Fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy

Fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy

The fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy consists of the surface warships, submarines and auxiliary vessels operated by the Royal Canadian Navy, the maritime component of the Canadian Forces. The current fleet consists of sixty six vessels, including 34 commissioned vessels. Commissioned vessels carry the designation 'Her Majesty's Canadian Ship' (HMCS) in reference to the monarch and head of state of Canada. Auxiliary vessels carry the designation 'Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel' (CFAV) since the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968.


Current fleet


Halifax class frigate

The backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy, the twelve Halifax-class frigates are multi-role patrol surface vessels that carry the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters of the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as anti-submarine torpedoes and anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. These ships, built by Saint John Shipbuilding of Saint John, New Brunswick and MIL-Davie Shipbuilding of Lauzon, Quebec, were commissioned between 1992 and 1996 and named after Canadian cities. The ships are undergoing the Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) through to 2016.

Active Halifax-class frigates
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Halifax FFH 330 29 June 1992 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Vancouver FFH 331 23 August 1993 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Ville de Québec FFH 332 14 July 1994 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Toronto FFH 333 29 July 1993 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Regina FFH 334 29 December 1993 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Calgary FFH 335 12 May 1995 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Montréal FFH 336 21 July 1994 Saint John Shipbuilding  Atlantic
HMCS Fredericton FFH 337 10 September 1994 Saint John Shipbuilding  Atlantic
HMCS Winnipeg FFH 338 23 June 1995 Saint John Shipbuilding  Pacific
HMCS Charlottetown FFH 339 9 September 1995 Saint John Shipbuilding  Atlantic
HMCS St. John's FFH 340 16 June 1996 Saint John Shipbuilding  Atlantic
HMCS Ottawa FFH 341 28 September 1996 Saint John Shipbuilding  Pacific

Iroquois class destroyer

The Iroquois class is a guided-missile destroyer in service with the Royal Canadian Navy. The four destroyers were designed in the late 1960s and built by Marine Industries and MIL-Davie Shipbuilding. Originally designed as anti-submarine warfare vessels, the ships underwent major retrofits in the 1990s and were re-purposed as area air defence destroyers. HMCS Huron was retired in 2000 and sunk in 2007, leaving three destroyers in the fleet.

Active Iroquois-class destroyers
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Iroquois DDG 280 29 July 1972 Marine Industries Limited Atlantic
HMCS Athabaskan DDG 282 30 September 1972 MIL-Davie Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Algonquin DDG 283 3 November 1972 MIL-Davie Shipbuilding Pacific

Victoria class submarines

In 1998, the Canadian government made a deal with the United Kingdom to acquire four mothballed, but state-of-the-art Upholder-class diesel-electric submarines that were declared surplus when the Royal Navy decided to operate only nuclear-powered submarines such as the Trafalgar-class boats. The four submarines were eventually purchased for $750 million CAD. After an update program which took longer than expected the Upholders are being successfully reactivated following a decade of mothballing and are now in service into the Royal Canadian Navy as the Victoria class.

Active Victoria-class submarines
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Victoria SSK 876 December 2000 Cammell Laird Pacific
HMCS Windsor SSK 877 October 2003 Cammell Laird Atlantic
HMCS Corner Brook SSK 878 March 2003 Cammell Laird Atlantic
HMCS Chicoutimi SSK 879 October 2004 Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Atlantic

Protecteur class auxiliary vessel

The Protecteur class auxiliary oil replenishment (AOR) class are two vessels in service with the Royal Canadian Navy that are used to resupply vessels at sea. The ships were built in the 1960s by Saint John Shipbuilding of Saint John, NB.

Active Protecteur-class auxiliary vessels
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Protecteur AOR 509 30 August 1969 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Preserver AOR 510 30 July 1970 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic

Kingston class patrol vessels

The Kingston class coastal defence vessels are mechanical minesweepers in service with the Royal Canadian Navy since 1996. Crewed by sailors from the naval reserve, their main mission is coastal surveillance and training. All twelve ships were built at the Halifax Shipyards, in Nova Scotia.

Active Kingston-class coastal defence vessels
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Kingston MM 700 21 September 1996 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Glace Bay MM 701 26 October 1996 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Nanaimo MM 702 10 May 1997 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Edmonton MM 703 21 June 1997 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Shawinigan MM 704 14 June 1997 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Whitehorse MM 705 17 April 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Yellowknife MM 706 18 April 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Goose Bay MM 707 26 July 1998 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Moncton MM 708 12 July 1998 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Saskatoon MM 709 5 December 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Brandon MM 710 5 June 1999 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Summerside MM 711 18 July 1999 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic



Sail Training Ship

Support and auxiliary vessels

Orca-class training tenders

  • PCT Orca (PCT 55)
  • PCT Raven (PCT 56)
  • PCT Caribou (PCT 57)
  • PCT Renard (PCT 58)
  • PCT Wolf (PCT 59)
  • PCT Grizzly (PCT 60)
  • PCT Cougar (PCT 61)
  • PCT Moose (PCT 62)

Torpedo and Sound Ranging Vessels

  • CFAV Sikanni (YTP 611)
  • CFAV Stikine (YTP 613)

Yard Diving Tenders

  • Unnamed (YDT 11)
  • CFAV Granby (YDT 12)
  • CFAV Sechelt (YDT 610)
  • CFAV Sooke (YDT 612)



Yard Auxiliary General

  • CFAV Pelican (YAG 4)
  • CFAV Gemini (YAG 650)
  • CFAV Pegasus (YAG 651)
  • CFAV Albatross (YAG 660)
  • CFAV Blackduck (YAG 661)


Maritime-helicopter replacement

Although aviation assets are the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) since unification, the political fiasco surrounding the maritime-helicopter replacement has had a major impact on the ability of the Canadian patrol frigates to deliver their expected capabilities. In 1993, the Maritime Helicopter Program, which had selected the AgustaWestland EH101 as a replacement for the aging CH-124 Sea King, was cancelled by incoming Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in an infamous decision that dogged his government for over a decade. Chrétien's government did end up ordering fifteen CH-149 Cormorants, a slightly cheaper though less effective version of the EH101, for search-and-rescue services, however it took until July 2004 for a replacement of the now-ancient Sea Kings to be announced. The Sea Kings will be replaced with the CH-148 Cyclone, with delivery of interim models expected in 2010. This date is expected to be pushed to 2011.

Current and future programs

Joint support ships

Proposal Joint Support Ship

In the late 1990s, one of the fleet's three underway-replenishment vessels, HMCS Provider, was paid off. The remaining two supply ships, HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur, were showing their age, and MARCOM began studies into designing a new class of underway-replenishment and naval sealift-capable vessels.

On 16 April 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced plans to purchase three new joint support ships (JSS) to replace the Protecteur-class underway-replenishment vessels. In addition to supporting naval operations, the new ships will be able to transport a battlegroup — a capability Canada's navy has lacked since the departure of the light carrier HMCS Bonaventure in 1970. The new ships will also have reinforced hulls enabling them to sail in the Arctic. The requirement for three JSSes was re-affirmed in June 2006 by the newly elected Conservative government, which issued the request for proposal. In November 2006, two industry teams were selected to provide a proposal. One of these teams was to be awarded the implementation contract in 2008. The first of the 28,000-tonne vessels was scheduled to be delivered in 2012. As of August 22, 2008, the JSS Program has been suspended due to cost. The Protecteur Class will have their service lives extended beyond 2012 while a suitable replacement is found.[1]

In July 2010, the plan to replace the ships was renewed, with the federal government announcing that it planned to authorize construction of two JSSs, including an option to purchase a third. A yard will be selected for the construction of the initial two ships, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.[2]

On October 11, 2010, the federal government announced that five shipbuilding companies are "being invited to participate in a request for proposals" for constructing ships as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. One is to be selected for military vessels and one for non-military vessels. [3]

Amphibious assault vessels

In the first months of 2005, senior members of the Canadian Forces and the government examined the possibility of purchasing two new or used amphibious assault ships in keeping with the government's commitment to developing greater joint capability in the Canadian Forces. This was apparently not connected to the Joint Support Ship project. According to the Délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA), the Canadian Forces Maritime Command and DND might show an interest in the French built Mistral class amphibious assault ship [4] The ship might carry a significantly large military force with equipment and vehicles in 'fighting order,' enabling the CF to face armed opposition ashore. The Future Canadian Amphibious Assault Ship [5] could be able to rapidly disembark personnel and equipment in 'waves' using 'connector systems' such as landing craft and/or helicopters. The ship would be able to offload equipment and personnel in the face of armed opposition. They could also be used as large hospital ships and support humanitarian operations.

However, while the military may have shown interest in this vessel, it is not an approved Government procurement project as outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy.[6] According to French daily La Tribune, the Canadian Forces Maritime Command shows "strong interest" in buying two Mistral ships.[7]

Orca-class training vessels

The program to replace the navy's wooden YAG vessels with twelve modern steel training / patrol vessels (the Orca program) is complete and was contracted by Victoria Shipyards Limited. The first ship, PCT (Patrol Craft, Training) Orca 55 was accepted by the navy at CFB Esquimalt on November 17, 2006.[8]

Polar Class 5 Arctic offshore patrol ships

On July 9, 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the construction of up to eight Polar Class PC-5 Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and the establishment of a deep water port in the far North.

These new Polar Class 5 Arctic Patrol Ships will be built in Canada.[9][10][11]: The CBC reported that the vessels "...are expected to be based on the Royal Norwegian Navy's Svalbard class design". With steel-reinforced hulls, they will be capable of operating in ice up to one metre thick, and each vessel will also be equipped with a helicopter landing pad. They will be able to patrol the length of the Northwest Passage during the summer navigable season and its approaches year-round, and will also be capable of full operations on the east and west coasts throughout the year. Critics have noted that the vessels are less capable than the three larger icebreakers Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in 2006 most notably the Navy League of Canada which described the 25-millimetre gun as a "peashooter".[12]

While recent press reports have suggested that the navy offshore/arctic patrol vessel program has been postponed,[12] when they do proceed, Nanisivik Naval Facility, a deep-water port to be constructed at Nanisivik, Nunavut will allow the patrol ships to resupply and refuel.[13][14]


The Halifax-class Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) program has been established and a contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin. It is believed that introduction of the active phased array radar (APAR) that the Canadian Forces developed with the Dutch navy will not be undertaken during FELEX due to the weight of the system and stability considerations. Canada is considering a 4-to-10 vessel replacement program for the Iroquois-class destroyers, likely involving the use of APAR. To save money, the replacement classes for the Iroquois- and Halifax-class ships will have identical hulls and propulsion systems. Canada plans to upgrade her Frigates with a missile guidance system for sea to sea and sea to air missiles. There is also the possibility of arming the Sea King replacements with anti ship missiles.

A mid-life upgrade program for the Kingston-class patrol vessels appeared on a list of the Chief of the Maritime Staff's project priorities, but was cancelled. The Government has plans (outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy), to replace the Iroquois class destroyer with the Canadian Single Class Surface Combatant. The Department of National Defence has not identified a procurement timeframe for the Iroquois replacements, although it has been reported that design work is underway and a project office and personnel have been assigned.

Historical fleet

Commissioned 1910-1930






Survey ships


Patrol boats

Torpedo boat

Commissioned 1930-1950

Aircraft carriers



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