I have written several times about my concerns that the defence budget will not be able to accommodate 20± major surface combatants ~ large, 5,000 tons or thereabouts, frigates ~ and that we may need to settle for a fleet of, say, 8-12 very capable frigates and 10 to 12 smaller (say less than 2,500 tons displacement) corvettes. The most obvious advantage to the corvette is that it is likely to cost less than half what a frigate costs to buy and even less, on a day-by-day basis, to crew and sail. The obvious disadvantage is that a 1,500 to 2,500 ton corvette is likely to be less capable than a bigger frigate … after all the little Kingston class ships, which the corvettes would, eventually, replace, are only suitable for coastal defence, aren’t they?
Well, no … our little Kingston class MCDVs (Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels) have been father North than any other Royal Canadian Navy Ship ~ yes, yes, Labrador, a real icebreaker, went father North, but only after she had been transferred to the Coast Guard; and they have participated well in Op CARRIBE in the Caribbean and Easter Pacific where their shallow draught is a distinct advantage, and two of them will return to Africa this winter to, once again, participate in Exercise Obangame Express 2018. This picture shows one of the Canadian ships receiving a distinguished guest during the 2017 iteration of the exercise.
So, small ships can do that one things that Navies do better than any other service: “show the flag,” and they can do it all over the world and, when push comes to shove, they can fight, too.