Launched between 1988-1995, and commissioned between 1992-1996, Canada’s 12 City Class (now Halifax Class) frigates currently form the high end of its naval capabilities. The Canadian Navy has declined drastically from its post-WWII status as the world’s 4th largest navy, and the Halifax Class itself is finding that its open-ocean design is not suited to cope with modern littoral threats and improving anti-ship missiles. Replacement vessels are still many years away, which means that the 4,750t frigates will need to be modernized within the limits of their design if they are to remain effective.
Canada’s government has decided to fund that modernization, much as Australia and New Zealand are modernizing the Halifax Class’ ANZAC Frigate contemporaries. Refits are scheduled to begin with HMCS Halifax in 2010, and that ship is scheduled to re-enter service about 18 months later in 2012. By 2017, all 12 frigates are scheduled to be upgraded as part of a C$ 3.1 billion (about $2.9 billion) program. This DII Spotlight article explains the scope of the upgrades, notes the current systems, and covers the contracts and developments involved.