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Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship AOPS

Weinie

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Absolutely elements of the army regret not putting an ATGM capability on the LAV. M113 TUA and LAV TUA were divested as “not needed for Afghanistan” and now we have units tasked to deter Russians without a modern ATGM capability. If we had bought LAV3 with Bradley turrets instead, with their TOW missiles, then we might be in a better place now for the more modern war type missions we are currently receiving.

Similarly, the AOPS is well suited for domestic and constabulary type roles, and so long as that’s all the RCN is tasking them with, they’ll be fine. But if they ever receive a NATO, DPRK or a China-related task, these new ships may not be able to contribute much. And they will be much more expensive in terms of both money and personnel than the MCDVs.
Wouldn't it be better, to have a capability, and then not have to use it, than to not have a capability, and get your ass kicked. Just asking.
 

Stoker

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Wouldn't it be better, to have a capability, and then not have to use it, than to not have a capability, and get your ass kicked. Just asking.
If that was the case all ships would be armed to the hilt. Most of my career I have been in ships only lightly armed carrying out missions the AOPS will be doing, not once did I feel unsafe.
 

Underway

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Similarly, the AOPS is well suited for domestic and constabulary type roles, and so long as that’s all the RCN is tasking them with, they’ll be fine. But if they ever receive a NATO, DPRK or a China-related task, these new ships may not be able to contribute much. And they will be much more expensive in terms of both money and personnel than the MCDVs.
Like an MCM or other specialized asset, they will only go into a combat zone under the cover of warships, or after the area has been pacified. Why is it so easy to accept that the army/airforce has specialized platforms but the navy has to have all singing and dancing ones?

The whole point of having a domestic patrol vessel is to free up the warfighting assets. Frigates do the fighting. They go on dangerous missions. AOPS has a different role. One that is valuable, necessary, doesn't cost $120,000 a day or requires harpoon missiles (which of course could be installed in about 2 days given how the Terra Nova was converted for the Gulf War).

Even if you up-gunned an AOPS it would be a sitting duck to any ASM given the fact it doesn't have a CMS, 3D radar, ESM, ECM. If you're going to add all that stuff then you might have well just built CSC. Canada doesn't build warships without making them so their sailors can come home. The main thrust of CSC is survivability.
 

Underway

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Wouldn't it be better, to have a capability, and then not have to use it, than to not have a capability, and get your ass kicked. Just asking.
We have that capability. In the FRIGATES. This is like saying a LUVW needs a 120mm. Just in case.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Even if you up-gunned an AOPS it would be a sitting duck to any ASM given the fact it doesn't have a CMS, 3D radar, ESM, ECM.
I always advocated the self defence systems as well, what do other navies put on their OPV's in regards to Combat suites and Self defense systems? There are a lot of small patrol vessels that are designed to go into harms way, I suspect they have some protection systems?

On another note, could an AOP's act as a refueler for a Frigate, as I understand it, two vessels can RAS together to a limited extent without an AOR present? I was thinking in how much spare fuel can a AOP's carry and how many times could it resupply a Halifax Class?
 

Underway

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I always advocated the self defence systems as well, what do other navies put on their OPV's in regards to Combat suites and Self defense systems? There are a lot of small patrol vessels that are designed to go into harms way, I suspect they have some protection systems?
Unless you have a full suite of self-defence systems it's a waste of money IMHO. In order to get a PKill high enough to shoot down anything that wasn't made during the cold war, you have to know what is being shot at you (ESM). Then you have to know how to kill it soft and hard kill (ECM, various guns/missiles) and have that combination of defensive measures onboard. Each missile type is its own unique snowflake which requires a different response from the defending ship. Which means you need a full suite of defensive measures to survive. All the tools in the toolbox.

Given Canadian CONOPS we can't predict where we will be operating, thus we can't design a ship with one note defensive measures and hope that those work (ex: Pakistan can plan for India, we have to plan for everyone...).

This is the core of my opposition for more weapons on AOPS as an integral part of the ship's design. Expensive one-note defensive systems add significant operating and purchasing costs without adding useful effectors. Patrol ships are supposed to be cheap. Let's save the RCN some money here because CSC is gonna be expensive.

Modular add on systems for specific mission sets? Yes, develop the MCM package, developed an ASW sensor package with TRAPS and an embarked helo etc... but don't expect the AOPS to be fighting in a hot zone.

On another note, could an AOP's act as a refueler for a Frigate, as I understand it, two vessels can RAS together to a limited extent without an AOR present? I was thinking in how much spare fuel can a AOP's carry and how many times could it resupply a Halifax Class?

Without the RAS Mast and pump room on an AOR it would not be easy. You might be able to go alongside one another and pump but the evolution generally requires specific gear while underway.

Just a nice video showing how the setup works even if it is an advertisement for a trainier.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Thanks for your replies Underway. I could see the AOP's acting as a refueling station in the Arctic for MCDV's and Frigates, in a protected anchorage.
As for the defense of the AOP's you are right that we will never know where and what the threat may be. I would still like to see an ability to protect itself against older Anti-ship missiles and suicide drones/loitering munitions that will be proliferating. I agree that getting a defense against modern ship to ship missiles would be cost prohibitive, but i would like to see that basic layer.
 

Kirkhill

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Wouldn't it be better, to have a capability, and then not have to use it, than to not have a capability, and get your ass kicked. Just asking.
Then you can only afford to buy 2x AOPS or 80x second hand Leopards.
 

FJAG

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Then you can only afford to buy 2x AOPS or 80x second hand Leopards.
Just as a useless bit of information, our Leopard 2s came in at a base price of $100,000 apiece at the second-hand Leopard shop in the Netherlands. We could have gotten a whole lot more Leopards (and even a herd of M109s) for the cost of one AOPS. Not sure you could get them again at that price. Also not saying whether we should have or not. Just saying ...

:giggle:
 

Swampbuggy

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Out of curiosity, and I may have mentioned it before, but, is an AOPS capable of doing something like CTF 150 patrols in Gulf of Aden? I'm wondering if the max speed is too limiting a factor to be truly effective or if there's anything else inherent in the class that counts them out.
 

Pelorus

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I would suspect that in the grand scheme of things 18 kts (or whatever the AOPS top speed is) is not really significantly different than 30 in the context of maritime interdiction. Most dhows are probably not ripping across the ocean at 20+ kts, and any sort of small speedboat is going to outrun both types of vessel.

Is more speed nice if you need to intercept someone who's a ways away? Undoubtedly. But I would guess (and this is just a guess) that most CTF 150 stuff involves hanging out near known areas of higher traffic based off of historical observations of pattern of life.

That said, I think it will be some time before you see an AOPS go that far. I imagine that you'll see them sorting out the 1s and 0s of maritime interdiction in AOPS on Op CARIBBE. To see an AOPS assigned to CTF 150 would possibly be when there is a political/strategic imperative to commit a Canadian asset to the mission, and a frigate is unavailable (some years down the road when they begin to rust out?).

The main advantages of a frigate for that mission vice an AOPS is a) the flexibility to re-roll the high readiness crew into any conceivable mission in the world that the government could ask of the RCN, b) the ability for true 24/7 ops, c) the better helicopter support, and d) the significantly better self-defence capability which allows flexibility to go into "CTF 150-adjacent" areas (i.e., Strait of Hormuz or near to the coast of Somalia) if required.
 

Good2Golf

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Just as a useless bit of information, our Leopard 2s came in at a base price of $100,000 apiece at the second-hand Leopard shop in the Netherlands. We could have gotten a whole lot more Leopards (and even a herd of M109s) for the cost of one AOPS. Not sure you could get them again at that price. Also not saying whether we should have or not. Just saying ...

:giggle:
…ah the in-fighting cost argument.

Always great to see one service want to screw another service over to get more of what it wants than to make the pitch upwards to have its requests/needs/wants stand on their own merit…how’s that internal AD capability doing BTW?
 

Swampbuggy

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To see an AOPS assigned to CTF 150 would possibly be when there is a political/strategic imperative to commit a Canadian asset to the mission, and a frigate is unavailable (some years down the road when they begin to rust out?).

It was this possible lack of available frigates that got me into this line of thinking. And to your earlier point regarding speed of AOPS vs speed of dhow, I completely agree. With the AOPS having the ability to deploy 2, 3 or maybe even more small craft (RHIBS, work boats etc) that are capable of 25 or 30+ knots, it's not as important to have your main asset be able to make a similar speed.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The AOP's would offer persistent presence which is also a factor. Often very fast vessels have a limited fuel load, or food/water supplies.
 

FJAG

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…ah the in-fighting cost argument.

Always great to see one service want to screw another service over to get more of what it wants than to make the pitch upwards to have its requests/needs/wants stand on their own merit…how’s that internal AD capability doing BTW?
Go ahead. ... With a straight face try to tell me that this is not the way of it in Ottawa. ... Try to tell me that fighting for resources at the expense of their peers isn't the number one challenge that every CLS, CAS, CNS are involved in ... with a straight face.

:giggle:
 

Swampbuggy

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The AOP's would offer persistent presence which is also a factor. Often very fast vessels have a limited fuel load, or food/water supplies.
There's also the mission planning space and flexibility to consider. I think the weapons suite is also fairly well suited to that sort of mission. May be a viable option if frigates are in shorter supply.
 

Good2Golf

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Go ahead. ... With a straight face try to tell me that this is not the way of it in Ottawa. ... Try to tell me that fighting for resources at the expense of their peers isn't the number one challenge that every CLS, CAS, CNS are involved in ... with a straight face.

:giggle:
In my experience, the Navy was the most honest and often would provide options within its own means for addressing in-service issues. Air Force middle of the road, and the Army seemed to have a penchant for espousing ‘equal’ share of capital, notwithstanding well-regarded data that things that fly or sail are capital intensive. The irony being that the Army seemed less adept at the PY game after the Navy and Air Force endured years and years of purple “Jarmyoint” force build up (1 Cdn Div as “J”oint).

The Navy and Air Force matured their organizational make up years, even decades ago. Frankly, the Army is still out walking in a snow storm trying to figure out what it wants to be…heavy, mech, what about light, 9 BNs, 6+PRes?, symmetrical, asymmetrical, own AD or not, mortars, pioneers, combat sp pl, etc.?

YMMV
 

FJAG

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In my experience, the Navy was the most honest and often would provide options within its own means for addressing in-service issues. Air Force middle of the road, and the Army seemed to have a penchant for espousing ‘equal’ share of capital, notwithstanding well-regarded data that things that fly or sail are capital intensive. The irony being that the Army seemed less adept at the PY game after the Navy and Air Force endured years and years of purple “Jarmyoint” force build up (1 Cdn Div as “J”oint).

The Navy and Air Force matured their organizational make up years, even decades ago. Frankly, the Army is still out walking in a snow storm trying to figure out what it wants to be…heavy, mech, what about light, 9 BNs, 6+PRes?, symmetrical, asymmetrical, own AD or not, mortars, pioneers, combat sp pl, etc.?

YMMV
Can't argue too much with that although it took the Air Force a lot of time to wrap its brain around the whole tactical air concept as air defence and air superiority was dropping away. I guess that's the middle of the road stuff.

The trouble with the Army is that it is PY more intensive then the other two combined and that eats up a lot of cash by and of itself. On top off that equipment is now both more numerous (per capita) than it was and also more expensive than it was. Individually Army capital costs pale in comparison to Air or Navy projects but the individual systems add up substantially in the aggregate. The army still has to choose which five of the ten most critical capabilities needed it will have to forego for the next decade. Not a good way of having to do business.

My personal opinion about the Army's position isn't so much that it doesn't know which way to go, its that the place where it is now was as a result of assumptions made in the late 1990s about where it needed to be by 2020 and that those assumptions were just wrong. Even worse, I think it was foreseeable that those assumptions were wrong. It is now trying to figure out how to correct course within the limited financial envelope available. I'll be blunt, I blame Hillier for a lot of what went wrong. The problem with a dynamic personality is that sometimes it convinces you to go where you know that you shouldn't be.

🍻
 

Good2Golf

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Perhaps the Army could give the Navy’s ‘Leadmark’ methodology a look to ensure that assumptions in its assessment/mission analysis have a stronger element of strategy to balance its strong sense of tactical acumen?
 
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