Single Class Surface Combatant Project

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Class overview
Operators:  Royal Canadian Navy
Preceded by:
Built: 2020 - 2030s
Planned: up to 15
General characteristics
Aircraft carried: 1 x CH-148 Cyclone helicopter
Notes: up to 15 vessels to be constructed by Irving Shipbuilding under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

The Single Class Surface Combatant Project, or Canadian Surface Combatant project, is the name given by naval observers for the Royal Canadian Navy procurement project that will replace the Iroquois class and Halifax class warships with up to 15 new ships in beginning in about the mid-2020s as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.[1]

The replacement vessels will be somewhat larger than the existing Halifax class, and presumably provide a wide-area air defence capability, anti-submarine warfare capability, as well as anti-shipping capability. The design of these ships is currently underway and both the total number of ships and their capability will be dependent on the budget that is allocated to the project. The new Liberal government, elected in October 2015, is undertaking a defence policy review which will include addressing these issues. Some analysts believe the Single Class Surface Combatant may "closely resemble" the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class of frigate.[2] The ships might also be based on the FREMM multipurpose frigate design, with Canadian modifications.[3] However, the final design and configuration of the vessels will be determined through the defence policy review.


The Halifax-class frigates, often called the "City" class, are named after Canadian cities. There was a suggestion in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the replacement for the Iroquois-class destroyers would be named after Canadian provinces and would be significantly larger and more capable than a frigate (the "Province" class), although this was never confirmed.

It is known that the Canadian Forces are seeking to build a single new class of frigates or destroyers to replace both the Iroquois-class destroyers and Halifax-class frigates under what the Royal Canadian Navy has called the Single Class Surface Combatant Project (SCSCP).

Originally the Flight II Halifax-class ships, starting with HMCS Montréal, were to have been stretched about 9.8 metres (32 ft). It was speculated[by whom?] that the added space between the forward-mounted gun and bridgework were to have housed a small Mark 41 Vertical Launching System with RIM-161 Standard Missile 3s during the Frigate Life Extension Project (FELEX) mid-life upgrade program.[4] Budget cuts during delivery meant that the Batch 2 ships were instead delivered identical to the earlier examples, which means there is no room for any significant upgrade during FELEX.

The navy had investigated adopting the Active Phased Array Radar, leading observers to suggest that APAR and the associated SMART-L would equip the Single Class Surface Combatant or upgraded Halifax-class ships during the FELEX project. Upgrades to the existing Halifax class with such a system would likely be difficult since the APAR requires its own mast and might make the Halifax-class design top-heavy.[5][6]

The Department of National Defence (DND) has not identified a procurement timeframe for the replacement of the Iroquois class; however, it has been reported[by whom?] that design work is underway and a project office and personnel have been assigned. The Iroquois class was originally scheduled for retirement around 2010 after 40 years in service;[7] the ships were then expected to have their service lives extended until replacements were commissioned. However three vessels have now been decommissioned due to maintenance costs; the last remaining destroyer is experiencing engine and maintenance issues as of 2015.[8] This will leave the RCN with a significant air warfare capability gap until the replacement vessels are delivered. On 26 October 2012 a letter of interest was published by Public Works and Government Services Canada to announce a session in which interested firms could find out the needs of DND for the new class and the project in general. The closing date was 5 November 2012.[9]

The ships are scheduled to be built starting sometime in around 2020, as the preceding Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship project winds down.

On 20 January 2015, it was announced that Irving Shipbuilding had been named the prime contractor for the program.[10] The total cost of the program including the single class surface warships is $26 billion CAD.[11] The role of the lead contractor gives Irving Shipbuilding overall control of the project, and the company had already won the right to build the vessels at its yard in Halifax. This led to questions concerning the bidding process and the awarding of the contracts.[12] In the fall of 2015, it was reported that there were high increases in costs, more than doubling to $30 billion from $14 billion for the new warships.[13] The total cost of the naval ship building program rose from $26.2 billion to $42 in this new study.[13] This put in jeopardy the number of ships that could be produced and raised the prospect of ships with reduced capabilities.[13]


  1. ^ "New ships for navy, coast guard - National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy to cost $38.6 billion". CBC News. 13 November 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Paul Pryce (13 November 2013). "The Future of Canada's Navy". RealClearDefense. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Cabirol, Michel (31 May 2012). "DCNS propose la frégate Fremm et le Mistral au Canada". La Tribune (in French). Retrieved 16 September 2015. 
  4. ^ McClearn, Sandy. "Future Surface Combatant". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  5. ^ FELEX, The Frigate Life Extension Programme Archived October 6, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Backgrounder - Halifax-class Modernization (HCM) / Frigate Life Extension (FELEX)". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Canadian Navy". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Pugliese, David (19 July 2015). "Canadian navy's East Coast flagship sidelined by engine problems". Defence Watch (Ottawa Citizen). Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  9. ^ "Future Destroyer - Canadian Surface Combatant". Canadian American Strategic Review. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  10. ^ Cudmore, James (20 January 2015). "Irving named prime contractor for Canadian surface combatant warships". CBC News. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Irving leads next generation warship project". Cape Breton Post. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  12. ^ Ivison, John (21 January 2015). "John Ivison: $26B shock — Canada’s largest ever defence procurement handed off in sole-source contract". National Post. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  13. ^ a b c James Cudmore (December 1, 2015). "Cost to build navy's new warships more than doubles to $30B". CBC News. 

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