Volume #14 - 945.|
RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES
DEFENCE COOPERATION AND SOVEREIGNTY IN THE ARCTIC
Memorandum from Minister of National Defence|
to Cabinet Defence Committee
February 20th, 1948|
PROVISION OF ICE-BREAKERS|
At the 40th† meeting of the Cabinet Defence Committee (8th† January, 1948) he question was raised of Naval participation in Arctic activities in relation to North American security, and specifically to ensure a greater measure of Canadian participation in the development of northern projects as might be approved as a result of the Canada-United States Basic Security Plan. The proposal that the Royal Canadian Navy should operate one or more ships capable of being used as ice-breakers was favourably received.
At the present time the Fleet does not include any ice-breakers or ships strengthened for ice navigation. The Department of Transport operates only four vessels which were designed primarily as ice-breakers. Of these only one, the N.B. McLean, can be classified as a seagoing ice-breaker and even this vessel has not the strength or endurance for other than the most limited Arctic operation.
The Naval Staff, after careful consideration, discussed the problem informally with representatives of the Department of Mines and Resources and Departmemt of Transport. The officers of these Departments agree that there is a requirement for ice-breakers expressly designed for the special conditions of Arctic operation and for use in connection with our growing commitments in that area.
Consideration has been given to the characteristics and relative merits of the different types of ice-breaker - Russian and United States. It is believed that the United States Edisto class which incorporates experience gained with the successful North Wind class, represents the culmination of ice-breaker design to date and that plans for a Canadian ice-breaker should be based on that vessel. Construction could be undertaken in a Canadian shipyard experienced in such work and it is tentatively estimated that such a ship would take about two years to build at a cost of approximately $6,000,000.
The major peacetime use of an ice-breaker would be to secure greater Canadian participation in the development of northern projects. At present it is necessary to rely upon United States assistance for all supply arrangements for these installations.
In war, the scale and tempo of such activities would be greatly increased and, in addition, Canada-U.S. Defence planning envisages a requirement for Arctic amphibious operations entailing the use of Canadian Naval task forces for which ice-breakers will be essential.
There are no provisions in existing estimates for 1948-49 for the planning or building of this vessel and, in addition, personnel for the ship's complement would have to be over and above the authorized Naval ceiling.
If this proposal iS acceptable, it is recommended that the necessary steps should now be taken to start construction on an ice-breaker to meet the requirements as set out in Appendix "A" hereto.20
APPENDIX "A" STAFF REQUIREMENTS FOR AN ICE-BREAKER
(a) To force a passage through the ice for any amphibious operation in the Arctic.
(b) To force passage through the ice for Supply Ships required to replenish or install Government operated stations in the Arctic, i.e. Weather, Loran, Air Stations, etc.
(c) Familiarization of Naval Personnel with Arctic conditions.
2. Secondary Functions
(a) To clear passage into Naval Operational Ports as required.
(b) Search and rescue work in the Arctic.
3. General Equipment
The ship to carry equipment standardized with U.S.N. Ice-breakers as far as possible.
(a) To be not less than 16 knots, clean bottorn in the deep condition.
(b) To have Diesel Electric propulsion.
To be capable of 10,000 miles at full speed. Arrangements to be made for the maximum additional fuel to be carried within the constructional limits imposed by the remaining Staff requirements.
(a) The draught not to exceed 29 feet fully loaded.
(b) The beam to be 60-65 feet.
The maximum number of multI.barrelled close range equipments to be carried. The outfit of ammunition to be double that allowed to similar weapons in a Destroyer.
To carry a pilotage radar set.
(c) VHF, for short range intercom with ships and aircraft.
(d) MFDF. No beacons are available north of Belle Isle.
(e) HFDF and/or UHFDF for SAR duties.
(f) Space allocation for a "Y" office.
(g) Radio homing aid for aircraft.
The ship to carry 3 months' fresh provisions and 6 months' dry provisions.
11. Special Features
(a) Bow propeller not required.
(b) To be capable of carrying an Aircraft.
(c) To be fitted with heeling and trimming tanks which are capable of carrying oil fuel.
(d) To be capable of towing a ship hauled close up astern.
(a) To carry two power boats of strong construction suitable for transporting stores and for beach landings.
(b) To carry two life boats and necessary life rafts.
To have the following:
(a) Degaussing equipment.
(b) Standard and LF Loran equipment.
(c) Gyro compass.
(d) Echo sounder and Kelvin sounder.
(e) Chernikeef type log for use in open water.
20ta recommandation fut approuvée par le Comité de la défense du Cabinet (CDC) 1e 3 mars et par le Cabinet 1e II mars.
21 Les abréviations dans cette section représentent 1es termes suivants :