Canada set to launch replica of 2015 Australian competition to build 12 conventional submarines

Contrary to the vast majority of the European member countries of NATO, Canada, a founding member of the Alliance, has not, for the time being, presented a firm budgetary trajectory to achieve a defense effort of 2% of its GDP.

However, and despite a starving defense effort of only 1,35% of GDP and a budget of $23 billion (us) in 2023, the country has undertaken, in recent years, several major programs to modernize its armed forces, including the acquisition of 88 F-35A combat aircraft to replace the 76 CF-18s still in service, but also 15 British F-26 frigates to replace the 12 Halifax-class frigates that entered service between 1988 and 1995.

More recently, Ottawa announced its intention to replace its fleet of 15 maritime patrol CP-140M Auroras, derived from the Lockheed P-3 Orion, by the new American Boeing P-8A Poseidon. But in the naval field, the greatest revolution to come for the Royal Canadian Navy will take place in the submarine field.

Indeed, the Royal Canadian Navy implements, today, 4 Victoria-class diesel-electric submarines, developed by Britain to support its new Conqueror class SSNs and replace the Oberons in the mid-80s. Of the 12 submarines planned for the Royal Navy, only four buildings of what was then designated as the Upholder, were built, the Royal Navy having decided in the meantime, like the French Navy or the US Navy, to turn exclusively to nuclear-powered submersibles.

Entered into service between 1990 and 1990, the 4 ships were finally sold in 1998 to the Royal Canadian Navy to replace the Canadian Oberons which had reached their retirement age.

Throughout the post-Cold War period, the very small size of the Canadian submarine fleet was hardly a handicap, especially since Ottawa, like its European counterparts, took full advantage of the potential offered by the famous "benefits of peace", as presented after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the West.

But as tensions rise in the Atlantic and Arctic against Russia, and in the Pacific against China, Canadian authorities have had to revise the format of the fleet upwards, and more particularly of the submarine fleet. Marine.

the Royal Canadian Nagy deploys 4 Upjolder-class conventional submarines

And in fact, according to the canadian press, the country's authorities would now be in consultation to undertake a new program to replace the 4 Victorias with no less than 12 conventional submarines.

To do this, Ottawa is presenting an envelope of 60 billion Canadian dollars, or 40 billion euros. For several commentators, however, the Royal Canadian Navy would have significant room for improvement in this program, a budget of $100 billion, or €60 billion, being often put forward in this regard.

This budget, but also the number of ships targeted, is certainly reminiscent of the previous competition in Australia won by the French Naval Group in 2015, before being unilaterally abandoned by Canberra in 2021 to turn to cooperation with the United States and Britain as part of the newly formed AUKUS alliance, to produce eight attack submarines, this time with nuclear propulsion. But if in appearance, the Canadian competition recalls the Australian, in fact, it will be very different.

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