I remain a fan of Chantier Davie‘s project (Project Resolve) to convert a modern commercial standard ship into a support ship for the Royal Canadian Navy. I think that both the engineering and business decisions are good and beneficial to both Davie and the Government of Canada.
Here are some new pictures, from social media, showing the ship (Asterix) in the water, at last:
I’m sure we all look forward to seeing her in service, supporting our fleet.
And, I read, via a Davie brief, that the company has secured an identical vessel, the Obelix and it is, now, being actively marketed to foreign nations. Maybe it is time, now, for the Trudeau government to hit the pause button on part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy and rethink the Joint Support Ship (Berlin class) part of the project and consider, instead, going “all in” with Davie. The Royal Canadian Navy originally said (in 2005) that it needed four support-tanker ships: one on each coast with a combat task group, one at sea, on operations, with a task group and one in maintenance. I suspect the government found that too rich for its blood and settled, in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, on two of the modified Berlin class. But IF Davie can bring two ships into service faster and cheaper then maybe it is time to “retire” the Berlin class part of the project and tell Davie to build four ships: Asterix and Olebix and another pair of similar ships. Davie says that the Asterix is functionally superior to the Berlin class …
… if that is factual, and I am conscious that I’m showing only Davie‘s point of view, then maybe we, Canadians, can get more for less IF the Navy is willing to reconsider its operational support doctrine.
Some analysts are, already, calling for the Navy to reconsider what are termed “extremely high [military] engineering standards for systems and subsystems — things like water, power, heating and ventilation — that are commonly available [at lower cost in commercial, civilian ships].”
I worry that the Royal Canadian Navy cannot afford 15 of the new, highly capable, destroyer-frigates that need to be the backbone of the fighting fleet and even four of then new Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and two of the high standard Berlin class support ships … it might make sense to:
- First ~ scale back the destroyer frigates to, say, ten ships;
- Second ~ transfer the AOPS to the RCMP’s Marine Division. The Canadian taxpayer still pays but the ships are not, really, first rate, modern warships, they are better suited to a “constabulary” fleet;
- Third ~ buy some corvettes – say eight to 10 – for coastal and “near to home” (Caribbean) operations; and
- Fourth – cancel the Berlin class project and buy cheaper, commercial standard, “repurposed” supply ships like Asterix and Obelix.