DEPLETING FRIENDLY NAVIES

The Royal Navy is without carriers and fixed wing aircraft and its other units are reducing in size.

The Australians, New Zealanders and the South African's are struggling in all departments, cash, personnel and materiel {meaning provision of ships, submarines, aircraft, weapons, ammunition etc} as opposed to material {meaning recruiting, training, provisions, fuel etc}.

The now demoted USA Economy from AAA to AA is having a rethink on Defence spending.

All European countries within the Euro Zone are pulling back from high profile Defence Audits [if they ever had one ?].

And now we hear that a country with the longest sea coastline on the planet has absolutely no submarines in commission.

Meantime, POTENTIAL ENEMIES are gathering speed !!!!!!!

READ ON

All Canadian submarines now out of commission

By David Pugliese, Postmedia {Ottawa Citizen Newspaper} News September 4, 2011

 

 

The Canadian submarine HMCS Corner Brook  enters St John's Bay Newfoundland.

The navy’s last operational submarine is now sidelined until 2016, leaving the service without an underwater capability and potentially throwing into question the future of the submarine fleet.

The submarine program, which has already cost around $900 million, has been plagued with various maintenance issues that have prevented the boats from being available for operations on a regular basis.

A media report in July noted that one of the subs, HMCS Windsor, arrived in Canada in the fall of 2001 but since then it has operated at sea for just 332 days.

HMCS Corner Brook, damaged when it hit the ocean floor during a training accident in June on the West Coast, is now dockside. It will be repaired and overhauled during a planned maintenance period now underway.

But it is not scheduled to return to sea until 2016, the navy confirmed in an email to the Ottawa Citizen.

HMCS Chicoutimi, damaged by a fire in 2004 that killed one officer, still remains sidelined. That leaves HMCS Windsor and HMCS Victoria, which are also not available for duty at sea.

“The navy is focused on HMCS Victoria and HMCS Windsor and returning both to sea in early 2012,” stated navy spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Brian Owens in an email. “Trials are already underway with Victoria in anticipation to her returning to sea.”

He noted that plans call for Victoria to do a test dive in the Esquimalt harbour on Vancouver Island sometime this month as part of a plan “to verify the submarine’s watertight integrity, and the functionality of other key systems.”

But defence analyst Martin Shadwick said the latest news on the four submarines is yet another blow to the program.

“All the arguments the navy made for having submarines 10 or 15 years ago are still fundamentally valid, but they haven’t been actually able to provide the politicians with specific concrete examples because the subs are not available all that much,” explained Shadwick, a York University professor. “That makes the subs a lot more vulnerable to budget cutters in the department and outside of it.”

He said the future survival of the submarine force could be put in jeopardy if the problems continue.

Canada purchased the subs second-hand from Britain and took delivery of the boats between 2000 and 2004. The navy said it did a thorough examination of the vessels to ensure they meet Canadian needs, but problems with the Victoria-class subs started materializing almost immediately.

High-pressure welds had to be replaced and cracks were found in some of the valves on the four subs. Steel piping also needed to be replaced as the submarines were put into storage in Britain with water in their fuel tanks. HMCS Victoria also underwent repairs after a dent was discovered in her hull.

In addition, there have been delays in installing Canadian equipment, such as the weapons fire control and communications gear. The subs are still not capable of firing Canadian torpedoes.

“The introduction of the Victoria Class has been fraught with many issues and faced a number of setbacks,” a May 2009 briefing note produced by the navy acknowledged. The Ottawa Citizen obtained that document through the access to Information law.

In July, media reports citing other navy documents noted the subs are also restricted in the depth they can dive because of rust problems.

In June, two sailors were injured when Corner Brook hit bottom near Nootka Sound, off the west coast of Vancouver Island. The boat was conducting submerged manoeuvres during advanced submarine officer training.

Owens said navy divers did an initial “in-water” damage assessment of Corner Brook. They found there was damage to the fibreglass bow dome, which Owens noted could mean that there may be damage to the sonar equipment it contains. There was also minor leakage in a forward ballast tank.

“The exact scope of the damage, and subsequent repair estimate, can only be derived after a more thorough assessment with the submarine docked and the development of complete repair specifications,” he added.

The cost of repairs is not known at this time.

HMCS Corner Brook is alongside the dock at Esquimalt and is being used as a training platform for submariners.

It is now undergoing an already scheduled maintenance regime in which minimal work is done, such as replacing certain components and doing an engineering survey of what needs to be done during a much more elaborate overhaul called the Extended Docking Work Period or EDWP.

The submarine will not go to sea again until after the EDWP.

Owens said Corner Brook’s EDWP is scheduled to be complete in 2015-16, making the vessel available for testing, trials and personnel training in 2016.