Canadian submarines: the strategic competition not to be missed for Naval Group, and the others…

After several years of more or less clear rumors, the Canadian Ministry of Defense announced the organization of an international competition to acquire and implement 12 new conventional Canadian submarines to replace the four Victoria class submarines of the Royal Canadian Navy.

This competition represents the largest potential order for conventional submarines in the last 30 years, even the Australian competition having initially involved only eight hulls.

In addition, the international offering is richer, as well as considerably more structured, today than it was in 2015, during the Australian competition. Thus, no less than six industrial groups have been identified to have to participate: four Europeans, Kockums, Naval Group, Navantia and TKMS; and two Asians, Hanwha Ocean and Kawasaki.

In fact, whatever the model and the manufacturer chosen by Ottawa, the competition announced by the Canadian Ministry of Defense will have the potential to deeply hierarchize the Western market for conventional submarines, or even to create a king , within it.

A new super-contract in preparation by the Ministry of Defense for 12 Canadian submarines

Canada is a country of profound contrasts, and not just when it comes to French pronunciation. Indeed, while the country remains at the back of the pack within NATO, with regard to its defense effort, which only reached 1,3% of its GDP in 2023, it is also the one which has placed the largest orders for equipment programs over the last thirty years.

Canadian Victoria class submarines
Canadian Victoria-class submarine

Thus, in 2023, Ottawa announced the order for 88 F-35A fighters from Lockheed Martin, after a mock competition in which only Saab had participated, as the result was known in advance. It was the most important international American fighter within NATO, and the second most important in the world, after the 127 Japanese examples.

In 2019, the Canadian Ministry of Defense selected the British Type 26 model for its Canadian Surface Combatant program, the design and construction of 15 missile frigates to replace the four Iroquois-class anti-aircraft destroyers, and the twelve Halifax-class anti-submarine frigates.

The construction of the first ship of the class now called River, which must enter service in the early 2030s, began at the end of June 2024, while the fifteenth unit of this program worth more than $30 billion, the largest concerning the manufacture of frigates and destroyers ever signed in export, will come into service before 2050.

More recently, Ottawa announced the order for 16 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from the American Boeing, for an amount of $6 billion, which is, once again, the largest export order for the American aircraft, as well as the highest for a maritime patrol capacity ever recorded for export.

The Royal Canadian Navy wants 12 high-autonomy conventional ocean-going submarines in the face of Russian and Chinese threats

This time, it is a competition to replace the four Victoria class submarines of the Royal Canadian Navy, which has just been announced by the Canadian Ministry of Defense. However, and unlike the three previous super-contracts, this one will lead to a very significant transformation of the Canadian fleet, since it aims to order not 4, but 12 new submarines.

Surface Combatant ship River class Royal Canadian Navy
River class frigate of the Surface Combatant Ship program

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