Victoria-class Submarines

Canadian Submarine Force: A strategic maritime security asset for Canada

Submarines are part of the unseen force of the nation; they are stealthy, lethal and persistent, making them ideal for surveillance and intelligence gathering. In an emerging crisis, a submarine presence can profoundly shape regional decision-making, and a submarine’s lethality can contribute decisively to combat operations, both in defending ships on the surface and placing opposing forces at peril. Canada’s Victoria-class submarine fleet has been active at sea since 2003.

Strategic relationships

Canadian submarines are an important element of Canada’s strategic relationships with the United States and NATO. As a submarine-operating NATO nation, Canada has privileged access to intelligence that it would not otherwise have.

Support for Naval Task Groups

A submarine, when warranted, may be part of a Naval Task Group – the core Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) operating concept. With a composition of up to four surface combatants, a joint support ship, and a submarine when needed, the Naval Task Group concept allows the RCN to sustain a major international operation while retaining sufficient capacity to:

  • maintain minor operations and/or respond to maritime security taskings at home,
  • maintain a routine presence in Canada’s three oceans, and
  • contribute to operations in support of North American security.

Operations

The Submarine Force’s wide-reaching capabilities provide invaluable support to Canada’s international partners, as evidenced by the recent highly successful, simultaneous deployments of Her Majesty's Canadian Submarines (HMCS) Chicoutimi and Windsor in which they accomplished several firsts along the way:

  • Op PROJECTION Euro-Atlantic – In 2018, HMCS Windsor deployed for 133 days to the Euro-Atlantic region -- the first time a Canadian submarine was operational in the Mediterranean in more than four decades.
  •  Op PROJECTION Asia-Pacific - In 2017, HMCS Chicoutimi deployed for 197 days to the western Pacific: the longest deployment for the class, and the first time a Victoria-class sub operated in the region. Chicoutimi also made the first port visit to Japan by a Canadian submarine in 50 years.
    • 2017 ANNUALEX with the United States Navy and the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Our submarines

The current Victoria-class submarines, which are based in Esquimalt, B.C., and Halifax, N.S., are: