Canada’s Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS)

Ran across an interesting presentation of the design of Canada’s projected Arctic Offshore Patrol ship (pdf). This apparently dates back to 2008, but it is the most detailed presentation I have seen on their concept.

While probably not as capable as the Healey, which is more than twice as large, something similar might be able to fill the Coast Guard’s stated requirement for two additional medium icebreakers.

The design has several interesting features

  • It is designed to IACS Polar Class 5, “Year-round operation in medium first-year ice which may include old ice inclusions” with a double acting hull form.
  • It includes three RHIBs and a landing craft, in addition to two 70 man covered lifeboats.
  • Flight Deck and hanger sized to support a helicopter larger than the H-60 (the CH-148).
  • Propulsion is diesel electric using Azipods. Power is provided by four generators  (Can’t say I’m comfortable with how they achieved redundancy by using a centerline bulkhead to split two main machinery spaces into four).
  • It incorporates provision for carrying five containers, and has a 10 ton crane on the main deck aft.
  • Requires a relatively small crew (45) but includes provision for an additional 40.

Compared to the Wind Class Icebreakers that once made up most to the Coast Guard fleet, they are slightly larger (6,940 tons vs 6,500), much longer (359.5 ft vs 269), narrower (59.7 ft vs 63.5), much more powerful (20,100 HP vs 12,000), and faster (20 knots vs 16.8).

Compared to the Norwegian Coast Guard vessel Svalbard on which it is based it is 50% more powerful.

We can’t be sure at this point, that this is the ship the Canadian’s will build, but it’s probably pretty close.




Russia and Canada in the Arctic

Interesting Article here from Christian Science Monitor updating the Russian (and Canadian) positions on claims in the Arctic, including an expected 380,000 square mile continental shelf claim by the Russians and a statement that they are planning on building six new icebreakers.

This is a bit older, but talks about Canada’s ship building plans including a new icebreaker, CCGS_John_G._Diefenbaker, and up to eight ice strengthened Arctic Patrol Ships.

Photo left: Norwegian Svalbard, basis of the design for Canada’s Arctic Patrol Ships.

Related: Arctic Patrol Cutter State of the Art

“Operating in the Arctic, Resourcing For The 21st Century,” An Interview with RAdm Jeff Garrett, USCG (ret)

I’d like to point out an excellent interview that forcefully makes many of the points the Coast Guard needs to be pushing to have an effective polar capability. It needs wider dissemination. RAdm. Garrett is apparently an excellent spokesman for the Coast Guard.

There are some points in the article that also deserve to be highlighted.

A icebreaker can do more than break ice. It can serve effectively as Coast Guard infrastructure in the Arctic–logistics base, air station, SAR station, MLE, ATON, etc.

USCGC Healy was built with money from the USN budget. (It could, perhaps should, happen again.)

The Canadians are building a mix of high-low ice capability ships, a large icebreaker and ice-strengthened patrol ships. (For a while the Coast Guard also had a high-low mix, Polar class on the high end and Glacier and Wind class as the low end.)

The Polar Star (Credit:
The Polar Star Credit:

Passages North

56 years ago, on 4 September 1954, the icebreakers USCGC Northwind and USS Burton Island completed the first transit of the Northwest passage through McClure Strait.

There has been a lot more activity in the North lately (more here and here), with the promise that if the melting continues, passages from Northern Europe to Asia may be cut by up to half (link includes a nice comparisons of the routes). The Russians expect to make some money on fees for passage and the use of their icebreakers.

There is even talk that it may substantially hurt business at the Suez Canal and allow ships to avoid pirates off Somalia. Looks like that is still a few years off since the season is very limited and only ice strengthened vessels can use the route now.

Still other people are planning ahead. China is building their second polar icebreaker and positioning itself to exploit the Arctic. Maybe a little healthy competition is the wake up call we need.

Canadian Icebreaker/Offshore Patrol Vessel Procurement

The Canadians are currently contemplating new ship procurements that include icebreakers and off shore patrol vessels (OPVs) not unlike the choices facing the USCG. Here is one unofficial view.

Related posts:

Arctic Patrol Vessel

WMEC 270 to OPC

Guns for the Offshore Patrol Cutters

“Design” and Offshore Patrol Cutter Today

Arctic Patrol Vessel

With all the talk of the Arctic opening up, I’d like to pick you brains about the sort of ships we need. How will we balance of numbers and capability?

Do we need a new design? An ice strengthened OPC? Can 225s do the job? A salt water Mackinaw? (Anybody know if the new Mackinaw is restricted to fresh water?)

Do we perhaps need a new type of vessel–maybe an icebreaking helo carrier with hanger space that can alternately be used for containers of different types from scientific or personnel support to mine warfare modules?

Should we reactivate the Glacier as an interim measure?

There is some background here.

What do you think?