I welcome this, but wonder why build?
This is wasteful, the RCN has ships it can use for this task. Ships that the RCN has little need for, and less desire to retain in their current role. Ships that could be refitted and supported at many of the inland shipyards.
Those vessels are the Kingston-class MCDV’s.
Some of the characteristics of the MCDV’s that made them less than ideal in their assigned duties actually make them better suited to work on the Lakes.
- Steel Hulls: Not ideal for mine hunting, but more damage resistant and durable in the waters of the Lakes. They can easily shrug off the many minor impacts with ice and other floating detritus.
- Slow Speed: The MCDV’s are slower than most commercial ships plying offshore waters. They are as fast as most plying the Lakes.
- Lightly Armed: A big gun isn’t needed, or even desirable on the Lakes. In fact, there would be greater value in reducing the armament to the same 25mm remote weapons station chosen for the Harry DeWolfe-class AOPS.
I would prefer another solution on the Lakes, much as I presented HERE. If we are to have larger vessels though, why not use what we have?
Reserve crewing would be simplified by placing the vessels in this densely populated area. The “Golden Horseshoe” around Toronto is home to almost 1/4 of the Canadian population. If RCN reserve personnel don’t have to fly half way across the country to mate up with their ships, they are more likely to value the time aboard. They have the option of spending a few days on a short cruise, increasing flexibility for both the ship and crew. Participation is likely to go up, as the burden goes down.
In order to facilitate ties across the country I would hope that three particular vessels could be found suitable:
Small defence dollars means using them better. New builds seem to be more about buying votes than boats.