Military Wiki
HMCS Corner Brook
HMCS Corner Brook.jpg
HMCS Corner Brook entering St John's Harbour on the east end of Newfoundland
Career (United Kingdom)
Name: Ursula
Builder: Cammell Laird, Birkenhead
Laid down: 10 January 1989
Launched: 22 February 1991
Commissioned: 8 May 1992
Decommissioned: 16 October 1994
Fate: Transferred to Canada
Career (Canada)
Name: Corner Brook
Acquired: 1998
Commissioned: March 2003
Status: Ship in active service
General characteristics
Class & type: Upholder/Victoria-class submarine
  • 2,185 long tons (2,220 t) surfaced
  • 2,400 long tons (2,439 t) submerged
Length: 70.26 m (230 ft 6 in)
Beam: 7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)
Draught: 5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)
  • Diesel-electric (37 MW)
  • 2 Paxman Valenta 16 RPA diesel generators, 4,070 hp (3,035 kW)
  • 2 GEC 5,000 kW motor-generators
  • 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) surfaced
  • 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h)+ submerged
  • Range: 10,000 nautical miles (18,500 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)
    Test depth: 200 m (660 ft)
    Complement: 53 officers and crew

    HMCS Corner Brook is a long-range hunter-killer submarine (SSK) of the Royal Canadian Navy. She is the former Royal Navy Upholder-class submarine HMS Ursula (S42), purchased from the British at the end of the Cold War. She is the third boat of the Victoria class and is named after the city of Corner Brook, Newfoundland. The submarine was launched in 1989 and entered service with the Royal Navy in 1992. The Royal Navy laid Ursula up in 1994. In 1998, Canada acquired the submarine from the United Kingdom. The vessel entered service with the Canadian Armed Forces in 2003. Renamed Corner Brook, the submarine took part in several military exercises both internationally, such as NATO exercises and domestic, such as Operation Nanook. In June 2011, the submarine ran aground in Nootka Sound, damaging the vessel's bow. The submarine was sent for refit in 2014 to complete the repairs.


    As built the Upholder/Victoria class was designed as a replacement for the Oberon class for use as hunter-killer and training subs. The submarines, which have a single-skinned, teardrop-shaped hull, displace 2,220 long tons (2,260 t) surfaced and 2,455 long tons (2,494 t) submerged.[1][2] They are 230 feet 7 inches (70.3 m) long overall with a beam of 25 feet 0 inches (7.6 m) and a draught of 17 feet 8 inches (5.4 m).[1]

    The submarines are powered by a one shaft diesel-electric system. They are equipped with two Paxman Valenta 1600 RPS SZ diesel engines each driving a 1.4-megawatt (1,900 hp) GEC electric alternator with two 120-cell chloride batteries.[1][3] The batteries have a 90-hour endurance at 3 knots (5.6 km/h; 3.5 mph).[3] The ship is propelled by a 4.028-megawatt (5,402 hp) GEC dual armature electric motor turning a seven-blade fixed pitch propeller.[3] They have a 200-long-ton (200 t) diesel capacity. This gives the subs a maximum speed of 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph) on the surface and 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) submerged. They have a range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph) and 10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km; 12,000 mi) at snorting depth.[1][4] They have a range of 8,000 nautical miles (15,000 km; 9,200 mi) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph).[1] The class has a reported dive depth of over 650 feet (200 m).[2]

    The Upholder/Victoria class are armed with six 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes. In British service, the submarines were equipped with 14 Tigerfish Mk 24 Mod 2 torpedoes and four UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon missiles.[1] They could also be adapted for use as a minelayer.[4] The submarines have Type 1007 radar and Type 2040, Type 2019, Type 2007 and Type 2046 sonar installed.[1] The hull is fitted with elastomeric acoustic tiles to reduce acoustic signature.[2] In British service the vessels had a complement of 7 officers and 40 ratings.[1]

    Refits and Canadian alterations

    During the refit for Canadian service, the Sub-Harpoon and mine capabilities were removed and the submarines were equipped with the Lockheed Martin Librascope Submarine fire-control system (SFCS) to meet the operational requirements of the Canadian Navy. Components from the fire control system of the Oberon-class submarines were installed.[5] This gave the submarines the ability to fire the Gould Mk 48 Mod 4 torpedo.[2] In 2014, the Government of Canada purchased 12 upgrade kits that will allow the submarines to fire the Mk 48 Mod 7AT torpedoes.[6]

    These radar and sonar systems were later upgraded with the installation of the BAE Type 2007 array and the Type 2046 towed array.[1][2] The Canadian Towed Array Sonar (CANTASS) has been integrated into the towed sonar suite.[2] The Upholder-class submarines were equipped with the CK035 electro-optical search periscope and the CH085 optronic attack periscope, originally supplied by Pilkington Optronics.[2][3] After the Canadian refit, the submarines were equipped with Canadian communication equipment and electronic support measures (ESM). This included two SSE decoy launchers and the AR 900 ESM.[2]

    Construction and career

    The submarine was laid down as HMS Ursula at Cammell Laird's Birkenhead yard on 10 January 1989. She was launched on 28 February 1991 and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 8 May 1992. Ursula was decommissioned on 16 October 1994.[7]

    Looking to discontinue the operation of diesel-electric boats, the British government offered to sell Ursula and her sister submarines to Canada in 1993.[8] The offer was accepted in 1998.[8] The four boats were leased to the Canadians for US$427 million (plus US$98 million for upgrades and alteration to Canadian standards), with the lease to run for eight years; the submarines would then be sold for £1.[7]

    Problems were discovered with the piping welds on all four submarines, which delayed the reactivation of ex-Ursula and her three sisters. The former Ursula was handed over to the Canadian Forces on 21 February 2003, and commissioned as HMCS Corner Brook on 26 June 2003.[7]

    Royal Canadian Navy

    After commissioning, Corner Brook was deployed on the east coast of Canada, based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.[9] During a refit in 2006, elevated levels of lead were detected aboard the submarine; they were believed to come from the lead-brick ballast blocks used aboard Corner Brook.[10] Between October 2006 and January 2008, Corner Brook was active for only 81 days.[11] The submarine participated in NATO exercise 'Noble Mariner' during May 2007.[12] During the exercise, which occurred in the Baltic region, Corner Brook successfully closed with the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious without being detected.[12] The submarine returned to Canada, and in August, she participated in Operation Nanook, a sovereignty exercise held in and around Iqaluit and the Baffin Island coastal and Hudson Strait areas.[9][12] That year, Corner Brook participated in the NATO exercise "Noble Warrior", marking the first time in 15 years that a Canadian submarine had been present in European waters.[9]

    In February 2008, Corner Brook departed from Halifax during a snowstorm for a three-month deployment to the Caribbean Sea. As part of the deployment, the submarine operated with the United States Joint Interagency Task Force South, which attempts to counter drug trafficking, people smuggling and piracy in the region. Corner Brook returned to Halifax in May.[13]

    In January 2009, Corner Brook was the 'target' for submarine detection exercises performed by HMCS Halifax and HMCS Montréal.[14] This was followed by a four-week, multi-ship training exercise in the North Atlantic during February and March,[15] then participation in the UNITAS multinational exercise off Florida during late April and early May.[16] During August, the submarine was involved in Operation Nanook 2009 conducting covert surveillance patrols in the vicinity of Baffin Island.[9]

    Early in 2011, Corner Brook took part in Operation Caribbe, before transiting to the west coast as part of her redeployment to Esquimalt, British Columbia.[9] On 4 June 2011 the submarine ran aground in Nootka Sound during manoeuvres off Vancouver Island. The submarine collided with the sea floor in 45 metres (148 ft) of water while travelling at a speed of 5.9 knots (11 km/h). The collision opened a 2-metre (6 ft 7 in) hole in the submarine's bow.[17][18] Two submariners were slightly injured.[18] After the grounding incident civilian and military submariners began pre-maintenance work on the submarine, in the expectation of an extended maintenance program. At the time, the process, length and cost of the work was unknown due to existing contracts.[19] A board of inquiry formed after the collision found that the cause of the collision had been human error.[20] In February 2012, post-collision photos of the dry-docked submarine were published, showing extensive damage to the bow; the media also cited unofficial sources, saying the pressure hull may be damaged beyond repair.[21]

    As of July 2014, Corner Brook began her Extended Docking Work Period (EDWP)[9] that was expected to take until 2017 to complete.[22]


    1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Gardiner and Chumbley, p. 532
    2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Saunders, p. 88
    3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Perkins, p. 196
    4. 4.0 4.1 Cocker, p. 123
    5. Perkins, p. 166
    6. Pugliese, David (26 September 2014). "Canadian government to spend $41 million for torpedo upgrade kits for submarines". Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Wertheim, pp. 77–78
    8. 8.0 8.1 Ferguson, p. 152
    9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Corner Brook (SSK 878)". Royal Canadian Navy. Government of Canada. 30 July 2014. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    10. "Ares". 
    11. MacKenzie, Christina. "Canada's subs stay warm and dry". Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 1 February 2008. 
    12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Blakeley, Darlene. "Trail breakers in the North". Canadian Navy. Archived from the original on 28 June 2010. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
    13. "Submarine excels in both warm and cold waters". Crows Nest. Maritime Command. Summer 2008. pp. 6–7. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 14 May 2010. 
    14. Walsh, Jason (6 February 2008). "Corner Brook’s workups test detection skills". The Maple Leaf. Archived from the original on 9 June 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    15. "Navy ships leave Halifax for training mission". CBC News. 17 February 2009. Archived from the original on 31 March 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    16. [1][dead link]
    17. Ware, Beverley (10 April 2012). "Sub in refit to get wet for first time in 5 years". Halifax Chronicle Herald. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    18. 18.0 18.1 Gordon, Rob (16 July 2013). "Navy submarine damage severe, internal report says". CBC News. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    19. McCracken, Erin (26 July 2011). "Investigation continues into sub crash". Goldstream News Gazette. BC Local News. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    20. "B.C. Sub Accident: Board Of Inquiry Blames Human Error". Huffington Post. 15 February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    21. "HMCS Corner Brook collision damage extensive". CBC News. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 
    22. Pugliese, David (25 September 2014). "Canadian navy gets more money to keep subs at sea". Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018. 


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