Victoria-class Capability

HMCS Windsor

Corporal Andrew Kelly

HMCS Windsor leaves Halifax Harbour heading out to sea in 2016.


Conventional diesel-electric submarines – like the Victoria-class – with stealth capabilities, increased manoeuverability, and extremely quiet electric propulsion systems, have advantages in certain scenarios over their nuclear counterparts. The Victoria-class is especially advantageous in waters close to the shore and in more narrow fronts, making them valuable strategic asset Canada and our international partners.


Victoria-class submarines are extremely versatile with the ability to operate in any weather condition for periods of up to 45 days. The submarines fill a variety of roles to meet Canada’s requirements for a balanced, multi-purpose, and combat-effective naval fleet. In addition to their inherent lethality and strategic importance as a war-fighting vessel, submarines fill an array of peacetime naval roles, including:

  • Conducting fisheries patrols and surveillance of all three Canadian coastlines,
  • Supporting maritime law enforcement and other governmental departments,
  • Maintaining fleet skills,
  • Bilaterally engaging with continental defence partners,
  • Participating in multinational training events, and
  • Deterring potential terrorists, smugglers, and polluters.

Success in maritime operations requires an ability to have control above, on and below the surface of the sea. This success requires balanced maritime forces; and without submarines, the effectiveness of Canada’s other maritime assets would be diminished. No other asset in the Canadian Armed Forces can rival the sheer deterrent impact of submarines. As a result of their unrivalled stealth, persistence, and lethality, the mere possibility that a submarine is operating undetected can alter the entire nature of a theatre of operations.

Canadian submarines are valuable and key tools to fulfil the strategic vision for defence as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged, which states that the Canadian Armed Forces must be:

  • Strong at home,
  • Secure in North America, and
  • Engaged in the world.


  • Speed: 12 knots (surfaced), 20 knots (submerged)
  • Patrol endurance: approximately 8 weeks
  • Complement: 49 crew and 10 trainees
  • Diving depth: > 200 metres