Navy’s aging warships getting harder to repair: Defence report

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OTTAWA — An internal Defence Department study has found that the Royal Canadian Navy’s maintenance facilities are having a harder time fixing Canada’s warships because of staff shortages, lack of spare parts and the age of the fleet.

The study also found the navy is critically short of sonar and sensor operators for its frigates and that ongoing challenges in getting Canada’s submarines into the water are hurting the navy’s ability to train new submariners to crew them.

The navy was found to have been able to conduct nearly all of its overseas missions by moving people and equipment around to where they are needed most.

The exception was the trouble-plagued submarine fleet, which the study found has not been able to operate as often as the government expects, in part due to problems with hull welds and the vessels’ batteries and diesel generators.

Navy officials told those conducting the study that they were working on plans to address the underlying problems, including putting more money and staff into the fleet maintenance facilities in Victoria and Halifax.

The study’s findings nonetheless underscore the importance of recruiting and of preventing any more delays in the long-running effort to replace Canada’s warship fleets.

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