Canada is reportedly preparing to counter Russian presence in the arctic.
The Royal Canadian Navy is choosing Britain’s Type-26 frigate design, a multimission ship which is mostly designed as a submarine hunter, as well as to defend from hostile missiles and aircraft.
The Canadian government gave the announcement in mid-October that a team led by Lockheed Martin Canada was selected as the “preferred designer.” As reported by Defense News, the team was offering up British defense firm BAE Systems’ Type-26 design.
It is rather surprising, because Britain began working on its first ever Type-26 frigate in Summer 2017 and there is high chance for cost overruns and delays. According to Defense World, however, the choice of a purpose-built submarine hunter shows that the country “is willing to accept those risks because of the strategic threat Russia poses to Canada’s interests at the rapidly thawing top of the world.”
“For the Canadians, anti-submarine warfare is a big deal,” said Bryan Clark, a retired U.S. submarine officer and analyst with the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. “If you are worried about the Russian sub threat and the air threat, then, yeah, the Type 26 makes sense.”
BAE executives said that the Type-26 was designed with hunting submarines in mind.
“That was a huge discriminator for us,” Anne Healey, a vice president with BAE Systems, told a roundtable of reporters at the Euronaval conference. “We are extremely quiet, and we are probably the world’s most advanced frigate … and that’s a key element of what sets us apart and what’s valued by the Canadian Navy.”
Gary Fudge, a vice president with Lockheed Martin Canada said that the shift towards anti-submarine warfare is an industry trend.
“For the last 15 years, most allied navies have put their efforts into anti-air warfare, whereas the threat that has emerged in the last 15 years is largely in submarine technologies,” Fudge said. “So, we wake up 15 years later finding that the focus has gone into anti-air, but the real threat is in submarines. The number of submarines produced in the 15 years is phenomenal, and now the world has woken up and it doesn’t have the same ASW capability anymore and it hasn’t kept pace with the anti-air warfare technology. So, Canada is very interested in getting back on track.”
All told, Canada wants to buy up to 15 frigates with a notional total program cost of $60 billion all in. The deal is not final. According to Canadian Broadcast Corporation the decision of whether the deal will be concluded should come at some point during winter.
Furthermore, following the announcement of the INF treaty withdrawal by the US, on October 26th the US military had successfully intercepted medium-range missiles in a test of capability.
The Aegis system used in the latest test was fitted with a Standard Missile 3 Block IIA (SM-3 IIA) interceptor. It was the second successful intercept in a row for the SM-3 IIA and will give the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) more confidence that it has resolved design flaws that previously caused intercept failures, anonymous US officials said.
MDA Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves described the test as “a superb accomplishment and key milestone.”
Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote testing and development of missile defense systems, said that the successful test would also keep plans to deploy the Aegis system to Poland on track.
The Poland deployment plan is supposedly aimed at defending from an attack by Iran, but it is also condemned by Russia.
The Aegis system can potentially be repurposed to offensively launch nuclear missiles.
In the test, the intercepting missile was launched from the USS John Finn in the Pacific after radar on the destroyer detected and tracked the medium-range ballistic target missile. The target missile was launched from the Pacific Missile Range Facility at Kauai, Hawaii, the MDA said.
An anonymous US official said that in the coming months there would be tests to intercept an intermediate-range missile in the coming months.
This all comes in addition to the beginning of Trident Juncture 2018, the largest NATO drill since the Cold War, which began on October 25th and will continue through November 23rd. The exercise will play out an invasion of an allied country, in this case of Norway.
On October 29th, Germany began exercises off the Finnish coast involving 3,600 sailors and troops, 40 ships and 30 aircraft from more than a dozen countries. The maneuvers will focus on keeping crucial sea routes open in times of conflict.
In addition to that, over the entire month of October the US Ramstein Airbase in Germany received its biggest ammo shipment for almost 20 years. The last time the airbase received such a large shipment was prior to Operation Allied Force in 1999, during which the US Air Force conducted some 900 air raids against then Yugoslavia.
On October 26th, Russian Foreign Ministry Department of Nonproliferation and Arms Control Deputy Director Andrey Belousov said his country is preparing for war with the West, but only to defend itself against American aggression. He spoke to the UN after Russia lost a vote at the UN to gather support from other nations for the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.
“At a recent meeting, the US stated that Russia is preparing for war. Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I can confirm it. We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people.”
Tensions are rising high and it is no secret that a new Cold War is already taking place.