Submarine, maritime patrol: can Canada become a privileged partner for France?

While Canada has just launched 2 major programs in the field of submarines and maritime patrol, obvious possibilities of cooperation with France are emerging.

Despite their cultural proximity, France and Canada have rarely collaborated in the field of armaments. Traditionally, Ottawa tended to turn to its American neighbour, but also to Great Britain for its equipment programs, whereas in terms of international cooperation, Paris has for several decades favored its direct neighbors such as Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium or the United Kingdom.

This is how the Canadian Air Force once again turned to an American aircraft, in this case the F-35A, to replace another US aircraft, the CF-18 Hornet, as part of the modernization of its fighter fleet, and to the British Type 26 to replace its Halifax-class frigates.

However, two major programs recently announced by Ottawa could constitute a very promising framework for collaboration with Paris. A few weeks ago, the Royal Canadian Navy has thus announced its intention to acquire 12 conventionally powered submarines and ocean-going capabilities, in an approach similar to that which saw the success of Naval Group in Australia in 2015.

If Canberra ultimately turned to the United States and Great Britain to equip itself with nuclear-powered rather than conventional submarines, Ottawa has repeated, on several occasions, that such an option was not considered. by the Royal Canadian Navy.

barracuda shortfin attack class International technological cooperation Defense | Defense Analysis | Maritime Patrol Aviation
Derived from the French Navy's Suffren-class SSNs, Naval Group's Marlin offers unique performance in the field of conventionally powered attack submarines

Naval Group's Marlin submarine

In fact, and even if the competition will undoubtedly be fierce against the Type 212CD of the German TKMS, the Spanish S80, the Japanese Taigei as well as the South Korean Dosan Aah Changho, the Naval Group Merlin, also called Shortfin Barracuda and derivative Suffren-class nuclear attack submarines entering service with the French Navy, will have serious arguments to put forward in this competition.

This is particularly the case of the unrivaled ability of the Marlin submarine to move at a speed of 12 to 14 knots while remaining perfectly silent, linked to the use of a Pump-jet, a streamlined propeller used on several models. of SSN, but on no conventional submarine to date, which significantly increases the discretion of ships at high speed by reducing cavitation noise.

For France and Naval Group, the Canadian competition represents a strategic challenge which would allow, in the event of success, the French group to finalize the design of its Marlin and to have a very significant reference as to its effectiveness, which will undoubtedly be a major asset for tackling future international competitions when the ship will not be in service with the French Navy.

The 2 Chilean Scorpene played a similar role in the success of this model, which is none other than the most exported submarine by France to date. In addition, this potential partnership could be extended to another key program, the replacement of the Canadian CP-140M Aurora maritime patrol aircraft but also the French Atlantique 2.

Scorpene International technological cooperation Defense | Defense Analysis | Maritime Patrol Aviation
The 2 Scorpene ordered by the Chilean Navy allowed Naval Group to demonstrate the effectiveness of its model. This contract was the starting point of the greatest French commercial success in the field of military submarines.

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