Joint Support Ships

The two Protecteur-class Joint Support Ships (JSS) will replace the Royal Canadian Navy’s Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels. The new ships will provide core replenishment, limited sealift capabilities, and support to operations ashore. The JSS will be one of the first of the Royal Canadian Navy’s ships to be built by one of the competitively selected Canadian shipyards, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The JSS are a critical component for achieving success in both international and domestic CAF missions, as detailed in the new Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged. The ships constitute a vital and strategic national asset. The presence of replenishment ships increases the range and endurance of a Naval Task Group, permitting it to remain at sea for significant periods of time without going to shore for replenishment.

Ship Capabilities

The JSS project will procure two ships with capabilities such as:

  • Underway Support to Naval Task Groups: Underway support is the term that describes the transfer of liquids and solids between ships at sea. This underway support also includes the operation and maintenance of helicopters, as well as task group medical and dental facilities;
  • Limited Sealift: To meet a range of possibilities in an uncertain future security environment, JSS will be capable of delivering a limited amount of cargo ashore; and
  • Limited Support to Operations Ashore: The JSS will leverage to the maximum extent possible its onboard facilities.

The JSS will replace the core capabilities of the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ships, including: provision of fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food, and water, and other supplies; modern medical and dental care facilities, including an operating room; repair facilities and expertise to keep helicopters and other equipment functioning; and basic self-defence functions.


On January 12, 2012, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that the Government of Canada has reached agreements with Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. This charts the course for construction of Canada’s combat and non-combat surface fleets under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The strategic sourcing arrangements, called umbrella agreements, with each of the selected shipyards have been signed. Individual ship construction contracts will now be negotiated with the respective shipyards.

The building of the first Joint Support Ship is expected to start immediately following the Canadian Coast Guard builds in Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. The Joint Support Ship project is currently conducting the Design and Production Engineering. This work will enable Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. to bring the proven design to a production ready state