The British sold HMS Upholder to the Royal Canadian Navy to which the boat reemerged as HMCS Chicoutimi SSK-879.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK-879) serves the modern Royal Canadian Navy as diesel-electric-powered attack submarine. The service operates four total boats, all centered on the Victoria-class refurbished from the ex-British Royal Navy Upholder-class. As such, HMCS Chicoutimi was HMS Upholder in her previous life (1990-1994). The Royal Navy gave her up for budgetary reasons in the post-Cold War drawdown.
Chicoutimi was acquired from the British government in 1998 and commissioned for service with the Canadian Royal Navy on September 3rd, 2015 with hull identification number SSK-879. She fights under the motto of "Maitre du Domaine" and remains in active service as if this writing (December 2017).
The boat features a displacement of 2,300 tons when surfaced and 2,540 tons when submerged. Overall length is 230.6 feet with a beam measuring 23.6 feet and a draught of 24.10 feet. The diesel-electric propulsion scheme involves 2 x Paxman Valenta 1600 RPZ SZ marine diesels of 2,035 horsepower coupled to 1 x GEC electric motor driving power to a single shaft astern. Speeds reach 12 knots when surfaced and up to 20 knots when submerged with a range out to 8,000 nautical miles.
Aboard is a crew of 48. The bow sonar fit is the Type 2040 active-passive system. The flank sonar installation is the Type 2007. The towed array is the Type 2046/CANTASS MOD. Fire control is handled by the Lockheed Martin Librascope SFCS mk 1 Mod C suite. The Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 is the radar fit.
Armament is 6 x 21" (533mm) torpedo tubes with 18 reloads (Mark 48 torpedo family).
The boat features a rounded, smooth bow with the sail positioned just ahead of midships. Dive planes are affixed to the hull near the bow and the tailplanes are arranged in a cruciform pattern.
When HMS Upholder was given over to the Canadians, several modifications took plane. One involved the complete removal of the Harpoon anti-ship missile capability as well as the mine-laying capability. The Lockheed Martin Librascope system was installed for Fire Control (FC) and support for the Mark 48 torpedo was added. Both the Electronic Warfare (EW) kit and the communications suite were updated to a Canadian Navy standard. Beyond this there were structural repairs that needed to be made for the class prior to their handover to the Canadians.
During transport in 2004, an onboard fire left her powerless on the surface near the Irish coast. She was eventually towed into harbor for repairs and found her way to Halifax. Additional work was had in 2005 and the vessel was finally transferred in 2009. Work was completed in early 2014 and sea trials began before the end of the year. Commissioning then followed in September of 2015.
Chicoutimi's career has been one fraught with issues. 2015 and 2017 saw incidents arise which required her to go to dock and receive repair work. In June of 2017, she ran into the patrol boat Cougar while attempting to exit the dockyard. Victoria's battery pack was put into Chicoutimi due to ongoing issues with the set.
October 2017 - Chicoutimi arrived at Yokosuka, Japan on her latest deployment.
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