The Canadian Surface Combatant provides operational agility

Navy News / February 5, 2021

Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, has committed to investing in 15 Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC). These multi-role ships will form the backbone of Canada’s combat sea power, as the centerpiece of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Future Fleet’s mix of CSCs, Protecteur-class Joint Support Ships (JSS), Victoria-class submarines, and Harry DeWolf-class Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships.

With its effective advanced warfare capability and versatility, the CSC can be deployed rapidly anywhere in the world, either independently or as part of a Canadian Naval Task Group or international coalition. It will be able to deploy for many months away from homeport, with a limited need to resupply when supported by a JSS.

Canada is a vast nation, and the RCN has responsibilities in all three oceans which border the country.

Given that the RCN’s two homeports of Halifax and Victoria are located some 6,000 km apart by land, if a ship is needed from the opposite coast for any unexpected reason, it is a long way to travel in both time and distance. Therefore, the Atlantic and Pacific fleets must be equally capable in order to give the Navy the flexibility it needs to respond to any government tasking, planned or unforeseen – exactly the kind of agility the full fleet of CSCs will bring to the RCN.

The CSC’s operational agility is showcased in its projected ability to be moved rapidly from one mission to another while remaining deployed, due to the highly trained crews and breadth of capabilities it will encompass. For example, a CSC operating in the Asia-Pacific region acting as an air defence platform for allied ships will be able to quickly respond to a requirement to conduct a search and detect patrol for an adversary’s submarine if needed.

For the RCN, having more ships with similar capabilities will ensure a higher rate of operational availability, an essential requirement for a navy with a relatively modest fleet size. By having a fleet of 15 CSCs fairly evenly dispersed between the East and West Coasts, when one ship becomes unavailable to perform a task for any reason, there will be enough other ships with the same versatility available to the RCN to complete the mission at hand.

The CSC is the best operationally agile choice to meet the Government of Canada assigned mission set. It’s the right ship for the RCN, and the right ship for Canada.