Submarines are essential to Canada’s defence and security.
Unrivalled in their stealth, persistence and lethality, submarines permit Canada to act decisively at sea. That capacity has been demonstrated in operations and exercises from tropical to Arctic latitudes, and in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
HMCS Victoria will be operational next year, HMCS Windsor and HMCS Chicoutimi the year after.
From 2013 forward, Canada will have a submarine available for operations both east and west, with a third boat able to deploy where the government so chooses. A fourth submarine will be with industry, undergoing necessary deep maintenance.
Our boats have conducted surveillance at home and supported the interdiction of drug traffickers in the Americas. They have prepared our allies for operational missions and acted as formidable adversaries during advanced exercises.
They have performed admirably in the hands of Canadian submariners – outstanding men and women who have chosen to serve Canada at sea.
Our submarines remain an exceptional value. They were purchased with 80 per cent of hull life remaining at one-quarter of the cost of a new build. They cost no more to run than other submarines of equivalent capability and will provide a solid return on investment well into the 2020s.
It has taken us longer to bring the boats into service than we would have wished, and frankly we underestimated a number of challenges in doing so.
But the submarine business is both exceptionally complex and absolutely unforgiving. No shortcuts can be taken for the dangerous work our submariners do, and I am proud that they have brought us to this point – near the end of a long beginning.
Royal Canadian Navy