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Canada Navy is looking to buy 12 submarines for $60 billion.

| 2023

According to information published by Ottawa Citizen on April 4, 2023, the Royal Canadian Navy is seeking the purchase of up to 12 new submarines at a cost of $60 billion.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Victoria class submarine HMCS Chicoutimi. (Picture source: Canadian government)

However, defence industry sources warn that the cost could climb to $100 billion, as military equipment procurement programs are often over budget.

The Navy has created the Canadian Patrol Submarine Project (CPSP) to examine all conventional options available, gathering information, and conducting an analysis of potential submarines that meet the Royal Canadian Navy’s requirements.

Canadian defence industry sources point out that the program to build 15 new surface combatants for the Canadian Navy has seen costs climb from $25 billion to more than $80 billion.

However, the procurement of new submarines faces several obstacles. In the past, the Navy has struggled to train enough submariners to crew its current fleet of four boats, let alone 12.

The Victoria-class submarines, which were originally known as the Upholder-class, were purchased second-hand from the Royal Navy and delivered between 2000 and 2004.

The submarines have had limited use since 2017, with HMCS Corner Brook not being to sea over the last five years. From 2017 to April 2023, the Canadian Forces spent $1.9 billion on submarine maintenance, with three boats totaling 529 days at sea. In 2019 and 2020, no submarine operations were conducted by Canada, according to National Defence.

The procurement of a new submarine class will take a minimum of 15 years total from project establishment to first delivery and could exceed 25 years depending on the adopted procurement strategy.

Victoria class submarines

The submarines are diesel-electric submarines built for the Royal Canadian Navy with a displacement of 2,455 tons (2,416 long tons), a length of 70.26 meters (230 feet 6 inches), a beam of 7.2 meters (23 feet 7 inches), and a draught of 7.6 meters (24 feet 11 inches).

They have a diesel-electric propulsion system with one shaft, consisting of two Paxman Valenta 2,035 horsepower (1.517 MW) 1600 RPA SZ diesels and one GEC electric motor with 5 MW of power. The submarines can achieve a speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface and 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) while submerged.

The Victoria class submarines have a range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at a speed of 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) on their diesel engines and up to 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) when snorkeling at periscope depth. Their endurance is 30 days, and they can reach a test depth of over 656.17 feet (200 meters).

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