Nova Scotia

Submarine HMCS Windsor back in water, with restrictions

After months out of the water for unscheduled repairs and maintenance, HMCS Windsor is back in the water with some restrictions.

Royal Canadian Navy vessel is the only submarine on the East Coast

The Royal Canadian Navy would not give an exact number of days HMCS Windsor was operational and in the water last year. (Molly Segal/CBC)

After months out of the water for unscheduled repairs and maintenance, HMCS Windsor is back in the water with some restrictions.

The submarine was taken out of operation in March 2014 because of a faulty generator — 18 months after its extended docking work period from 2007 to 2012. That planned docking period came with a price tag exceeding $200 million. 

Repairs and upgrades completed last year total just shy of $17.2 million — less than the $18.5 million the Royal Canadian Navy had budgeted.

The generator repair — which the navy told CBC News in February 2014 would cost $1.5 million — accounted for nearly $2.6 million of the $17.2 million total.

Other costs included:

  • Preventative maintenance: $2.8 million
  • Corrective maintenance: $6.1 million
  • Installation of engineering changes: $5.7 million

The navy would not reveal the number of days HMCS Windsor was operational and in the water last year.

"Prior to going into the work period in March, the Windsor was in the water and she did sail. Then again when she completed the work in at the end of November, she was able to sail in December," said Cmdr. Jay Harwood. 

"There's a wide, wide scope of what operationally ready is, from a lower state of readiness or a standard readiness up to a high readiness. So Windsor is operationally ready now to conduct the trials that it's required to do, to conduct the training that it's required to do."

That includes refreshing crew members on their training.

Harwood would not elaborate on the restrictions placed on HMCS Windsor, but said the vessel should be at "high readiness" by the spring or early summer.

"I won't get into any specifics here, but [HMCS Windsor is] able to conduct a range of operations," said Harwood. 

If NATO called on Canada for HMCS Windsor, the submarine's deployment "would depend on what NATO's request was for the submarine," he said.

"There are some very important trials that we need to conduct to further expand what she is able do right now," Harwood said.

HMCS Windsor's next extended docking period is scheduled for 2018.

The Windsor is one of Canada's four Victoria Class submarines, including HMCS Victoria, HMCS Corner Brook and HMCS Chicoutimi.

According to the navy, HMCS Windsor was at sea for 174 days between November 2012 and March 2014. 

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