Vanguard Magazine

Vanguard October/November 2023

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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16 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2023 INTERVIEW INTERVIEW WITH Cmdre KEITH COFFEN, DIRECTOR GENERAL MARITIME EQUIPMENT PROGRAMME MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE MAINTAINING and the refurbishment or replacement of major systems. We have significant organ- ic capability in the form of the RCN Fleet Maintenance Facilities, we have well-estab- lished contractual relationships with our original equipment manufacturer partners, and we have significant flexibility to estab- lish new relationships with industry where necessary. As your readers may recall, we contracted a third shipyard partner to con- duct Halifax-class Docking Work Periods (DWPs) in 2019. This move increased our DWP capacity, which is essential to our abil- ity to maintain 12 ships in service as DWPs have increased significantly in complexity and duration due to the advancing age of the ships and the increasing level of effort necessary to maintain them. There have been a few issues with hull and propulsion related systems that were not addressed by the Halifax-class Mod- ernization/Frigate Life Extension (HCM/ FELEX) refits, but in general these issues have been well managed. Some examples of action outside the scope of the HCM/ FELEX were the replacement of the legacy MWM Diesel Generators with Caterpillar units that have proven to be very reliable in service, and the establishment of con- BY TERRI PAVELIC T he Maritime Equipment Pro- gram supports the life cycle management of all Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ves- sels through the provision of maintenance, repair, engineering, inspec- tion and testing, and disposal services. These vessels include 12 Halifax-class frig- ates, four Victoria-class submarines, 12 Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, four DeWolf-class Arctic and Off- shore patrol Vessels (two more in build), eight Orca-class training vessels and 74 auxiliaries. Director General Maritime Equipment Program Management (DGMEPM) is responsible to Assistant Deputy Minister (Materiel) for compliance with the materiel acquisition and support policies and guide- lines for the life cycle support of vessels. We recently spoke to him to understand the status and the future plans for RCN's vessels. Prior to his current appointment, he was at NDHQ's Materiel Group as Director Maritime Equipment Program Management (Submarines) as well as a wide array of submarine sustainment roles. In non-submarine roles, he served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Engineering Op- erations in Maritime Forces Atlantic HQ, and Chief of Staff for the Canadian Surface Combatant project. Please find questions below, they are broken down by platform: Halifax-class frigates, Victoria-class submarines, Kings- ton-class MCDVs, DeWolf-class AOPVs and autonomous vehicles. Halifax-class frigates: Q Understanding the Halifax-class frigates are all now over 25 years old, with the RCN's intent to operate these ships until they replaced by the Canadian Surface Combatant project, what chal- lenges are you seeing in maintaining fleet availability? Specifically, are there issues with hull and propulsion related systems that were not addressed during the mid- life Halifax-class Modernization refits? The Halifax-class frigates will continue to serve as the core of the RCN's capability for the foreseeable future. In terms of the posi- tives, we have a robust maintenance capa- bility supporting the class, from component level repair and overhaul up to the ability to carry out highly intrusive hull remediation

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