HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331)

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For other ships with the same name, see HMCS Vancouver.
HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331).jpg
HMCS Vancouver in foreground.
Name: Vancouver
Namesake: Vancouver, British Columbia
Builder: Saint John Shipbuilding Ltd., Saint John
Laid down: 19 May 1988
Launched: 8 July 1989
Commissioned: 23 August 1993
Refit: HCM/FELEX May 2013 - May 2014
Homeport: CFB Esquimalt
Identification: pennant number: 331
Motto: Semper vigilans (ever on guard)
Honours and
Aleutians 1942-43, Atlantic 1944-1945, Arabian Sea [1]
Status: in active service
  • HMCS Vancouver crest.jpg
  • A square-rigged British ship of the line sailing west on the ocean.
General characteristics
Class and type: Halifax-class frigate
  • 3,995 tonnes (light)
  • 4,795 tonnes (operational)
  • 5,032 tonnes (deep load)
Length: 134.2 m (440 ft)
Beam: 16.5 m (54 ft)
Draught: 7.1 m (23 ft)
Speed: 30 knots (56 km/h; 35 mph)
Range: 9,500 nmi (17,600 km; 10,900 mi)
Complement: 225 (including air detachment)
Aircraft carried: 1 × CH-124 Sea King

HMCS Vancouver is a Halifax-class frigate, of the Royal Canadian Navy launched on 8 July 1989, as the second vessel of her class. She is currently based at CFB Esquimalt on the west coast of Canada. She is the third vessel to be named for Vancouver, British Columbia.

Halifax class[edit]

The Halifax-class frigate design of which Vancouver belongs, was ordered by the Canadian Forces in 1977 as a replacement for the aging St. Laurent, Restigouche, Mackenzie and Annapolis classes of destroyer escorts (DDEs), which were all tasked with anti-submarine warfare.[2] In 1983, the federal government approved the budget for the design and construction of the first batch of six new frigates of which Vancouver was a part, out of twelve that were eventually built.[2] To reflect the changing long term strategy of the Navy during the 1980s and 1990s, the Halifax-class frigates was designed as a general purpose warship with particular focus on anti-submarine capabilities.

The design of the Halifax-class frigates reflected many advances in ship construction, such as a move to a prefabricated unit construction method, where the ship, is assembled from prefabricated units in a drydock, instead of the traditional keel-laying.[2] Furthermore, the design of Halifax-class frigate incorporated many new technical improvements. For example, the Halifax class is the first to be equipped with the Integrated Machinery Control System (IMCS), which allows for a very high degree of computer control for the machinery plant.


Vancouver was laid down on 19 May 1988 at Saint John Shipbuilding in New Brunswick, the second ship of her class. She was launched on 8 July 1989. After trials, she was commissioned on 23 August 1993 in her namesake city of Vancouver alongside Canada Place, third ship of the class, as sister ship HMCS Toronto commissioned almost a month before her. After commissioning, she was assigned CFB Esquimalt, British Columbia on Vancouver Island as the first Halifax-class frigate to be based out of CFB Esquimalt.


War on Terror[edit]

Since the 11 September 2001 attack on the World Trade Center, Vancouver and her sisters have been a primary part of Canada's anti-terrorism naval forces in the Middle East. For instance, Vancouver was an integrated part of an American carrier battle group, led by USS John C. Stennis in 2002. Because of the similarities between the Canadian and American navies, terminology and operating procedures and communications equipment, it is relatively easy for Canadian ships of all classes to serve with their American counterparts.

Operation Apollo[edit]

During Operation Apollo, Vancouver was used to intercept suspicious and unknown vessels at sea, and had on occasion boarded vessels to prevent the escape of fugitives and the transit of contraband. After a distinguished but unremarkable tour of duty in the Arabian Sea, her role in Apollo ended. She was replaced by another Halifax-class frigate to serve much the same role. Vancouver has also spent time flying the Canadian flag more locally, including a trip to Oregon in 2003 and a visit to her namesake city of Vancouver to celebrate the tenth anniversary of her being commissioned.

2011 Libyan civil war[edit]

On 10 July 2011, Vancouver left her home port of Esquimalt to join the NATO-led air-sea Operation Unified Protector during the 2011 Libyan civil war. She was delayed by a small fire in her boiler. The fire was detected quickly and dealt with, delaying her departure only by an hour.[3] The overall Canadian Forces contribution to Operation Unified Protector is known as Operation MOBILE. She relieved HMCS Charlottetown, which had been on patrol in the region since the early spring. Operation MOBILE closed on 1 November 2011, Vancouver was transferred to the NATO-led Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR in November 2011.

Operation Active Endeavour[edit]

On 15 November 2011, Vancouver carried on operations under the NATO-led Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. She set course for her home port of CFB Esquimalt on 10 January 2012.

Refit and modernization[edit]

On 6 May 2013 Vancouver was turned over Seaspan Marine Corporation's Victoria Shipyards, to start an 18-month mid-life upgrading and modernization. The FELEX refit is to be completed in May 2014. This refit installed a new electronic package in the ship including a new command and control system, radar suite, new secondary surveillance radar, an internal communications upgrade, an electronic warfare system upgrade and the new Sirius long-range infrared search and track system.[4]

The weapons systems was upgraded. The ship's Bofors 57 mm gun was upgraded to Mk 3 status by BAE Systems and Vancouver was fitted with the Multi Ammunition Softkill System, which uses the ships sensors to fully automate the deployment of countermeasures.[5]

Return to service[edit]

In October 2015, Vancouver, along with Calgary and Chicoutimi, participated in the United States Navy's Task Group Exercise, a naval exercise held off southern California.[6] In April 2016, Vancouver was used as the testbed for the launch of the new Harpoon Block II surface-to-surface missile, increasing the land strike capabilities of the frigate class.[7][8] In June 2016, Calgary, Vancouver, Saskatoon and Yellowknife sailed from Esquimalt to participate in the RIMPAC naval exercise.[9]


The ship's badge depicts a square-rigged, Royal Navy ship of the line sailing west along the ocean. The vessel in the badge is intended to represent HMS Discovery, which, under the command of Captain George Vancouver, mapped much of North America's north-western coast and learned more about the area than had hereto been discovered. Among the geographical locations named after Vancouver is the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. The badge has been maintained through the history of all three Canadian vessels named Vancouver.


Vancouver (foreground) departs Pearl Harbor for Exercise 'Rim of the Pacific' (RIMPAC) in 2006

The modern Vancouver is the third Canadian ship to bear the name. The first HMCS Vancouver was a destroyer, among the earliest ships delivered to the Royal Canadian Navy. Formerly HMS Toreador of the Royal Navy; she was paid off in November 1936. Less than six years later, the second HMCS Vancouver was commissioned for the Second World War. A Flower-class corvette, Vancouver served until the end of the war, when she was paid off in late June 1945. It would be another forty years until the name Vancouver was once again active in the Canadian navy, when the modern Vancouver was planned as part of the Halifax class. Vancouver is one of the most often used names in Canadian naval history, with only HMCS Ottawa having been used more frequently.

Lineage - Vancouver[edit]

First of Name HMCS Vancouver (F6A) Destroyer, "S" Class Ex - HMS Toreador Commissioned 1 March 1928 Paid off 25 November 1936[10]

Second of Name HMCS Vancouver (K225) Corvette, Flower Class. Commissioned 20 March 1942 Paid off 22 June 1945[10]

Third of Name This is the current ship with the name Vancouver


  1. ^ "South-West Asia Theatre Honours". Prime Minister of Canada. Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  3. ^ "HMCS Vancouver ready for Libya". The Windsor Star. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Halifax-class Modernization / Frigate Life Extension". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  5. ^ Pugliese, David (3 April 2009). "More Information on Softkill System for Halifax-Class Frigates". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Pacific Fleet warship departs for joint exercise in California". Victoria Lookout. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 14 October 2015. 
  7. ^ "Canadian Navy’s HMCS Vancouver test-fires surface-to-surface missiles". 12 April 2016. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  8. ^ Wade, Jonathon (11 April 2016). "New Land-Strike Missiles Make Canadian Navy A Nimbler Ally". Huffington Post Canada. Retrieved 17 April 2016. 
  9. ^ Petrescu, Sarah (13 June 2016). "Navy ships leave for exercise off California". Times Colonist. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "Official Lineages, Volume 2: Ships.". National Defence and the Canadian Forces. 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 

External links[edit]