Canadian Surface Combatants

Fifteen new Canadian Surface Combatants (CSC) will ensure that Canada can continue to monitor and defend its waters and make significant contributions to international naval operations. These ships will be Canada’s major surface component of maritime combat power.

With its effective warfare capability and versatility, it can be deployed rapidly anywhere in the world, either independently or as part of a Canadian or international task group. The CSC will be able to deploy for many months with a limited logistic footprint.

The CSC provides the ideal foundation for the RCN’s future fleet, designed to serve Canada and the sailors of tomorrow well into the latter half of the 21st century.

The Canadian Surface Combatant – the right ship for the RCN and Canada.

A warship at its core

At its core, the CSC is designed to be combat-capable through the marriage of high-tech equipment and highly trained RCN sailors. Operationally, the CSC will be able to provide credible and relevant effect to deliver on the RCN’s mission set outlined in Canada’s defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged

The CSC will be able to conduct air, surface, sub-surface and information warfare missions simultaneously, whether in patrol conditions or full-scale combat. The crews will be trained and organized to be capable of conducting warfare operations 24/7 and to both fight and respond to any damage sustained.

The ship will:

  •  Be able to a perform a broad range of missions with North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), 5-Eyes nations, NATO, coalition partners, and with other Canadian government departments and agencies;
  • Have decisive combat power for operations at sea, and in support of joint-force operations ashore; and
  • Be well-enabled to support missions for counter-piracy, counter-terrorism, intelligence and surveillance, interdiction and embargo operations, humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, and law/sovereignty enforcement.

The ship’s capability suite includes:

  • Four integrated management systems, one each for the combat system, platform systems, bridge and navigation systems and a cyber-defence system;
  • A digital beam forming Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar and solid state illuminator capability;
  • The USN Cooperative Engagement Capability system;
  • A vertically launched missile system supporting long, short and close-in missile defence, long-range precision naval fires support and anti-ship engagements;
  • A 127mm main gun system and dual 30mm gun mounts;
  • A complete electronic warfare and countermeasures suite;
  • A fully integrated underwater warfare system with bow-mounted sonar, towed low frequency active and passive sonar, lightweight torpedoes and decoys;
  • Fully integrated communications, networking and data link capabilities; and
  • A CH-148 Cyclone multi-role helicopter, multi-role boats and facilities for embarking remotely piloted systems.

Survivability -- the ability to protect the crew onboard, maintain combat effectiveness under fire, and bring our sailors home safely on completion of the mission -- is reflected in ship requirements. These requirements include military design standards for critical shipboard systems, levels of protection from blast and fragmentation, reduced signatures, a battle damage control system and the full suite of sensors and weapons the ship carries to defeat threats. 

A node in a system of systems

The CSC is a significant component in a much broader system of systems, where interoperability is being elevated to integration. This system includes space-based assets, intelligence networks, advanced Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) collection platforms, and shore-based command and control facilities.

As part of this approach, the RCN will also take interoperability to the next level, enabling systems integration both with other Canadian Armed Forces capabilities and our closest allies. CSC will:

  • Be able to share significant amounts of data;
  • Contribute to a modernized NORAD;
  • Be able to leverage the radars of other allied ships and aircraft as though they were the ship’s own systems, providing a significantly greater ability to defend itself against highly sophisticated, modern missile threats; and
  • Be digitally integrated with the RCN and Defence enterprise ashore, in keeping with the RCN’s Digital Navy strategy.

A workplace and home for tomorrow’s sailors

Ships are only as good as the sailors who sail them and going to sea has always involved some level of hardship, whether from the effects of the sea, the lack of privacy or simply the separation from family and loved ones. 

In keeping with an intent to ensure the Navy affords a safe, welcoming and inclusive workplace to all its members, the RCN is looking at the hardships of going to sea and aiming to lighten them in the CSC.

A small team, comprised mostly of junior-level sailors, surveyed close to 3,000 members of the RCN concerning everything from privacy to laundry facilities to recreation lounges and dining.

The three most significant priorities highlighted were in the areas of privacy, the ability to digitally connect with families ashore and improved fitness facilities. The RCN is now working to see how this feedback might be incorporated into the design of CSC, to produce a ship that can better accommodate tomorrow’s sailors and ensure that we remain committed to People First, Mission Always.


The CSC is being designed from the keel up to be multi-purpose in its capabilities, affording Canada the ability to deploy it across a broad spectrum of mission sets, and agility to adapt to a new mission, in hours not days or weeks.

Spurred by Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy, what lies ahead for a world-class industry team, led by Irving Shipbuilding Incorporated, Lockheed Martin Canada and BAE Systems, truly represents an immense opportunity. It all begins with ensuring the need to source the best equipment and right level of integration to enable and protect sailors in the future, so they can deliver on their mission.

Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy aims to not only deliver to Canada’s Navy and Coast Guard the ships they need, but also to create a sustainable marine sector in Canada and contribute economic benefits and highly skilled jobs to Canada’s economy.