Canada’s Coast Guard Construction Plans

Canada’s Next Generation Combat Vessels

The illustration above comes from the Canadian ship builder Seaspan. Under Canada’s new National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, their Vancouver shipyard will be building all of the Canadian government’s” non-combat vessels, including all their Coast Guard vessels.

There are details here I had not seen previously about their new icebreaker:

  • Length: 150.1 meter
  • Displacement: 23,700 metric tons

Their three new Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels:

Offshore Fisheries Science Vessel (interesting underwater body)

  • Length: 63.4 m
  • Displacement: 3,212 MT

An Offshore Oceanographic Science Vessel:

  • Length: 85.9m
  • Displacement: 4,490 MT

and “…up to five new Medium Endurance Multi–Tasked Vessels and up to five Offshore Patrol Vessels…” I have seen no details on these ships since we first heard about them four years ago. (Anyone seen anything concrete?) Only the cost, $3.3B (Canadian) seems firm. Even the number is simply an upper limit. If there are specifications, they must be keeping them open and close to the vest. This follows the example of the Canadian Navies Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS) where the price seemed to have been set and the numbers given as six to eight.  At least now we have a conceptual view in the illustration at the top. Its not clear if there will really be a difference between the OPVs and the MEMTVs. Obviously they will have a helo deck and probably a hangar. I will guess that these will be designed by either Vard or Damen and will be about 1800 tons full load and 80 to 90 meters in length. Like all Canadian Coast Guard Cutters they have no permanently installed weapons, but should they decide to change policy and arm these, and it has been discussed, it probably would not be to difficult to add a gun of up to 76mm

Thanks to Lee for bringing this to my attention.

Mk38 mod3, Different, but not so Much

USCGC Kathleen Moore (WPC-1109), Don’t expect future WPCs to look much different.

In October 2015 I reported that the Coast Guard would be getting a new gun mount, the Mk38 Mod3, and at that time it appeared that the gun would be substantially different from the Mk38 Mod2 that was being mounted on the Webber Class WPCs.
DefenseMediaNetwork reports the Mk38 Mod3 offers a number of improvements over the Mod2 currently being fitted to the Webber class, including more ready ammunition on the mount (500 rounds vice 165), a coaxial .50 cal. gun (there was already a plan (pdf) to add a coaxial 7.62mm to the Mod2 version), higher elevation (75 degrees vice 40), better weather protection and serviceability, and the ability to simultaneously track up to three targets. There are also improvements to the search function of the ElectroOptic sensor that should make the system more useful in peacetime roles. They also report that BAE and Israeli manufacturer, Rafael, are considering adding the “Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System” APKWSII guided 70mm rocket system to the mount. In fact Israeli versions of this system already support surface to surface and surface to air missiles.
It now appears the only improvements will be in the electro-optics and in fact the gun mount itself will be identical to the Mk38 Mod2.
Slides from a NAVSEA presentation, in fact, list the Mk38 Mod2 gun mount as a component of the Mod3.
A data sheet on the Mk38 Mod3 indicates there is an option to add a coaxial 7.62mm chain gun with up to 750 rounds on the mount, but otherwise the mount is identical to the existing Mod2 installations, e.g., no greater elevation limits, no more ammunition on the mount, as already anticipated, no 30mm gun, and nothing regarding adding APKWSII guided rockets to the mount. There is no indication yet that the Coast Guard intends to add the 7.62mm machinegun to the mount.

“The Mk 38 MGS is a low cost, stabilized self-defense weapon system that dramatically improves ships’ self-defense capabilities in all weather conditions, day or night. Installed aboard 14 different classes of U.S. Navy ships and U.S. Coast Guard cutters, it is used extensively by the U.S. military as well as by NATO forces.

“A major upgrade to the Mod 3 is the system’s advanced electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor which provides 330-degree surveillance capability and three fields of view. The superior optics allow sailors to monitor the seas and respond to threats even in extremely low light conditions with the benefits of a low contrast, low light level color day camera and an eye-safe laser range finder. (emphasis applied–Chuck)

“While the EO/IR sensor system is integrated with the Mod 3’s state-of-the-art fire control system, the Mk 38 Mod 3 is unique from other naval weapons because its surveillance system moves separately from the gun system, preventing adversaries from easily knowing they have been detected.

“The Mk 38 Mod 3 also provides a range of 2.5 kilometers and selectable rates of fire from single to 180 rounds per minute, and fires all U.S. Navy-approved 25mm ammunition. It can be remotely operated from the combat information center or other protected ship structures, allowing operators to remain safe and out of harm’s way.”

I am disappointed that we will not see the additional improvements, but the improvements in the optics that make the system useful as more than a weapon system are certainly welcome.

We still really need a system on our WPBs and WPCs capable of forcibly stopping medium to large merchant ships with an effective range of at least 4000 yards.

Thanks to Luke for bringing this to my attention. 

Western Pacific Coast Guard Forum and CUES for Coast Guards

The US Naval Institute Proceedings has an article advocating the formation of a Western Pacific Coast Guard Forum and CUES (Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea).

While it is certainly desirable to establish norms of behavior, unfortunately many of the incidents of the recent past have not been “unplanned,” they have apparently been orchestrated attempts at intimidation.

New Magazine for M-16/M-4

The GenM3 PMag polymer magazine manufactured by Magpul Industries has been approved for use by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps.

A bit of small arms news that might have an impact on the Coast Guard in a report from Military Times. 

If I understand correctly, this will be the only replacement magazine used by the Marines, while the Air Force use either this or the Army’s “Enhanced Performance Magazine,” or EPM.

Senators have asked the Army why they have not also approved the polymer magazines.

“The Magpul GenM3 PMag was the only magazine to perform to acceptable levels across all combinations of Marine Corps 5.56mm rifles and ammunition during testing. That magazine has, therefore, been approved for use for both training and combat,” Marine Corps Systems Command told Military Times.

The senators’ letter highlights that the rigorous testing by the Marine Corps of Magpul’s GenM3 PMAG witnessed zero stoppages even among a multitude of ammunition types.

“Additionally, reports state they also reduce damage to the chamber face and feed ramps when using M855A1 ammunition. As our national debt approaches $20 billion, ensuring the longevity of these rifles is important,” the letter reads.

Anyone aware if the Coast Guard has taken a position on these new magazines?