Canada is pursuing a single class of 15 surface combatants for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN), unlike some of its allies who are building multiple classes of more specialized ships. A single variant Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) is better than the project’s original vision of two variants based on a common hull (the first a task group command/air-defense version, the other a more general-purpose/antisubmarine warfare version). While all naval force structure is essentially driven by national strategic defense and security interests, a single-class solution is based on three principal factors. First, it fits best for Canada’s unique naval requirements shaped by its geography, modest fleet size, and the RCN’s operational needs. Second, it optimizes effectiveness now and into the future, while responsibly seeking maximum cost efficiencies. Finally, it is an innovative approach that has only recently become both practical and advantageous because of recent technological developments, such as convergence and digitization.
1. While exact definitions will vary from country to country, typically modern capital ships are considered aircraft carriers and amphibious ships, while “high-end” surface combatants include cruisers, destroyers, and frigates capable of engaging in combat, and “low-end” combatants are usually frigates, corvettes, and patrol ships intended to focus on less-hazardous maritime security or limited combat roles.