Friday, November 4, 2022

HMCS St.John's back home

 The Royal Canadian Navy's frigate HMCS St.John's FFH 340 returned to Halifax today (November 4) after its latest refit.  Davie Shipbuilding in Lévis, QC delivered the ship to the RCN on November 1 after an extensive maintenance and upgrade program that started August 12, 2020.

On arrival this morning the ship passed through the Narrows to Bedford Basin where it turned and proceeded back through the Narrows to its berth at HMC Dockyard.

Built by Saint John Shipbuilding and commissioned June 24,1996 the ship has received numerous upgrades over the years, but this latest work was aimed at hull, mechanical and engineering maintenance. Installation of a new .50 cal Naval Remote Weapon Sytem was also part of the work.

In 2019 the Canadian government announced this latest maintenance program that is expected to see the navy's twelve Halifax class frigates in commission until replacement ships are completed in 2040s. Three shipyards, Seaspan Victoria, Halifax Shipyard and Davie Shipbuilding will share in the $1.5 billion with a guarantee of a minimum three ship refits each. (The controversial decision to include Davie - which had no recent naval experience, was met with consternation in Halifax. Now claiming to be a "centre for excellence for naval maintenance" - after repairing a grand total of one ship - Davie is obviously angling for more naval work - particularly if there are delays in the frigate replacement project.) More maintenance work on the current ships will be needed, but it is hoped to be routine, with no major upgrades. It is reported that the RCN will spend $7.5 billion on the ships before they are retired.

The aim of the maintenance program is to ensure that the RCN has eight Halifax frigates in service at all times, with a planned decommissioning as new ships are delivered starting in the 2030s. 


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