Navy being put out to sea - Macleans.ca

Navy being put out to sea

Endures massive cuts while celebrating its centennial

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A massive budget shortfall brought on by the war in Afghanistan and changing military priorities is causing a huge reduction in the size of the navy. The number of Kingston-class maritime coastal defence vessels will shrink from 12 ships down to six, and a further three frigates will be put on limited duties. The HMCS Toronto and Ottawa and destroyer HMCS Athabaskan will have their combat systems cut back to sensors and communications only, while Protector-class supply ships will no longer be able to use a key weapon meant to destroy incoming missiles. “I have had to make difficult choices that will directly impact fleet capability and availability this year and possibly for the medium term,” wrote Vice Admiral Dean McFadden in a letter sent out to naval formations. “I fully recognize the challenge that these capability reductions will cause.” The cuts come as the navy launches an expensive program to modernize its Halifax-class frigates and begins to concentrate more on maintaining its submarines. “This is some happy 100th birthday isn’t it?” said Liberal senator Colin Kenny, former chairmen of the senate defence committee. “It means for the next few years there won’t be much of a navy.” However, Kenny said McFadden has made the right choices with the cards he’s been dealt. “If the Harper government is screwing him this badly I think he is making the right decision to protect the core of the navy.”

Montreal Gazette

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