Newly appointed Defence Minister Jason Kenney got to experience first-hand the inside of a submarine when he toured Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Chicoutimi late last week.
The Pacific Fleet visit was Minister Kenney’s first official meeting with the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) since his appointment.
“It was truly remarkable to see the hard work and progress made by the RCN in this period of modernization and fleet renewal. The government of Canada remains committed to providing maritime security both at home and abroad and I am very pleased to see the fruition of the Halifax-class modernization project, which will ensure our frigates remain effective,” said Minister of National Defence, Jason Kenney.
The HMCS Chicoutimi is one of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Victoria-class submarines.
A milestone for the RCN the Victoria-class submarine fleet is now operationally ready, with three out of four submarines available. HMCS Windsor, Victoria, and Chicoutimi were all at sea in December 2014 and spent a cumulative total of approximately 260 days at sea last year.
Kenney also met naval personnel and toured the frigate HMCS Calgary.
“While having the best equipment available is important, even more important are the men and women of the RCN who, through their dedication and professionalism, exemplify the best qualities of our Canadian Armed Forces,” said Minister Kenney.
The ship was recently modernized as part of the Halifax-class modernization frigate (HCM/FELEX) life extension program.
The HCM/FELEX is a $4.3 billion program to upgrade and enhance the RCN’s existing fleet of frigates. The program has remained on budget and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.
Included in the frigate modernization budget are new combat management systems, radar capabilities, electronic warfare systems, upgraded communications and missiles, as well as a new integrated platform management systems.
The government of Canada is delivering equipment to the RCN by investing $36.6 billion on the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy for the recapitalization of the federal surface fleet during the coming decades.
These improvements mean the Navy is in the midst of the most intensive and comprehensive period of fleet modernization and renewal in its peacetime history.
This period of transition includes the modernization of its 12 Halifax-class frigates and the procurement of three new classes of ships, including the Joint Support Ships, Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships, Canadian Surface Combatants, as well as the integration of a new maritime helicopter into fleet service.
Members of the RCN intend to maintain its operational readiness throughout the entire renewal process.