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WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems
HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)

One of the Canadian Navy’s four Victoria-class long-range patrol submarines has finished a multi-year communications upgrade and is headed into Greater Victoria waters.

Her Majesty’s Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Corner Brook spent the last six years undergoing its Extended Docking Work Period, including getting equipped with a new mast that allows for near real-time high-speed communications with shore.

“The communications antenna for the protected military satellite communication system moves us from an era of low-speed, low-data rate to high-speed, high-data rate. I liken it to the change from a dial-up modem to high-speed internet,” said Deputy Commanding Officer Michael Mangin, Canadian Submarine Force Operations, speaking with Black Press Media in 2019.

READ ALSO: Canadian navy plans to extend life of submarines

The submarine began undocking from the Esquimalt Graving Dock last Thursday and was moved to a Seaspan lift barge before getting floated to Ogden Point Sunday morning. HMCS Corner Brook was slowly lowered into the water and moved back to the HMCS Dockyard at CFB Esquimalt to get fueled. From there, it will start undergoing trials.

The main role of Victoria-class submarines is intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

Prior to getting dry docked in 2015, HMCS Corner Brook participated in various NATO and Canada/U.S. exercises. It was deployed to the Arctic in 2007 and 2008 to participate in a counter-narcotics exercise and covert surveillance patrols near Baffin Island. In 2008 and 2011, Corner Brook’s crew earned the Operational Service Medal for work eliminating illegal trafficking in the Caribbean Sea and eastern Pacific Ocean.

Mangin said submarines require extensive and regular maintenance due to the “unforgiving” environment they operate in. High pressures and corrosive seawater can take a great toll, he said.

The fleet is expected to operate into the 2030s, according to the navy.

READ ALSO: Navy officer dismissed after dismantling smoke detectors to enable smoking on HMCS Calgary

HMCS Corner Brook on its way from Ogden Point to CFB Esquimalt June 13. (Courtesy of Canadian Submarine Forces)

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