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Navy Celebrates Modernization of Halifax-Class Frigates

The successful modernization of the first four Halifax-Class frigates, HMCS Halifax, Fredericton, Calgary, and Winnipeg was announced today by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence.

The Halifax-class modernization/frigate equipment life extension is a $4.3 billion program to upgrade and enhance the existing fleet. The program, part of the $36.6 billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, has remained on budget and is scheduled to be completed by 2018.

“Our Canadian Armed Forces deserve the right equipment to perform the difficult tasks asked of them. Our Government is proud to support the men and women of our Royal Canadian Navy. I am very pleased to see the fruition of the Halifax-class modernization project, which will ensure our frigates remain effective. As the backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy, these Canadian-built Halifax-class vessels are able to deploy anywhere in the world. This is great news for Atlantic Canada and for all of Canada,” said The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.

As the Royal Canadian Navy undergoes its most extensive peacetime modernization in history, the 12 Canadian-built multi-role patrol frigates will continue to form the backbone of the fleet. Commissioned between 1992 and 1996, the Halifax-Class planned mid-life modernization includes a new combat management system, new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system, upgraded communications and missiles as well as a new integrated platform management system.

“This is a complex and collaborative project between the navy and 30 companies. Over 150 small to large engineering changes are being made to the ships. An example of the complexity of the work being done includes 60 kilometres of cable were removed from a frigate and 55 kilometres of cable were replaced. However, the largest engineering change is the to combat management system,” said Mr Jeff Simpson, engineer and project manager.

This period of transition includes the procurement of three new classes of ships, including the Joint Support Ships, the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships and the Canadian Surface Combatants, as well as the integration of new maritime helicopter into fleet service.

“The Modernization of Halifax-Class frigates will serve as a bridge to the future fleet and along with Kingston-Class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels and Victoria-Class submarines, will allow the RCN to continue to deliver on its core mission as directed by the Government of Canada until the arrival of the new Canadian Surface Combatant,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Following recent sea trials, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Fredericton is currently preparing to deploy as the first modernized frigate at high readiness in early 2015.

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Vicki L Morrison

Thanks to her husband's military career Vicki reinvented herself as a writer so she could work from home, while taking care of their three kids. A former MFRC executive director Vicki is a passionate advocate for military families who loves telling their stories.

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