Canadian Forces Maritime Command

Canadian Forces Maritime Command

:"MARCOM" redirects here. For the historical (1936–1950) U.S. agency, see United States Maritime Commission."


! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Aircraft! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Country of Manufacture! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Canadian Designation! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|In Service! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Notes
SH-3 Sea King
Sikorsky USA
United Aircraft CAN
Shipborne Anti-Submarine, Search and Rescue Helicopter on destroyers and frigates
CH-124 Sea King
Delivered 1963 to Royal Canadian Navy; assigned from Canadian Forces Air Command to be replaced by CH-148 Cyclone
P-3 Orion/S-3 Viking
Lockheed USA
Strategic airborne anti-submarine warfare aircraft with surface-surveillance capability
CP-140 Aurora
Purchased 1980; assigned from Canadian Forces Air Command
P-3 Orion
Lockheed USA
Strategic airborne surface-surveillance aircraft
CP-140A Arcturus
airframes purchased in 1991; assigned from Canadian Forces Air Command
Sikorsky H-92 Superhawk
Sikorsky Aircraft USA
Shipborne, Search and Rescue Helicopter on destroyers and frigates
CH-148 Cyclone
Order delayed; delivery after 2009
AgustaWestland Flagicon|UKUK/ITA
Search & Rescue helicopter
CH-149 Cormorant
Entered service 2000; assigned from Canadian Forces Air Command

Retired Fleet

Retired Aircraft

! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Aircraft! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Country of Manufacture! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Canadian Designation! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|In Service! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Notes
F2H Banshee
McDonnell Douglas USA
carrier based jet fighter
N/A – F2H-3
39; 34 on carrier HMCS Bonaventure
ex-United States Navy delivered 1955–1958; retired 1962
S-2 Tracker
Sikorsky Aircraft USA
Anti-submarine warfare aircraft
CS-2F Tracker
delivery 1956–1957; all carrier based aircraft were transferred to land operations after 1970
Sikorsky H-19 "Horse"
Sikorsky Aircraft USA
plane guard helicopter
acquired 1956; retired 1967 and replaced by CH-124 Sea King (till 1970)



* Mark 41 VLS – missile-firing system for
** Boeing Integrated Defense Systems Mark 141 Harpoon SSM – anti-ship missile
** Raytheon Standard SM-2MR Block IIIA surface-to-air missile
* Douglas Aircraft Company/Sperry Corporation Sea Sparrow SAM/SSM – medium-range semi-active radar homing air-to-air missile
* BAE Systems Bofors SAK 57 mm naval guns
* General Dynamics Ponoma Division Phalanx CIWS (Block 1) – Close-in weapon system/anti-missile system
* Browning Arms Company 12.7mm M2 Browning machine guns – heavy machine guns
* Oto Melara 76 mm/62 OTO Melara – naval artillery piece
* Alliant Techsystems Mark-46 Mod 5 torpedoes fired from 12.75in Mark 32 Surface Vessel Torpedo Tubes
* BAE Systems Bofors 40 mm 60 Mk 5C cannon
* Raytheon/Hughes Aircraft 533mm torpedo tubes (18 Mark 48 torpedoes)


* Alliant Techsystems Mark 46 torpedo – Air and ship-launched lightweight torpedo on SH-3 Sea King
* Browning Arms Company M1919 Browning machine gun – 7.62 mm self-defence machine gun used by SH-3 Sea King

Air operations

Though the former RCN had its own aircraft, after unification shipboard helicopters came under "air force" control, and Naval Air Squadrons were renumbered in the former RCAF 400-series, with the exceptions of VU-32, VU-33, and 880 Squadron. Shipboard helicopter operations continue in this fashion, with Helicopter Air Detachments (HELAIRDETs) being staffed by Air Command personnel in air force-style DEU's.


The 1987 military review highlighted Canada's abysmal capabilities of enforcing sovereignty on its Arctic coast. It was therefore announced that MARCOM would receive a fleet of 10 to 12 nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSN) suitable for operating for extended periods under the Arctic ice. The proposed SSN fleet would force any nation, friend or foe, to possibly think twice before using Canada's territorial seas in the Arctic for operating nuclear submarines. During 1987–1988, MARCOM examined several British and French SSN designs. The planned procurement, however, was cancelled in 1988–1989 during a time of increased defence cuts.

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 made surplus by the Royal Navy's decision to operate only nuclear-powered submarines such as the "Trafalgar"-class boats. The Royal and U.S. navies considered the "Upholder"s too valuable and technologically advanced to allow them to fall into the hands of a non-allied nation. Therefore Canada was encouraged through significant discounts to acquire the "Upholder"s. The four submarines were eventually purchased after much foot-dragging by the federal government for $750 million CAD.

The transaction was supposed to have included some reciprocal rights for British forces to continue using CFB Suffield for armoured-unit training and CFB Goose Bay for low-level flight training, while Canada received four well-built and very lightly used high-technology submarines to replace the 1960s-era "Oberon" class. (It was later revealed that there were no reciprocal rights. It was a plain lease-to-buy arrangement.) After a costly update program which took longer than expected, along with several public and highly embarrassing equipment failures, the "Upholder"s are being successfully reactivated following a decade of mothballing and are now being integrated into the Canadian navy as the "Victoria" class. Technical problems still seem to plague the fleet however. Part of this deal will see MARPAC receive its first submarine in four decades and returning an active submarine presence to Canada's west coast.

The four submarines and their former Royal Navy names:
*warship|HMCS|Victoria|SSK 876, formerly warship|HMS|Unseen|S41
*warship|HMCS|Windsor|SSK 877, formerly warship|HMS|Unicorn|S43
*warship|HMCS|Corner Brook|SSK 878, formerly warship|HMS|Ursula|S42
*warship|HMCS|Chicoutimi|SSK 879, formerly warship|HMS|Upholder|S40

A naval investigation was conducted into a fatal fire aboard HMCS "Chicoutimi" which killed an officer and injured several other personnel during its maiden voyage from Faslane Naval Base, Scotland, to Halifax in October 2004. The investigation focused on two hatches that were left open during repairs, thus allowing seawater inside while the submarine was on the surface in a period of rough weather, as well as faulty insulation for wires and a panel near the commanding officer's cabin. The wires were insulated using an older water-resistance specification than the other "Victoria"-class boats, because it was older than the other three. The other three "Victoria"-class boats were placed on restricted duty for several weeks following the fire and during the period of investigation.

The investigation found that a series of unexpected circumstances led to the tragedy. [ [ HMCS "Chicoutimi" Board of Enquiry website] ] No blame was placed on the commanding officer, as it was decided he was reasonable in allowing both hatches to be left open for the repairs. Running with both hatches open was common on the "Oberon"-class boats. Recommendations include improved water-resistant insulation for electrical wires, improved firefighting training, and a change of operational procedures that will no longer allow a submarine to operate on the surface with both hatches open. The widow of the officer killed, in writing, accepted the findings of the investigation.


Maritime-helicopter replacement

Although aviation assets are the responsibility of Canadian Forces Air Command (AIRCOM) 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 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 expected to be completed by 2008–2010.

Current and future programs

Joint Support Ships

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 an army battle group — 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 JSS 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 canceled due to cost. The Protecteur class will be have their service lives extended beyond 2012 while a suitable replacement is found.cite web
title=Welcome to PMO JSS
publisher=Canadian Department of National Defence
date=May 16, 2007
accessdate=July 10

Amphibious assault vessels

In the first months of 2005, senior members of the Canadian Forces and the government have been examining 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 is apparently not connected to the Joint Support Ship project.

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 well underway and being contracted by Victoria Shipyards Limited. The first ship, PCT (Patrol Craft, Training) 55 Orca was accepted by the navy at CFB Esquimalt on November 17, 2006.cite news
title=Navy welcomes Orca to Pacific Fleet
author=Pam Lloyd
date=November 27, 2006

Polar Class 5 Arctic offshore patrol ships

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

These new Polar Class 5 Arctic offshore patrol ships will be built in Canada.cite news
title=Arctic patrol vessels approved by committee
date=May 13, 2007
] cite web
publisher=Canadian American Strategic Review
title=Background — Armed Icebreaker / OPV — Norway’s K/V Svalbard
date=July 9 2007
accessdate=July 10
] cite web
publisher=Canadian Naval Review
title=Canadian Naval Arctic Patrol Vessels
author=Doug Thomas
accessdate=July 10
] :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.Fact|date=November 2007

To conduct seaborne surveillance operations in the Arctic, a deep-water port (likely at Nanisivik, Nunavut) will be constructed to allow the patrol ships to resupply and refuel.cite news
title=Ottawa buying up to 8 Arctic patrol ships
date=July 9 2007
] Harper announced in 2006 that the deep-water port would be built in Iqaluit. On July 9 2007 the CBC reported that four ports were under consideration.


A program office for the "Halifax"-class Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) program has been established and is expected to begin soliciting bids in 2007. 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 machinery.

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 Canadian Navy has plans to replace the Iroquois class destroyer with the Province-class destroyer. 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.

enior Leadership

Commanders of Maritime Command

# Vice Admiral J.C. OBrien 1968-1970
# Vice Admiral H.A. Porter 1970-1971
# Rear Admiral R.W Timbrell 1971-1973
# Vice Admiral D.S. Boyle 1973-1977
# Vice Admiral A.L Collier 1977-1979
# Vice Admiral J Allan 1979-1980
# Vice Admiral J.A. Fulton 1980-1983
# Vice Admiral J.C. Wood 1983-1987
# Vice Admiral C.M Thomas 1987-1989
# Vice Admiral R.E. George 1989-1991
# Admiral John Rogers Anderson 1991-1992
# Vice Admiral P.W. Cairns 1992-1994
# Vice Admiral Larry Murray 1994-1995
# Vice Admiral L. Mason 1995-1997

Chiefs of the Maritime Staff

# Vice Admiral G. Garnett 1997-1997
# Vice Admiral G Maddison 1997-2001
# Vice Admiral R.D. Buck 2001-2004
# Vice Admiral M.B. McLean 2004-2006
# Vice Admiral D.W. Robertson 2006-


ee also

*List of ships of the Canadian Navy
*List of Royal Canadian Navy stations
*Uniforms of the Canadian Forces
*Canadian Forces ranks and insignia
*Canadian Coast Guard

External links

* [ Canadian Navy, Official Site]
* [ Ninety-five years of the Canadian navy.]
* [ Article on the Frigate Life Extension Programme (FELEX)]
* [ CFAV Quest]
* [ Canadian Forces Small Ships — YAG Yard Auxiliary, General]

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