Saint John Shipbuilding is the prime contractor for the Halifax Class frigate or Canadian Patrol Frigate programme. Nine of the 12 ships were constructed at the Saint John shipyards in Saint John, New Brunswick and three ships at Marine Industries Shipyards in Sorel. The multi-purpose frigates were commissioned between 1992 and 1997.
Halifax Class frigates, HMCS Regina and Fredericton, were deployed to conduct maritime interdiction operations in the Persian Gulf in support of the international campaign against terrorism.
In June 2007, the Canadian government launched a project to upgrade the Halifax Class frigates. The upgrade will include: new command system, Harpoon missile system upgrade, radar suite, interrogator friend or foe (IFF) mode S/5, tactical data links and countermeasures suite.
Related projects include the evolved Sea Sparrow missile system (ESSM) and the Thales Sirius infrared search and track system (IRST).
Refit began on the first frigate, HMCS Halifax, in October 2010 and all 12 frigates will be upgraded by 2017. The first upgraded frigate entered service in 2012.
In September 2007, Lockheed Martin Canada (with a team including Saab Systems, IBM Canada, xwave and CAE Professional Services), General Dynamics Canada (with Thales Nederland, Thales Canada, General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems and Raytheon) and Team Horizon (MDA and Atlas Elektronik with EADS Canada) were selected to bid for the combat systems integrator (CSI) programme. The General Dynamics team and Team Horizon declined to bid.
The Lockheed Martin team proposed the CanACCS-9LV Canadian advanced command and control system, based on the Saab9LV combat system. Lockheed Martin Canada was awarded contracts for the modernisation and support in September 2008.
As well as being principal subcontractor for the combat system, Saab will also supply two CEROS 200 fire control systems for each vessel. L-3 Communications was awarded the contract for the integrated platform management system (IPMS) in January 2009.
In March 2009, L-3 Communications awarded a $2.5m contract to Northstar Electronics to provide standard marine consoles and local operating panels for the IPMS. Northstar received an add-on contract in September 2009 to supply consoles for land-based trainers of the ships. Another contract worth $450,000 was awarded in August 2011 to supply additional control panels and machine control facilities.
The SHINPADS integrated processing and display system, supplied by Lockheed Martin Canada, provides a distributed architecture command and weapon control capability. The system uses about 15 AN/UYK-501 workstations manufactured by General Dynamics – Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada).
The ship’s communications control and monitoring system (CCMS) was supplied by SED Systems of Saskatoon. Lockheed Martin Electronic Systems Canada supplied the message processing system.
The ship’s surface-to-surface missile is the Boeing Harpoon block 1C. The two quadruple launch tubes are installed at the main deck level between the ship’s funnel and the helicopter hangar. The Harpoon missile uses active radar homing to deliver a 227kg warhead to a range in excess of 130km.
The Sea Sparrow vertical launch surface-to-air missile uses semi-active radar homing to deliver a 39kg warhead at speed Mach 1.6 to a range of 15km. The eight-cell launchers are installed port and starboard of the funnel.
The main gun on the bow deck is a 57mm 70 mk2 gun from Bofors. The gun is capable of firing 2.4kg shells at a rate of 220 rounds a minute to a range of more than 17km.
One Raytheon / General Dynamics Phalanx mk15 mod 1 close-in weapon system is mounted on the roof of the helicopter hangar. The six barrels of the Phalanx provide a firing rate of 3,000 rounds a minute.
The Canadian Navy has ordered upgrade kits to convert to the Phalanx block 1B. The block 1B upgrade includes a Thales Optronics HDTI5-2F thermal imager, improved Ku-band radar and longer gun barrel with a dual firing rate of 3,000 or 4,500 rounds a minute.
Deliveries of the new upgrade kits began in September 2002.
The ship’s two twin 324mm mk32 mod 9 torpedo tubes are installed at the bow end of the helicopter hangar. The torpedoes are the ATK (Alliant TechSystems) Mark 46 lightweight anti-submarine torpedo. The torpedo has a speed of 45kt and is equipped with active and passive homing and a 44.5kg warhead.
The ship has a helicopter deck with a single landing spot. The deck is fitted with a RAST (recovery, assist, securing and traversing) system supplied by Indal Technologies of Ontario, allowing the launch and recovery of helicopters in up to sea state 6.
The hangar can accommodate a 15t helicopter such as the Sikorsky CH-124A Sea King.
The ship’s decoy system comprises four BAE Systems Shield mk2 decoy launchers which fire chaff to 2km and infrared rockets to 169m in distraction, confusion and centroid seduction modes. The torpedo decoy is the AN/SLQ-25A Nixie towed acoustic decoy from Argon ST (formerly Sensytech) of Newington, Virginia.
The ship’s radar warning receiver, the Canews (Canadian electronic warfare system), SLQ-501, and the radar jammer, SLQ-505, were developed by Thorn (now Thales) and Lockheed Martin Canada.
Two Thales Nederland (formerly Signaal) SPG-503 (STIR 1.8) fire control radars are installed – one on the roof of the bridge and one on the raised radar platform immediately forward of the helicopter hangar.
The ship is also fitted with Raytheon SPS-49(V)5 long-range active air search radar operating at C and D bands, Saab Microwave Systems (formerly Ericsson) HC150 Sea Giraffe medium-range air and surface search radar operating at G and H bands, and Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I-band navigation radar.
In April 2006, the Canadian navy placed an order for 13 Sirius long-range Infrared Search and Track (IRST) systems with DRS Technologies Canada and Thales Nederland as major subcontractor. Sirius is a dual waveband (3-5 and 8–12 micron) surveillance system.
12 systems are for the Halifax frigates and one for land-based training. The first system, for training was delivered in May 2008.
The sonar suite includes the CANTASS Canadian towed array supplied by General Dynamics – Canada (GD-C), formerly Computing Devices of Canada and GD-C AN/SQS-510 hull-mounted sonar and incorporates an acoustic range prediction system. The sonobuoy processing system is the GD-C AN/UYS-503.
The Halifax is powered by a CODOG (combined diesel or gas) propulsion system with two GE LM2500 gas turbines and one SEMT-Pielstick 20PA6 V280 diesel engine. The propulsion system provides a maximum speed of over 30kt. CAE provided the integrated machinery control system, which was upgraded with flat screen monitors.
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