Unlike the vast majority of European NATO member countries, Canada, a founding member of the Alliance, has not, for the moment, presented a firm budgetary trajectory to achieve a defense effort of 2% of its GDP.
However, and despite a paltry defense effort of only 1.35% of GDP and a budget of $23 billion (us) in 2023, the country has undertaken, in recent years, several major programs to modernize its armed forces, including the acquisition of 88 F-35A combat aircraft to replace the 76 CF-18s still in service, but also 15 British F-26 frigates to replace the 12 Halifax-class frigates that entered service between 1988 and 1995 .
More recently, Ottawa announced its intention to replace its fleet of 15 maritime patrol CP-140M Auroras, derived from the Lockheed P-3 Orion, with the new American Boeing P-8A Poseidon . But in the naval domain, the biggest revolution to come for the Royal Canadian Navy will take place in the submarine domain.
Indeed, the Royal Canadian Navy is using, today, 4 diesel-electric submarines of the Victoria class , developed by Great Britain to support its new Conqueror class SNA and replace the Oberon in the mid-s 80. Of the 12 submarines planned for the Royal Navy, only four vessels of what was then designated as the Upholder class were built, the Royal Navy having decided in the meantime, like the French Navy or the US Navy, to turn exclusively to nuclear-powered submersibles.
Entering service between 1990 and 1990, the 4 ships were finally sold in 1998 to the Royal Canadian Navy to replace the Canadian Oberons which had reached their age limit.
Throughout the post-Cold War period, the very small size of the Canadian submarine fleet was hardly a handicap, especially since Ottawa, like its European counterparts, took head-on the potential offered by the famous "benefits of peace", as presented after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the West.
But as tensions rise in the Atlantic and the Arctic against Russia, and in the Pacific against China, the Canadian authorities have been led to revise the format of the fleet upwards, and more particularly of the submarine fleet. Marine.
And in fact, according to the Canadian press , the country's authorities are now in consultation to undertake a new program to replace the 4 Victorias with no less than 12 conventional submarines.
To do this, Ottawa is presenting an envelope of Canadian $60 billion, or €40 billion. For several commentators, however, the Royal Canadian Navy would have significant room for progress in this program, a budget of $100 billion, or €60 billion, often being put forward on this subject.
This budget, but also the number of ships targeted, is certainly reminiscent of the previous competition in Australia won by the French Naval Group in 2015, before being unilaterally abandoned by Canberra in 2021 to turn towards cooperation with the United States and Great Britain as part of the newly formed AUKUS alliance, in order to produce eight attack submarines, this time equipped with nuclear propulsion. But if in appearance, the Canadian competition is reminiscent of the Australian, in reality, it will be very different.
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