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The fleet of the Royal Canadian Navy consists of the surface warships, submarines and auxiliary vessels operated by the Royal Canadian Navy, the maritime component of the Canadian Forces. The current fleet consists of 66 vessels, including 34 commissioned vessels. Commissioned vessels carry the designation 'Her Majesty's Canadian Ship' (HMCS) in reference to the monarch and head of state of Canada. Auxiliary vessels carry the designation 'Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel' (CFAV) since the unification of the Canadian Forces in 1968.


Current fleet


Halifax class frigate

The backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy, the twelve Halifax-class frigates are multi-role patrol surface vessels that carry the Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King helicopters of the Royal Canadian Air Force as well as anti-submarine torpedoes and anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles. These ships, built by Saint John Shipbuilding of Saint John, New Brunswick and MIL-Davie Shipbuilding of Lauzon, Quebec, were commissioned between 1992 and 1996 and named after Canadian cities. The ships are undergoing the Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) through to 2016.[1]

Active Halifax-class frigates
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Halifax FFH 330 29 June 1992 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Vancouver FFH 331 23 August 1993 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Ville de Québec FFH 332 14 July 1994 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Toronto FFH 333 29 July 1993 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Regina FFH 334 29 December 1993 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Calgary FFH 335 12 May 1995 MIL Davie Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Montréal FFH 336 21 July 1994 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Fredericton FFH 337 10 September 1994 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Winnipeg FFH 338 23 June 1995 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Charlottetown FFH 339 9 September 1995 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS St. John's FFH 340 16 June 1996 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Ottawa FFH 341 28 September 1996 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific

Iroquois class destroyer

The Iroquois class is a guided-missile destroyer in service with the Royal Canadian Navy. The four destroyers were designed in the late 1960s and built by Marine Industries and MIL-Davie Shipbuilding. Originally designed as anti-submarine warfare vessels, the ships underwent major retrofits in the 1990s and were re-purposed as area air defence destroyers. HMCS Huron was retired in 2000 and sunk in 2007, leaving three destroyers in the fleet.

Active Iroquois-class destroyers
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Iroquois DDG 280 29 July 1972 Marine Industries Limited Atlantic
HMCS Athabaskan DDG 282 30 September 1972 MIL-Davie Shipbuilding Atlantic
HMCS Algonquin DDG 283 3 November 1972 MIL-Davie Shipbuilding Pacific

Victoria class submarines

In 1998, the Canadian government made a deal with the United Kingdom to acquire four mothballed, but state-of-the-art Upholder-class diesel-electric submarines that were declared surplus when the Royal Navy decided to operate only nuclear-powered submarines such as the Trafalgar-class boats. The four submarines were eventually purchased for $750 million CAD. After an update program which took longer than expected the Upholders are being successfully reactivated following a decade of mothballing and are now in service into the Royal Canadian Navy as the Victoria class.

Active Victoria-class submarines
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Victoria SSK 876 December 2000 Cammell Laird Pacific
HMCS Windsor SSK 877 October 2003 Cammell Laird Atlantic
HMCS Corner Brook SSK 878 March 2003 Cammell Laird Pacific
HMCS Chicoutimi SSK 879 October 2004 Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Pacific

Protecteur class auxiliary vessel

The Protecteur class auxiliary oil replenishment (AOR) class are two vessels in service with the Royal Canadian Navy that are used to resupply vessels at sea. The ships were built in the 1960s by Saint John Shipbuilding of Saint John, NB.

Active Protecteur-class auxiliary vessels
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Protecteur AOR 509 30 August 1969 Saint John Shipbuilding Pacific
HMCS Preserver AOR 510 30 July 1970 Saint John Shipbuilding Atlantic

Kingston class patrol vessels

The Kingston class coastal defence vessels are mechanical minesweepers in service with the Royal Canadian Navy since 1996. Crewed by sailors from the naval reserve, their main mission is coastal surveillance and training. All twelve ships were built at Halifax Shipyards, in Nova Scotia.

Active Kingston-class coastal defence vessels
Name Pennant number Commissioned Builder Fleet
HMCS Kingston MM 700 21 September 1996 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Glace Bay MM 701 26 October 1996 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Nanaimo MM 702 10 May 1997 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Edmonton MM 703 21 June 1997 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Shawinigan MM 704 14 June 1997 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Whitehorse MM 705 17 April 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Yellowknife MM 706 18 April 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Goose Bay MM 707 26 July 1998 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Moncton MM 708 12 July 1998 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic
HMCS Saskatoon MM 709 5 December 1998 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Brandon MM 710 5 June 1999 Halifax Shipyards Pacific
HMCS Summerside MM 711 18 July 1999 Halifax Shipyards Atlantic



Sail Training Ship

Support and auxiliary vessels

Orca-class training tenders

Torpedo and Sound Ranging Vessels

  • CFAV Sikanni (YTP 611)
  • CFAV Stikine (YTP 613)

Oceanographic Research Ship

  • CFAV Quest (AGOR 172)

Yard Diving Tenders

  • Unnamed (YDT 11)
  • CFAV Granby (YDT 12)
  • CFAV Sechelt (YDT 610)
  • CFAV Sooke (YDT 612)


  • CFAV Firebird (YTR 561)
  • CFAV Firebrand (YTR 562)


Yard Auxiliary General

  • CFAV Pelican (YAG 4)
  • CFAV Gemini (YAG 650)
  • CFAV Pegasus (YAG 651)
  • CFAV Albatross (YAG 661)
  • CFAV Black Duck (YAG 660)

Future procurement projects

Maritime-helicopter replacement

Although aviation assets are the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) since unification, the political fiasco surrounding the maritime-helicopter replacement has had a major impact on the ability of the Canadian patrol frigates to deliver their expected capabilities. In 1993, the Maritime Helicopter Program, which had selected the AgustaWestland EH101 as a replacement for the aging CH-124 Sea King, was cancelled by incoming Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in an infamous decision that dogged his government for over a decade. Chrétien's government did end up ordering fifteen CH-149 Cormorants, a slightly cheaper though less effective version of the EH101, for search-and-rescue services, however it took until July 2004 for a replacement of the now-ancient Sea Kings to be announced. The Sea Kings will be replaced with the CH-148 Cyclone, with delivery of interim models expected in 2010. This date was pushed to 2011. However, as of July 1, 2012, no aircraft have been delivered in spite of reduced requirements, and Sikorsky announced yet further unspecified delays in delivery.

Current and future programs

Joint support ships

Proposal Joint Support Ship

In the late 1990s, one of the fleet's three underway-replenishment vessels, HMCS Provider, was paid off. The remaining two supply ships, HMCS Preserver and HMCS Protecteur, were showing their age, and MARCOM began studies into designing a new class of underway-replenishment and naval sealift-capable vessels.

On 16 April 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced plans to purchase three new "joint support ships" (JSS) to replace the Protecteur-class underway-replenishment vessels. In addition to supporting naval operations, the new ships will be able to transport a battlegroup — a capability Canada's navy has lacked since the departure of the light carrier HMCS Bonaventure in 1970. The new ships will also have reinforced hulls enabling them to sail in the Arctic. The requirement for three JSSes was re-affirmed in June 2006 by the newly elected Conservative government, which issued the request for proposal. In November 2006, two industry teams were selected to provide a proposal. One of these teams was to be awarded the implementation contract in 2008. The first of the 28,000-tonne vessels was scheduled to be delivered in 2012. As of 22 August 2008, the JSS Program has been suspended due to cost. The Protecteur Class will have their service lives extended beyond 2012 while a suitable replacement is found.[2]

In July 2010, the plan to replace the ships was renewed, with the federal government announcing that it planned to authorize construction of two JSSs, including an option to purchase a third. A yard will be selected for the construction of the initial two ships, as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.[3]

On 11 October 2010, the federal government announced that five shipbuilding companies are "being invited to participate in a request for proposals" for constructing ships as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. One is to be selected for military vessels and one for non-military vessels. [4]

On 19 October 2011, the Canadian federal government awarded a $25 billion contract to the Irving Shipbuilding in Halifax, NS to build a fleet of 23 combatant vessels to serve in the Royal Canadian Navy. The Canadian government also awarded a contract worth $8 billion to build 7 non-combatant vessels.[5]

Amphibious assault vessels

In the first months of 2005, senior members of the Canadian Forces and the government examined the possibility of purchasing two new or used amphibious assault ships in keeping with the government's commitment to developing greater joint capability in the Canadian Forces. This was apparently not connected to the Joint Support Ship Project. According to the Délégation générale pour l’armement (DGA), the Canadian Forces Maritime Command and DND might show an interest in the French built Mistral class amphibious assault ship[6] The ship might carry a significantly large military force with equipment and vehicles in 'fighting order,' enabling the CF to face armed opposition ashore. The Amphibious Assault Ship Project[7] would procure vessels that would be able to rapidly disembark personnel and equipment in 'waves' using 'connector systems' such as landing craft and/or helicopters. The ship would be able to offload equipment and personnel in the face of armed opposition. They could also be used as large hospital ships and support humanitarian operations.

However, while the military may have shown interest in this type of vessel, it is not an approved federal government procurement project as outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy.[8] According to French daily La Tribune, the Royal Canadian Navy shows "strong interest" in buying two Mistral ships.[9]

Orca-class training vessels

The program to replace the navy's wooden YAG vessels with up to eight modern steel training / patrol vessels (the Orca program) is complete and was contracted by Victoria Shipyards Limited. The first ship, PCT (Patrol Craft, Training) Orca 55 was accepted by the navy at CFB Esquimalt on 17 November 2006.[10]

Polar Class 5 Arctic offshore patrol ships

On 9 July 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the construction of up to eight patrol ships capable of operating in the Arctic Ocean (with polar class 5 (PC-5), as well as the establishment of a deep water port for the RCN in Nunavut capable of supporting RCN operations in the Northwest Passage and adjacent waters.

The Arctic Patrol Ship Project will be built in Canada.:[11][12][13] The CBC reported that the vessels "...are expected to be based on the Royal Norwegian Navy's Svalbard class design".

With steel-reinforced hulls, they will be capable of operating in ice up to one metre thick, and each vessel will also be equipped with a helicopter landing pad. They will be able to patrol the length of the Northwest Passage during the summer navigable season and its approaches year-round, and will also be capable of full operations on the east and west coasts throughout the year. Critics have noted that the vessels are less capable than the three larger icebreakers Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in 2006 most notably the Navy League of Canada which described the 25-millimetre gun as a "pea shooter".[14]

Press reports in 2009 suggested that the Arctic Patrol Ship Project had been postponed,[14] however, when the vessels are acquired, the Nanisivik Naval Facility, a deep-water port to be constructed for the RCN at Nanisivik, Nunavut will allow these patrol ships to resupply and refuel.[15][16]


The Halifax-class Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) program has been established and a contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin. It is believed that introduction of the active phased array radar (APAR) that the Canadian Forces developed with the Dutch navy will not be undertaken during FELEX due to the weight of the system and stability considerations. Canada is considering a 4-to-10 vessel replacement program for the Iroquois-class destroyers, likely involving the use of APAR. To save money, the replacement classes for the Iroquois- and Halifax-class ships will have identical hulls and propulsion systems. Canada plans to upgrade her Frigates with a missile guidance system for sea to sea and sea to air missiles. There is also the possibility of arming the Sea King replacements with anti ship missiles.

A mid-life upgrade program for the Kingston-class patrol vessels appeared on a list of the Chief of the Maritime Staff's project priorities, but was cancelled. The government also indicated plans outlined in the Canada First Defence Strategy that will replace the Iroquois class destroyers and Halifax class frigates with the Single Class Surface Combatant Project. The Department of National Defence has not identified a procurement timeframe for the Iroquois replacements, although it has been reported that design work is underway and a project office and personnel have been assigned.

Historical fleet

Commissioned 1910–1930






Survey ships


  • HMCS Algerine (converted from civilian use)
  • HMCS Shearwater (converted from civilian use)

Patrol boats

Torpedo boat

Commissioned 1930–1950

Aircraft carriers







Armed trawlers

  • HMCS Anticosti (T274) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Baffin (T275) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Cailiff (T276) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Ironbound (T284) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Liscomb (T285) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Magdalen (T279) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Manitoulin (T280) (Isles class)
  • HMCS Miscou (T277) (Isles class)

Armed merchant cruiser

Training schooner

Armed yachts


  • HMCS Adversus (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Alachasse (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Andrée Dupré (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Bras d'Or (auxiliary minesweeper)
  • HMCS Cedarwood (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Dundalk (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Dundurn (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Eastmore (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Fleur de Lis (auxiliary)
  • HMCS French (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Jalobert (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Laurier (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Laymore (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Macdonald (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Macsin (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Marvita (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Mastodon (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Mont Joli (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Moonbeam (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Murray Stewart (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Nitinat (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Norsal (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Preserver (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Provider (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Rayon d'Or (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Reo II (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Ross Norman (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Sankaty (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Shulamite (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Standard Coaster (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Star XVI (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Sunbeam (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Vencedor (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Venosta (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Venture II (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Viernoe (auxiliary)
  • HMCS Whitethroat (auxiliary)

Fisherman's reserve

  • HMCS Allaverdy (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS B.C. Lady (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Barkley Sound (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Billow (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Bluenose (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Camenita (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Canfisco (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Cape Beale (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Cancolim (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Capella (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Chamiss Bay (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Combat (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Comber (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Crest (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Dalehurst (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Departure Bay (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Early Field (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Ehkoli (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Fifer (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Flores (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Foam (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Howe Sound I (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Joan W. II (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Johanna (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Kuitan (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Leelo (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Loyal I (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Loyal II (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Maraudor (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Margaret I (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Meander (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Merry Chase (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Mitchell Bay (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Moolock (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Moresby II (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Nenamook (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Ripple II (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS San Tomas (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Santa Maria (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Seiner (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Signal (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Smith Sound (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Spray (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Springtime V (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Stanpoint (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Surf (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Takla (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Talapus (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Tordo (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Valdes (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Vanisle (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS West Coast (Fisherman's Reserve)
  • HMCS Western Maid (Fisherman's Reserve)

Torpedo boats

  • HMCS Santa Maria (patrol boat)
  • HMCS San Thomas (patrol boat)
  • HMCS CMTB-1 (torpedo boat)
  • HMCS S-09(torpedo boat)

Commissioned 1950–1989

Majestic-class light aircraft carrier

St. Laurent-class helicopter destroyers

(initially built as destroyer escorts, later refit and redesignated)

Restigouche-class destroyer escorts

Mackenzie-class destroyer escorts

Annapolis-class helicopter destroyers

Iroquois-class area air defence destroyers

(decommissioned ships only, see also "current ships" section above)

Balao-class submarine

Tench-class submarine

  • HMCS Rainbow (SS 75) (II)

Oberon-class submarines

YMS-1-class minesweeper

  • HMCS Cordova (MCB 158)

Bay-class minesweepers

Bird-class patrol vessels

Provider-class auxiliary oil replenishment

Cape-class escort maintenance ships

Porte-class gate vessels

Miscellaneous vessels

Wind-class icebreaker

  • HMCS Labrador (AW 50)

Hydrofoil prototype


Diving support ship

Mine sweeping auxiliary ships

Yard Diving Tenders

  • CFAV Raccoon (YDT 10)

YAG 300 Series Training Vessels

  • CFAV Grizzly (YAG 306)
  • CFAV Wolf (YAG 308)
  • CFAV Otter (YAG 312)
  • CFAV Caribou (YAG 314)
  • CFAV Badger (YAG 319)
  • CFAV Lynx (YAG 320)

See also


  • "Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class Frigates Modernization and Life Extension Program". August 22, 2013. 
  • "Welcome to PMO JSS". Canadian Department of National Defence. 16 May 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • "Navy supply ships to be replaced". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 14 July 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  • The Canadian Press, 2010-10-11
  • "Halifax, B.C. yards win shipbuilding work". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 19 October 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2012. 
  • Canadian Forces Maritime Command and DND might show an interest in the French made the Mistral Class
  • Future Canadian Amphibious Assault Ship and Joint Support Ship
  • Department of National Defence "Canada First Defence Strategy"
  • Reuters (7 January 2011). "Le Canada s'intéresse aux Mistral de DCNS". Reuters. Retrieved 7 January 2011. 
  • The eighth and final vessel in the class, Moose 62, was delivered 27 Nov 2008. Pam Lloyd (27 November 2006). "Navy welcomes Orca to Pacific Fleet". Lookout. Archived from the original on 27 August 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • "Arctic patrol vessels approved by committee". CBC. 13 May 2007. Archived from the original on 16 May 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • "Background — Armed Icebreaker / OPV — Norway’s K/V Svalbard". Canadian American Strategic Review. 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 17 September 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • Doug Thomas. "Canadian Naval Arctic Patrol Vessels". Canadian Naval Review. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • 14.0 14.1 "Construction of promised Arctic patrol boats postponed". CBC. 17 June 2009. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009. 
  • "Ottawa buying up to 8 Arctic patrol ships". CBC. 9 July 2007. Archived from the original on 3 July 2007. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  • "B.C. firm wins design contract for Arctic naval port". CBC News. 26 November 2009. Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
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