Kingston-class coastal defence vessel

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HMCS Brandon.jpg
HMCS Brandon (MM 710)
Class overview
Name: Kingston class
Builders: Halifax Shipyards Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia
Operators:  Royal Canadian Navy
Preceded by: Anticosti class
Built: 1994- 1998
In commission: 21 September 1996–present
Completed: 12
Active: 12
General characteristics
Type: Coastal defence vessel
Displacement: 970 t (950 long tons; 1,070 short tons)
Length: 55.3 m (181 ft 5 in)
Beam: 11.3 m (37 ft 1 in)
Draught: 3.4 m (11 ft 2 in)
  • 2 × Jeumont DC electric motors
  • 4 × 600 VAC Wärtsilä SACM V12 diesel alternators
  • 2 × Z drive azimuth thrusters
Speed: 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,300 km; 5,800 mi)
Complement: 31 to 47
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Kelvin Hughes navigation radar (I-band)
  • Kelvin Hughes 6000 surface search radar (E-F band)
  • Global Positioning System
  • Towed high-frequency sidescan sonar
  • Remote-control Mine Hunting System (RMHS)
  • Magnetic degaussing system

The Kingston class consists of 12 coastal defence vessels operated by the Royal Canadian Navy. The class is the name for the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel Project (MCDV). These multi-role vessels were built and launched from the mid- to late-1990s and are crewed by a combination of Naval Reserve and Regular-Force personnel.

Their main missions are counter narcotics, coastal surveillance, sovereignty patrol, route survey, and training. They were designed with a minesweeping role in mind and are consequently classified as mechanical minesweepers (MM); however, this role has diminished as a result of the evolving nature of mine warfare. The possibility of acquiring the gear necessary to undertake a more appropriate mine-hunting role continues[when?] to be examined.[by whom?]


The Kingston-class patrol vessels were conceived to advance the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) equipment and construction techniques in a ship designed to military specifications.

While the Z-drive thrusters make the Kingston-class vessels extremely manoeuvrable (able to turn within their own ship length) and the engines are quite powerful[clarification needed] and fuel-efficient, the hull shape, with a blunt stern and "hard" chine designed for minesweeping, prevents the ship from achieving a "sprint" speed and the patrol vessels of other nations[example needed] are considerably faster. However, the Kingstons' top speed is faster than that of most mine warfare vessels[example needed] and is comparable to some[example needed] small civilian seagoing vessels.

The hull is a longitudinally framed structure and was designed to minimize steel weight. The construction involved initial production of partially outfitted steel modules which were made into sub-assemblies and then integrated into the ship. The decks were assembled upside down with pre-outfitting of the underside of the deck prior to installation on the ship. In contrast to many modern mine warfare vessels, which often have hulls made of non-magnetic glass-reinforced plastic or similar material, the Kingston class have conventional steel hulls. The vessels are no longer equipped with a magnetic degaussing system that allows the ship's magnetic signature to be manipulated in three dimensions to minimize vulnerability to magnetic mines.[citation needed]

Modular payload[edit]

Kingston-class vessels are designed to carry up to three 20-foot (6.1 m) ISO containers with power hookups on the open deck aft in order to embark mission-specific payloads.[1] As of 2009, the available modules included:[1]

  • 2 × Indal Technologies AN/SLQ 38 deep mechanical minesweeping systems
  • 4 × MDA Ltd. AN/SQS 511 heavy-weight high-definition route survey systems
  • 1 × ISE Ltd. Trailblazer 25 bottom object inspection vehicle
  • 1 × ISE Ltd. HYSUB 50 deep seabed intervention system
  • 2 × Fullerton and Sherwood Ltd. 6-man, 2-compartment containerized diving systems
  • 6 × naval engineered 6-person accommodation modules
  • 1 × MDA Ltd. Interim Remote Minehunting and Disposal System


The ships were built with a Bofors 40 mm Model 60 Mk 5C rapid fire gun, and two 12.7 mm (.50 cal) machine guns. [2][3] The Bofors gun was mounted on the forecastle deck and the arc of fire extends forwards by ±120°, until their removal in 2014.[4] The machine guns are mounted on either side at the front of the bridge deck. In a depressed position each machine gun fires in a 118° arc.

The Bofors 40 mm Model 60 Mk 5C rapid fire gun fitted to the forecastle deck of HMCS Nanaimo. One of the two 12.7 mm (.50 cal) machine guns can be seen in the background.

The main armament was originally a Second World War Bofors design that is manually loaded and lacks modern targeting capability.[5] The 40 mm gun was declared obsolete in 2014 and removed from the vessels. Some of them ended up as museum pieces and on display at naval reserve installations across Canada.[6]

In October 2006, Maritime Command experimented with mounting a remote controlled heavy machine gun station, the OTO Melara 12.7 mm RCHMG, in place of the 40 mm Bofors cannon aboard HMCS Summerside.[7][8][9]

In 2018 the Royal Canadian Navy acquired the UAV AeroVironment Puma II AE with Mantis i45 Sensor for use on Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels.


The navigation equipment includes a Sperry Marine Bridge Master E I-band navigation radar and a Global Positioning System. The surface search radar is the E to F-band Sperry Marine Bridge Master E. A towed high-frequency sidescan sonar can be fitted for bottom mapping and route surveys.


One of four Wärtsilä V12 diesel engines aboard HMCS Yellowknife

The ship is equipped with four main Wärtsilä UD 23V12 diesel engines which are coupled to four alternators (600 V AC). Two Jeumont electric motors (±740 V DC) provide power to the two LIPS Z-drive azimuth thrusters which are fitted with fixed-pitch reversing propellers. The propulsion system provides 15 knots (28 km/h) maximum continuous speed. The range at the economical cruising speed of 9 knots (17 km/h) using two engines is 5,000 nautical miles (9,000 km) with a 20% margin in tank capacity. Mechanical minesweeping is carried out at 8 knots (15 km/h). The crash stop length is five ship lengths from a speed of 15 knots (28 km/h).

Deployment and operations[edit]

The ships are evenly distributed between the east and west coasts.[1]

One vessel on each coast is maintained for rapid deployment: this responsibility is rotated amongst the ships.[1]

Future of the class[edit]

The Royal Canadian Navy is discarding a $100-million mid-life refit plan for the twelve vessels in this class.[10] Instead, MCDVs will be replaced by new vessels to enter service in 2020. It had been intended to retain the "mid-lifed" vessels through 2045–2055; however, the RCN has concluded that the money would be better spent in acquiring a new platform. The RCN review listed low speed and small size as reasons for the MCDV being inadequate for patrol duties (both are factors of the original specification). Notwithstanding the success of the ships in their deployment, critics suggest that patrol and training were tacked onto the mine-countermeasures role and that the platform lacks serious armament for a sovereignty enforcement role.[10]

On 13 May 2010, it was announced that six of the twelve MCDVs would be placed in extended readiness due to lack of funds and the inability of the naval reserve to provide sufficient personnel to man the ships.[11] On May 14 however that order was rescinded.[12]

In October 2011, L-3 MAPPS was awarded a contract to supply degaussing systems for the Kingston-class ships. The advanced degaussing systems were to be delivered and supported locally in collaboration with SAM Electronics.[13]

In November 2012 MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates was awarded a two-year $13.4 million contract to repair and upgrade the deployable sonar systems.[14]

Ships in class[edit]

There are twelve Kingston-class ships in Canadian service:

Name Pennant number Image Builder Laid down Launched Commissioned Homeport Status
Kingston MM 700 NCSM KINGSTON (MM 700) 1.jpg Halifax Shipyards Ltd., Halifax, Nova Scotia 12 December 1994 12 August 1995 21 September 1996 CFB Halifax Active
Glace Bay MM 701 HMCS Glace Bay (MM 701).jpg 28 April 1995 22 January 1996 26 October 1996 CFB Halifax Active
Nanaimo MM 702 Nanaimo Canada Day 09.jpg 11 August 1995 17 May 1996 10 May 1997 CFB Esquimalt Active
Edmonton MM 703 HMCS Edmonton.jpg 8 December 1995 31 October 1996 21 June 1997 CFB Esquimalt Active
Shawinigan MM 704 (MM 704)NCSM Shawinigan.jpg 26 April 1996 15 November 1996 14 June 1997 CFB Halifax Active
Whitehorse MM 705 HMCS WHITEHORSE.JPG 26 July 1996 24 February 1997 17 April 1998 CFB Esquimalt Active
Yellowknife MM 706 HMCS Yellowknife 2.jpg 7 November 1996 5 June 1997 18 April 1998 CFB Esquimalt Active
Goose Bay MM 707 HMCS Goose Bay moored at the future site of the Nanisivik Naval Facility, during Operation Nanook, 2010-08-20.jpg 22 February 1997 4 September 1997 26 July 1998 CFB Halifax Active
Moncton MM 708 HMCS Moncton - IFR 2010.jpg 31 May 1997 5 December 1997 12 July 1998 CFB Halifax Active
Saskatoon MM 709 5 September 1997 30 March 1998 5 December 1998 CFB Esquimalt Active
Brandon MM 710 HMCS Brandon.jpg 6 December 1997 10 July 1998 5 June 1999 CFB Esquimalt Active
Summerside MM 711 HMCS Summerside.jpg 28 March 1998 26 September 1998 18 July 1999 CFB Halifax Active

See also[edit]

Other similar class coastal defence vessels:

Other Royal Canadian Navy vessels:


  1. ^ a b c d Saunders, Stephen (ed.) (2008). Jane's Fighting Ships 2008–2009. Jane's Fighting Ships (111th ed.). Surrey: Jane's Information Group. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-7106-2845-9. OCLC 225431774.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Stephen Priestley. "The Kingston Class: Mid-Life or Move Over for the MCDV?". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on August 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  3. ^ Stephen Priestley (June 2006). "The Kingston Class: 'Mid-Life' or Move Over for the MCDV?". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2012-01-09. Among MCDV inadequacies, armament is listed as the major limitation for sovereignty patrol duties. Kingston Class are armed with twin 12.7 mm M2HB machine guns on either side of the bridge but the main armament is a 40 mm L/60 Bofors. This gun is a museum piece dating back to 1944. Even as training weapons, the Bofors is of dubious value – they were just on hand and lowered costs.
  4. ^ Nicolas le May (2017-05-16). "La Marine évalue un nouveau système d'armement pour ses navires de défense côtière" [Navy assesses new weapons system for its coastal defense vessels]. 45eNord (in French). Retrieved 2018-11-20. L’enlèvement des Bofors 40 mm Modèle 60 Mk 5C a donc été approuvé le 31 juillet 2014 et les systèmes ont été enlevés depuis. Les 12 navires de la classe Kingston restent toutefois équipés de deux mitrailleuses lourdes .50cal, a confirmé à, le capitaine Rick Donnelly, de la Marine royale canadienne.
  5. ^ Stephen Priestley. "The Kingston Class: 'Mid-Life' or Move Over for the MCDV? Reviewing Navy Plans for the Future of the MCDVs [Part 2]". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  6. ^ Mallett, Peter (17 October 2018). "Big guns find new life". CFB Esquimalt Lookout. Retrieved 31 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Background — CF Remote Control Heavy Machine Gun Project". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on May 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  8. ^ Sublieutenant Ryan Bell (November 27, 2006). "Summerside trials weapons system" (PDF). Trident News. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  9. ^ Ryan Bell (March 2007). "HMCS SUMMERSIDE Trials: Fleet Weapon System" (PDF). 16 (1). the Naval Reserve link. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-13. Retrieved 2009-08-28.
  10. ^ a b Stephen Priestley. "The Kingston Class: 'Mid-Life' or Move Over for the MCDV? Reviewing Navy Plans for the Future of the MCDVs [Part 1]". Canadian American Strategic Review. Archived from the original on August 7, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Order to cut navy's coastal vessels rescinded". CBC News. 14 May 2010.
  13. ^ "Royal Canadian Navy KINGSTON-Class Vessels to be Equipped with L-3 MAPPS Degaussing Systems". 7 October 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2014.
  14. ^ "Sonar On The Royal Canadian Navy's MCDV's To Be Upgraded". Ottawa Citizen. 2 November 2012. Archived from the original on 16 March 2014. Retrieved 15 March 2014.

External links[edit]