Delays and rising costs eventually limited the planned twenty-strong Halifax-class multi-mission frigate group of the Royal Canadian Navy(RCN) to just twelve warships. The type was requested in December of 1977 (as part of the "Canadian Patrol Frigate Project" - CPFP) in an effort to modernize the RCN's Blue Water capabilities and succeed an aging line of escort and frigate types then in service. The end result were the dozen warships focused on anti-submarine operations (the Soviet Navy being the enemy of the day) along Canada's long-running coastline and beyond. The first contracts for the series were not handed out until June 1983 and this resulted in two batches of six ships being built to the Halifax-class standard - the first of the line becoming HMCS Halifax (FFH-330) herself.
HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341) became the last of the ships built and this vessel was laid down by Saint John Shipbuilding of Saint John, New Brunswick on April 29th, 1995. She was launched to sea for trials on May 31st, 1996 and formally commissioned into service with the RCN on September 28th, 1996 with pennant number "FFH-341". Today (2020) she homeports out of CFB Esquimalt and remains in active service with the Canadian fleet.
HMCS Ottawa follows the established Halifax-class design standard: she is rated at 5,300 tons under standard load and has a running length of 440 feet, a beam of 54 feet, and a draught of 23 feet. Power is from a CODOG (COmbined Diesel-Or-Gas) propulsion scheme involving 2 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines providing 47,500 horsepower and 1 x SEMT-Pielstick marine diesel adding 8,800 horsepower of its own. These are used to drive twin propeller shafts under stern and allow the vessel to reach speeds just beyond 30 knots out to ranges of 9,500 nautical miles.
Aboard is a crew of about 225 personnel that includes an air arm managing the functions of one or two Sikorsky CH-148 "Cyclone" navy helicopter(s). The warship (as modernized) is outfitted with the Saab "Sea Giraffe" HC150 G-band air/surface-search radar, the Thales SMART-S Mk.2 3D system, and the Saab CEROS-200 Fire Control System (FCS). Additionally, the hull houses an AN/SQS-510 sonar unit and carries the AN/SQR-501 CANTASS Passive towed array, variable depth sonar unit. Electronic Warfare (EW) is handled through the TKWA/MASS (Multi-Ammunition Softkill System).
Armament for this fighting frigate consists of 1 x 57mm Bofors turreted deck gun, 1 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS), 16 x "Evolved Sea Sparrow" (ESS) Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs), 8 x Mk 141 "Harpoon" anti-ship missiles, up to 6 x 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs), and 24 x Mk 46 torpedo reloads. Her multi-mission mindset means that her armament suite is designed to tackle just about every at-sea threat - whether operating independently or as part of the main fighting force.
The CH-148 Cyclone helicopter (supplanting the older CH-124 "Sea King" series) supported through a combination helipad/hangar over the stern provides an all-important over-the-horizon capability, extending the range and tactical value of the vessel. The helicopter is a relatively new development by the American Sikorsky Aircraft company and was inducted into the RCN ranks during July of 1018 after a prolonged development period. The series is based in the successful Sikorsky S-92 civilian type and modified for the over-water, at-sea role to accomplish various tasks, primarily those related to Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and anti-ship duty but also can include replenishment and Search and Rescue (SAR) sorties.
Like other warships in the group, HMCS Ottawa was given an extensive refit/modernization under the Frigate Equipment Life EXtension (FELEX) program to keep the vessels viable in the modern age. Changes were made to the armament, radar, EW and communications systems as well as Command and Control (C2) capabilities to broaden support for combating smaller, more agile vessels. During this time, the helipad and hangar facilities were modernized to accept the incoming fleet of CH-148 helicopters. The work on the class took place between 2010 and 2018.
The changes have added years to the class which is expected to survive against modern threats into the 2030s.
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September 2019 - HMCS Ottawa was identified transiting the Taiwan Strait amid rising tensions between China and the West.
HMCS Halifax (FFH-330); HMCS Vancouver (FFH-331); HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH-332); HMCS Toronto (FFH-333); HMCS Regina (FFH-334); HMCS Calgary (FFH-335); HMCS Montreal (FFH-336); HMCS Fredericton (FFH-337); HMCS Winnipeg (FFH-338); HMCS Charlottetown (FFH-339); HMCS St. John's (FFH-340); HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Offshore bombardment / attack of surface targets / areas primarily through onboard ballistic weaponry.
Offshore strike of surface targets primarily through onboard missile / rocket weaponry.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
✓Airspace Denial / Deterrence
Neutralization or deterrence of airborne elements through onboard ballistic of missile weaponry.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
440.0 ft 134.11 m
54.0 ft 16.46 m
23.0 ft 7.01 m
CODOG (COmbined Diesel-Or-Gas): 2 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbines developing 47,500 horsepower with 1 x SEMT-Pielstick marine diesel engine developing 8,800 horsepower to 2 x Shafts astern.
30.0 kts (34.5 mph)
9,472 nm (10,900 mi | 17,542 km)
kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers
1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
1 x 57mm Bofors Mk.3 turreted deck gun.
16 x Evolved Sea Sparrow medium-ranged Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) system.
8 x RGM-84 "Harpoon" anti-ship missiles.
1 x 20mm Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS).
24 x Mk.46 torpedoes.
6 x 12.7mm Browning Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs).
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
1 x Sikorsky CH-148 "Cyclone" navy helicopter supported from the stern-based helipad.
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.
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Image from the United States Department of Defense DVIDS image database.
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