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Canada Will Launch a Replica of Australia’s 2015 Competition to Build 12 Conventional Submarines

Unlike the vast majority of NATO’s European members, Canada, a founding member of the alliance, has not presented a firm budget for the time being to achieve a defense effort of 2% of its GDP. But despite a starving defense effort at just 1.35% of GDP and a budget of $23 billion in 2023, the country has embarked on several major programs to modernize its armed forces in recent years, including the purchase of 88 F-35A- Fighter aircraft to replace the 76 CF-18s still in service, but also 15 British F-26 heavy frigatesto replace the 12 Halifax-class frigates commissioned between 1988 and 1995. More recently, Ottawa announced its intention to replace its fleet of 15 maritime patrol CP-140M Auroras derived from the Lockheed P-3 Orion. from the new American Boeing P-8A Poseidon . But in the naval field, the biggest revolution to come for the Royal Canadian Navy will be in the submarine field.

In fact, today the RCN implements 4 Victoria class diesel-electric submarines, developed by the UK to support its new Conqueror class SNAs, replacing the Oberons in the mid 80’s. Of the 12 submarines planned by the Royal Navy, only 4 buildings of the then Upholder class were built. The Royal Navy, like the French Navy or the US Navy, decided to turn fully to nuclear-powered submersibles. The 1990 ships entered service between 1990 and 4 and were eventually sold to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1998 to replace the Canadian Oberons who had reached retirement age. Throughout the post-Cold War era, the very small size of Canada’s submarine fleet was hardly a handicap, particularly as Ottawa, like its European counterparts, directly exploited the potential offered by the famous “benefits of peace” as shown below collapse of the Soviet Union in the west. But as tensions in the Atlantic and Arctic face Russia and the Pacific face China, Canadian authorities have had to revise the format of the fleet upwards, particularly the submarine fleet.

And indeed, according to the Canadian press, the country’s authorities are now in deliberations to implement a new program to replace the 4 Victorias with no fewer than 12 new conventionally powered attack submarines. To that end, Ottawa is proposing a very substantial amount of CA$60 billion or €40 billion, leading some commentators to say that there is significant room for improvement, with a budget of $100 billion or €60 billion often being suggested will on this topic. That budget, but also the number of ships targeted, is certainly reminiscent of a previous competition in Australia won by the French Naval Group in 2015 before being unilaterally abandoned by Canberra in 2021, to move on to working with the US and UK in the newly formed AUKUS alliance to produce 8 attack submarines, this time nuclear powered. But if the Canadian competition is outwardly reminiscent of the Australians, they will actually be very different.

Source: Meta Defense