Photo: The Canadian Press
HMCS Windsor, one of Canada’s Victoria-class long-range patrol submarines, returned to Halifax Harbor on June 20, 2018. Time is running out for the Canadian military to decide to replace its submarines, as Canada’s closest ally moves forward with plans to build new fleets. The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan
Time is running out for the Canadian military to decide whether or not to replace its submarines, while Canada’s closest allies continue their plans to build new fleets.
The Royal Canadian Navy launched an effort nearly two years ago to replace the country’s four Victoria-class submarines by creating a task force to determine what Canada needs in a new fleet.
This decision responded to growing concerns about the age of existing Canadian submarines and the time required to design and build such vessels.
But the Liberal federal government has yet to formally commit to buying a new fleet, even though the submarines have been at the center of a new military agreement between the US, Britain and Australia.
Military leaders and experts say submarines are essential to Canada’s defense, including in the Arctic, where Russia and China are building their own submarine fleets.
But questions remain about whether this or a future government will spend the money needed to replace the existing fleet, the costs and benefits of which have been hotly debated since Canada bought it from Britain in 1998.