater for as long as a crew’s food supply lasts. They can confidently travel under arctic ice.
Still, the Royal Canadian Navy has been involved in ICEX since 2011, according to naval communications adviser, Jennifer St. Germain. This year, Canada offered a “modest contribution” to ICEX 2018, sending “a naval communicator to support the exercises.” That’s one Canadian among a sea of many U.S. Navy and Royal Navy personnel. – CBC News
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…This year, Canada offered a “modest contribution” to ICEX 2018, sending “a naval communicator to support the exercises.”…
What? Did the ICEX commanders need someone to get coffee?
As long as those pesky Russians invade during the summer months, our subs will do just fine.
Canada has no Arctic naval capabilities. Even our Coast Guard icebreakers are old. No replacements in sight.
Here in Thunder Bay, we have an American Coast Guard icebreaker working in our harbour during spring icebreaker operations. Not a Canadian ship. An American ship.
Then there is the whole CF-18 replacement debacle. Canada is looking at buying used Australian aircraft to use until new aircraft can be purchased.
Replacing the naval supply ships. We don’t have any. A navy with no supply ships. Yes, that is a thing.
The condition of Canada’s military is a joke. Canada should simply paint all of its naval fleet red and white and give them to the Coast Guard.
Or better yet, lets just sell off all of our military hardware and spend all of those sweet, sweet defence dollars on much needed infrastructure replacement…or we could buy more pipelines.
Who is going to invade Canada anyway? They can just buy up all of our land, companies and resources. We will gladly sell.