Canada’s Future Submarine Capability

In recognition of the incredible complexity of sustaining defence capabilities, including timely defence procurement, the CDA Institute has initiated the ‘Force Development Series’, comprised of events involving a diverse range of subject matter experts and reports as a contribution to the national discussion on defence policy.

With the generous support of NATO and DND, the second roundtable event of the series was held in late November 2022, on the topic of sustaining Canada’s submarine capability. The objective of the event was to address, at a high level, the challenges ahead in sustaining Canada’s submarine capability, including the potential risks and consequences of a capability gap, and fostering open conversations amongst experts to generate creative, multi-stakeholder solutions-focused dialogues.

Topics covered during the event included the operational and strategic value of submarines to the Royal Canadian Navy in a changing security environment, high-level requirements and caveats for the Victoria-class replacement, Canadian procurement timelines contrasted with the Victoria-class lifespan, the Canadian political environment in the era of a National Shipbuilding Strategy, and the implications of potential submarine designers/ builders’ offerings and challenges.

This report summarizes the discussions held during the event, providing a comprehensive overview of the key points made by the invited experts. The report aims to promote better understanding and informed debate about the challenges associated with sustaining this critical capability for Canadians. Complying with the Chatham House rules, the report does not attribute any comments to individuals.

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