Counter-Drug help from Canada?

HMCS Ssaskatoon, Mar. 2007, Photo by Rayzlens

HMCS Saskatoon near Esquimalt, British Columbia and A CH-149 Cormorant helicopter that is practicing personnel transfers. Date March 2007 Photo by Rayzlens

The Canadians have been helping with Drug Interdiction Operations. They call it Operation Caribbe, but if I read between the lines correctly, their participation may be increasing.

Some changes are expected in the composition Canadian Navy, and in the way they operate. For the next few years, their fleet is going to be reduced by two supply vessels and two destroyers and their crew members are to be diverted to the twelve Kingston Class “Coastal Defense Vessels” that are normally manned only by reservists, and to more intense boarding training.

This should allow the Kingston class to be underway more, and I would expect they will want to work with Coast Guard LEDETs. They are already being employed in counter-drug ops. In March four were deployed for this purpose. Being relatively slow and having no helicopter deck, they may not be ideal for counter-drug operations, but they have proven useful.

These little ships are similar in size to 210s, shorter but beamier, and 30 years younger.

Displacement: 970 t (970.0 t)
Length: 55.3 m (181.43 ft)
Beam: 11.3 m (37.07 ft)
Draught: 3.4 m (11.15 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Jeumont DC electric motors
4 × 600 VAC Wärtsilä SACM V12 diesel alternators
2 × Z drive azimuth thrusters
Speed: 15 kn (27.78 km/h)
Range: 5,000 nmi (9,260.00 km)
Complement: 31 to 47

The Canadian Navy’s intent,

The Kingston-class ships are staffed entirely by the naval reserve. Under the new plan, the ships will be staffed 60 per cent by reserves and 40 per cent by the regular forces. That still doesn’t account for everyone, and the navy says sailors on land will focus on more advanced boarding-party and anti-terrorism training.

Hopefully the Coast Guard may be seeing even more of these little ships.


Canadian Coast Guard’s New Shipboard Helicopter

Bell B429

Defense Industry Daily is reporting the Canadians have selected the Bell B429 as their new shipboard Coast Guard helicopter

“The request for proposals closes on May 27, but rivals AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters Canada and Sikorsky have all signalled they won’t be submitting bids, leaving Bell and its model 412 chopper (actually the B429–Chuck) as the only contender…. The companies declining to take part are doing so because their aircraft are heavier than the maximum of 4,989 kilograms (11,000 pounds), a safety limit established for the decks of coast guard ships in the 1970s.

Industry sources said at least one potential bidder expressed concern that the standard was outdated and asked the federal government for data on how the weight restriction was calculated. The intention was to prove the decks could handle higher ratings, but officials just came back and said the standard was the standard.”

The Bell B429 is a twin engine helicopter with the capability of allowing single pilot flight in IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions, designed for the medivac market. It is about 2000 pounds lighter than the MH-65 but is otherwise similar in performance. There are a number of door options including clamshell doors in the rear and an option for retractable wheeled landing gear.

Progress on Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship

Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship

MarineLog is reporting a new contract has been awarded for Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS).

FEBRUARY 21, 2014 — OSI Maritime Systems Ltd. (OSI), Burnaby, BC, has been selected by Lockheed Martin Canada to support the design activity of the bridge and navigation capabilities for the Royal Canadian Navy’s (RCN) new class of Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).

But mostly I wanted to share the illustration. To review, this is a Canadian Navy project, not Coast Guard. It is based on the Norwegian Coat Guard’s Swalbard icebreaker but the design is smaller and simplified somewhat. They plan to build “six to eight” and they will be used both in the Arctic and for more conventional patrol duties.

What we see is a relatively large OPV/light icebreaker, with what appears to be excellent facilities for boats and a single helicopter up fairly large size with facilities to handle at least a small number of containers. Compared to the USCG’s Offshore Patrol Cutters they will probably be about twice the size, oriented much more toward the Arctic, their capability as a conventional patrol vessel is likely to be compromised by low max speed, the icebreaker hull shape, and an almost total lack of weapons.

Santa Claus is Canadian?

gCaptain is reporting that Canada is laying claim to the North Pole as part of their Continental shelf. But so are Denmark and Russia.

The US can’t make claims to an extended continental shelf beyond their EEZ because they have not yet ratified the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Good news is looks like all parties are willing to take it to court rather than fight over it.

Law of the Sea–Why not?

Ratification of the Law of the Sea Treaty always seemed like a good thing. Both the Commandant and the CNO support it.

I can’t claim to have a full understanding of the treaty, but I have begun to get inklings of why others have reservations about it. As in all things legal, it is subject to interpretation, and the interpretation of others do not necessarily match our own.

In the interest of having a balance view, you might want to spend a few minutes reading what Peter Brookes, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, has to say about why its not a good idea.

The right of innocent passage seems to be one of the things that is subject to interpretation, and it is not just China and developing countries that see things differently. So do the Canadians. (More here, here, and here.)