Construction begins on Canada’s River-class destroyers

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has started the construction activities for its new fleet of Canadian surface combatants (CSC), River-class destroyers.

Canadian Navy

According to the RCN, CSC project is the largest and most complex shipbuilding initiative in Canada since the Second World War and represents a historic investment into the recapitalization of the RCN’s surface fleet.

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This project will equip the RCN with new warships to bolster Canada’s naval capabilities at home, and abroad, for decades to come. Furthermore, the River-class will be Canada’s major component of maritime combat power, the RCN noted.

The first three ships will be named His Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Fraser, Saint-Laurent, and Mackenzie.

The CSC is based on BAE Systems’ Type 26 warship design being built by the United Kingdom and Australia. The ships will have enhanced underwater sensors, radar, and modern weapons.

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The official NATO Ship Designator for the River-class warship will be DDGH – a destroyer (DD), guided (G) missile, helicopter (H) capable. As the RCN’s next-generation combat ship, it replaces both the Iroquois-class destroyers and the Halifax-class frigates.

“The River-class destroyers will provide the Canadian Armed Forces with the tools that they need to defend our national interests for decades to come – and ensure that Canada can deploy a state-of-the-art, combat-ready fleet of warships to defend our country and support our allies,” Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence stated.

“The start of construction activities marks a significant milestone in the efforts to re-build Canada’s shipbuilding industry, bringing highly skilled jobs and economic benefits to Canadians during construction and throughout the operational life of the class. These modern ships will be critical to ensuring the ongoing ability of the members of the Royal Canadian Navy to continue their important work protecting Canadians,” Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.

The CSC project is currently budgeted at between $56-60 billion (before taxes), and includes the cost for 15 new warships, as well as all the components required to design, build, and bring these ships into service (design work, infrastructure, ammunition, technical data, initial training, project management, and contingency costs).