Joint Support Ships

The two Queenston-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 laid out in the Canada First Defence Strategy. 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.

The announced names of the Queenston-class ships are:

  • HMCS Queenston
  • HMCS Châteauguay

 

Ship Capabilities

The JSS project will procure two ships with an option for a third 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.

Construction

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 in the 2016-2017 timeframe, in keeping with the existing schedule. This means that the first ship would be anticipated in 2019, assuming no further delays in the schedule.

The Joint Support Ship project is currently conducting the Initial Design Review contract. This will enable Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. to fully review the proven, off-the-shelf ship design from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada, selected in June 2013. The contract negotiation and design preparation work will take place in 2015/2016, in order to bring the Joint Support Ship Design to a production ready state."

Naming

On October 25, 2013, the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of National Defence, announced the names of the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) new Joint Support Ships (JSS), which will be built by Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd. in North Vancouver, B.C. The two Joint Support Ships (JSS) will be named Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Queenston and HMCS Châteauguay in recognition of the significant battles of Queenston Heights and Châteauguay during the War of 1812.

“The names recognize the achievements and sacrifices of those early Canadian soldiers who fought and died in these critical battles during the War of 1812,” said Minister Nicholson. “The War of 1812 was a defining moment in our nation’s history that contributed to shaping our identity as Canadians and ultimately our existence as a country.”

“Canada’s rich military history is a source of inspiration for the men and women who currently serve in the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander Royal Canadian Navy. “The events surrounding the War of 1812 remind us of the sacrifices of soldiers and sailors who fought for their country during a pivotal moment in Canadian history.”

Traditionally, the name of a class of warship is derived from the name of the first vessel in this class to be constructed. HMCS Queenston will be built first, therefore, the two JSS will be known as the Queenston-class.