Canada — Halifax-Class Modernization And Life Extension

The Cana­di­an Forces’ 12 Hal­i­fax-Class frigates, com­mis­sioned between 1992 and 1995, form the back­bone of the Navy. These mul­ti-pur­pose ships were pri­mar­i­ly designed to accom­plish the Cold War mis­sions of anti-sub­ma­rine war­fare (ASW) and anti-sur­face war­fare (ASUW), main­ly in the open-ocean envi­ron­ment.

In the years fol­low­ing the end of the Cold War, the roles of the Hal­i­fax-Class have changed. Cur­rent and evolv­ing threats are faster, more manoeu­vrable, and are mov­ing from open ocean areas to areas clos­er to the coast. The close-to-shore envi­ron­ment pos­es chal­lenges to sen­sors and weapons sys­tems due to high­er traf­fic den­si­ty and prox­im­i­ty to shore-based threats. In addi­tion, ships now face asym­met­ri­cal threats, such as ter­ror­ist attacks, that had not been envis­aged when they were designed. 

Inno­va­tions in pro­ce­dures and tac­tics have enabled the frigates to oper­ate effec­tive­ly in the new threat envi­ron­ment. How­ev­er, sen­sor and weapons enhance­ments are need­ed in order to enhance the ships’ abil­i­ty to deal with these new threats into the future. 

The Hal­i­fax-Class Mod­ern­iza­tion (HCM)/Frigate Life Exten­sion (FELEX) project will man­age both the mod­ern­iza­tion of the com­bat sys­tems and a planned mid-life ship refit pro­gram to ensure the frigates remain effec­tive to the pro­ject­ed end of their ser­vice life. This work will encom­pass mod­ern­iza­tion of the ships, includ­ing sys­tems upgrades, acqui­si­tion and instal­la­tion of new capa­bil­i­ties, such as enhanced radar, changes to the plat­form need­ed to accom­mo­date the new capa­bil­i­ties, and inte­gra­tion of all aspects of frigate oper­a­tions into an upgrad­ed com­mand and con­trol system. 

The HCM/FELEX project and sim­i­lar projects with­in the Hal­i­fax-Class Mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram will bring enhanced capa­bil­i­ties to the ships, which are required to meet the new threats and chang­ing oper­at­ing envi­ron­ments. These include: 

  • A new com­mand and con­trol system;
  • New radar suite;
  • IFF Mode S/5 – Inter­roga­tor Friend or Foe Mode S/5;
  • Inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tem upgrade;
  • Har­poon mis­sile sys­tem upgrade (sur­face to sur­face); and
  • Elec­tron­ic sup­port mea­sures upgrade.

Oth­er HCM projects include: 

  • Long-range infrared search and track sys­tem (SIRIUS); and
  • Evolved Sea Spar­row Mis­sile (sur­face to air) ESSM.

Relat­ed main­te­nance and sus­tain­ment activ­i­ties and projects will strive to main­tain equip­ment at its cur­rent lev­el of capa­bil­i­ty. These include: 

  • Pre­ven­tive, cor­rec­tive and unique mid-life main­te­nance activities:
  • Mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the BOFORS 57mm naval gun;
  • Replace­ment of the Shield II Mis­sile Decoy Coun­ter­mea­sures System;
  • Replace­ment of the inte­grat­ed machin­ery con­trol sys­tem; and
  • Replace­ment of the nav­i­ga­tion radar.

Plan­ning, prepa­ra­tion and coor­di­na­tion of the mod­ern­iza­tion began in 2005. Mod­ern­iza­tion and refit of the frigates began in Sep­tem­ber 2010, with the final ship esti­mat­ed for com­ple­tion in 2017. 

Depart­ment of Nation­al Defence, Canada 

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