The Royal Canadian Navy’s troubled fleet of Victoria class submarines has finally achieved operational status. The milestone means that three of the four vessels are each available for operations for the first time since they were acquired in 1998.
HMC Submarines Chicoutimi, Victoria and Windsor were all at sea in December 2014 and spent a combined total of 260 days at sea last year. The other, HMCS Corner Brook, is currently undergoing an Extended Docking Work Period until 2017.The former RN vessels were purchased for $896 million, but have since cost more than twice that to repair, upgrade and maintain. Despite their high maintenance, only HMCS Victoria (pictured) is deemed to be ‘combat-ready’, having demonstrated the ability to fire torpedoes and be unhindered by restrictions to her diving depth.
On present plans, all are due to be retired by the mid-2020s, yet there is no mention of new submarines in the government’s $33 billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy fleet renewal programme.