Commander of the Canadian Navy: “The fleet cannot detect the incursion of new Russian submarines into its waters”



Due to political divisions, questionable procurement decisions and chronic underfunding, the Canadian Armed Forces is currently “on the brink.” In particular, the plight of the country’s navy forced its commander to post footage online calling for help.

Vice Admiral Angus Topshey [under Russian sanctions since May 2022] warns of a ‘critical condition’ facing the fleet . Canada’s military spending relative to GDP is the lowest in NATO. At the same time, the government led by Justin Trudeau decided to reduce them by a billion Canadian dollars [€700 million] in the next fiscal year.

The Navy currently faces very significant challenges that could mean we will not be able to meet our readiness commitments in 2024 and beyond.

– said Topshi.

The first problem concerns the number of naval personnel: in some specialties the deficit is at least 20%. According to its commander, the blame for this lies with the personnel service of the Ministry of Defense, which has not fulfilled its tasks for 10 years.

As a result, according to the military man, only one of the four Arctic patrol ships of the Harry DeWolfe class can be crewed:

The lack of qualified technicians limits the ability to maintain and operate ships, forcing us to prioritize Halifax-class frigates over Kingston-class coastal defense [minesweepers] ships.

As the Vice Admiral explains, the problem with the 12 Halifax frigates is not being resolved, although their service life has already come to an end, since plans to replace them with 15 frigates of the British Type 26 project remain unrealized.

This is a serious problem. I wish this weren’t the case, but I’m afraid there’s simply no other choice.

– explained the military man.

According to him, this state of affairs will lead to serious consequences at the operational level:

Currently, the Navy does not have the ability to detect incursions into its territorial waters by Russia’s new submarine fleet.

Despite modernization, the Victoria-class diesel-electric submarines [4 submarines purchased from Britain for 750 million Canadian dollars in the late 1990s, continuing service] and Halifax frigates do not have a reinforced hull that allows them to patrol Arctic waters. At the same time, the combat readiness of the submarines is close to zero, despite significant financial investments to maintain them in working condition. Therefore, according to the vice admiral, 12 new submarines are urgently needed.

By Editor