Dear J. G. Murray:
I am writing in response to your email addressed to the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, about the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program and the choice of deck guns. The Minister has asked the Department of National Defence to review your correspondence and reply on his behalf.
Thank you for providing your input and comments on this important matter. I have consulted departmental staff and they have advised me on the following.
The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) requirements include the need for a 127mm/5in Main Gun System (MGS). The selected Leonardo 127/64 Vulcano MGS fully meets the RCN’s requirements, and it is a proven weapon system that is in service with various allied navies.
There are obvious benefits to have commonality between CSC, the United Kingdom Type 26 and Australian Hunter Class Frigate, all of which are based on a common Type 26 parent ship design. However, in this case it was not feasible for Canada to procure the same MGS being used by the other two nations due to a lack of production line for such gun systems, namely the BAE Mk 45 MGS. While the United Kingdom and Australia are able to reuse existing guns currently in-service within their fleets, Canada does not currently employ a BAE Mk 45 MGS. Accordingly, reusing existing weapons was not possible and it was infeasible to purchase used weapons from other navies to be refurbished for CSC.
Canada is confident that the selected MGS is the right solution for the RCN.
Thank you for writing, and I hope that this information is helpful.
National Defence Corporate Secretary
To Whom It May Concern,
I have recently been in correspondence with the office of the Minister of National Defence regarding the choice of main gun armament for the Canadian Surface Combatant frigate program. Specifically, I questioned the choice of the Leonardo 127/64 Vulcano MGS over the BAE Mk 45 MGS as used by our allies on the frigates they are building based, as the CSC is, on the British Type 26.
I was told that “it was not feasible for Canada to procure the same MGS being used by the other two nations due to a lack of production line for such gun systems”. Further it was suggested that those nations were “able to reuse existing guns currently in-service within their fleets”, which struck me as unlikely.
As BAE Systems is the warship design partner on the Canadian Surface Combatant programme and as BAE Systems appears to be marketing the Mk 45 MGS to prospective customers, and providing it to the Australian and British frigate programs, can you tell me if the Department of National Defence is correct in there belief that there is a lack of a production line for these systems.
I look forward to hearing from you with respect to this matter.
J. G. Murray
In the event any answers are forthcoming I will pass them on.