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RFPs for Canadian submarine upgrade are expected by end of 2023

Victoria-class submarine HMCS Windsor sails through Halifax Harbour. The submarine class is slated for modernisation. (Royal Canadian Navy)

Initial work packages under Phase 2 of the Royal Canadian Navy's (RCN's) Victoria-class submarine Modernization (VCM) project are scheduled to go out for tender.

According to a Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) official, requests for proposals (RFPs) for two VCM Phase 2 projects – flank sonar array modernisation and periscope modernisation – “are expected to be released to industry in late 2023”.

A further project for making improvements to the submarine galley is in the bid evaluation process and is almost complete. The DND official told Janes , “Contract for that work is expected to be awarded later this year.”

The RCN's four Victoria-class submarines are completing a series of deep maintenance cycles as a way of moving towards a new operational and maintenance profile, and these docking periods present an opportunity to upgrade the boats with new equipment under the VCM project.

The VCM work packages are being introduced in two phases. The first phase will remove obsolescent equipment and address maintenance issues, while the second phase will see improvements to situational awareness and habitability.

There are 17 projects in total “either in options analysis or definition” phases under the VCM, with 10 in Phase 1 and seven in Phase 2, the DND official said.

The remaining four VCM Phase 2 packages are still in the options analysis phase and are each expected to enter the definition phase individually in October 2023. These include a torpedo countermeasure launch capability, changes to improve the acoustic signature of the submarine, an air-monitoring system, and a data-fusion capability.

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