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

The Single Class Surface Combatant Project, has been superseded by the Canadian Surface Combatant project. It is the name given to the procurement project that will replace the Iroquois and Halifax-class warships with up to 15 new ships beginning in the early 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 Single Class Surface Combatant Project is a naval procurement program for the Royal Canadian Navy created to replace the aging vessels of the Iroquois and Halifax classes. The Iroquois class, an anti-air warfare destroyer and the Halifax class, a multi-role frigate have come to the end or are nearing the end of their service lives and require replacement.[4] The Iroquois class was originally scheduled for retirement around 2010 after 40 years in service;[5] 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.[6] The Halifax class is projected to end their service lives in the 2020s.[7]

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.[8][9]

In the 2008 Canadian National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, it was announced that $26 billion was planned for the construction of the 15 vessels of the Single Class Surface Combatant Project.[10][11] The first ships were slated to become available in 2026. The initial plan called for separate bids for design and integration of systems aboard the vessels. The government later investigated merging those bids.[12]

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.[13] On 20 January 2015, it was announced that Irving Shipbuilding had been named the prime contractor for the program.[14] 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, Nova Scotia. This led to questions concerning the bidding process and the awarding of the contracts.[15] 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.[16] The total cost of the naval ship building program rose from $26.2 billion to $42 billion in this new study.[16] This put in jeopardy the number of ships that could be produced and raised the prospect of ships with reduced capabilities.[16]

On 13 June 2016, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy Foote announced Ottawa will buy and modify an off-the-shelf design for the new warships, instead of designing them from scratch. The Minister said a competitive bid for an existing design will knock about two years off the process and save money.[17]

Construction is slated to begin in the early 2020s and take 20-25 years to complete.[4][18] The first ships to be built will replace the Iroquois-class capabilities in the roles of area air defence and command and control. General-purpose variants will be constructed later in the project.[7]



  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. ^ Pryce, Paul (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. ^ a b "Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC)". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  5. ^ "Canadian Navy". Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Pugliese, David (19 July 2015). "Canadian navy's East Coast flagship sidelined by engine problems". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  7. ^ a b "Canada first: DND's procurement and industrial strategy [CAN2015D1]". 27 May 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  8. ^ FELEX, The Frigate Life Extension Programme Archived October 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Backgrounder - Halifax-class Modernization (HCM) / Frigate Life Extension (FELEX)". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. 21 August 2013. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "Irving leads next generation warship project". Cape Breton Post. The Canadian Press. 21 January 2015. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  11. ^ "Canada's biggest-ever military procurement at 'very high risk,' documents suggest". CTV News. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  12. ^ Pugliese, David (23 February 2016). "Government considers changing course on $26B warship program in hopes vessels will be delivered sooner". National Post. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  13. ^ "Future Destroyer - Canadian Surface Combatant". Canadian American Strategic Review. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  14. ^ Cudmore, James (20 January 2015). "Irving named prime contractor for Canadian surface combatant warships". CBC News. Retrieved 21 January 2015. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ a b c Cudmore, James (1 December 2015). "Cost to build navy's new warships more than doubles to $30B". CBC News. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  17. ^ Tutton, Michael (13 June 2016). "Federal government opts for off-the-shelf design to cut costs of new warships". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 
  18. ^ Walsh, Marieke (13 June 2016). "New plan for warships will likely hit $40 billion price tag: defence analyst". Global News. Retrieved 14 June 2016. 


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