Canada’s last Iroquois-class destroyer to be paid off on March 10

Photo: Royal Canadian Navy

Royal Canadian Navy’s last Iroquois-class destroyer HMCS Athabaskan is set to be decommissioned at the Canadian Forces Base Halifax on March 10, after 44 years of service.

The destroyer returned to her homeport on March 1 after completing the final underway of her career.

During the underway, HMCS Athabaskan conducted its last foreign port visit to Bermuda 44 years after making its first foreign port visit to Bermuda in March 1973.

Athabaskan is the last of four Iroquois-class destroyers in service with the Royal Canadian Navy. Lead ship in the class, HMCS Iroquois, is awaiting disposal, HMCS Huron was sunk in a live-fire exercise and HMCS Algonquin was sold for scrap in 2015.

Athabaskan was built by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd. In Lauzon, Quebec as the third warship of her class. She was launched on November 27th, 1970 and commissioned on September 30th, 1972.

Her primary weapons were anti-submarine which included mortars, homing torpedoes and two CH-124 Sea King helicopters armed with torpedoes. For defense against air and surface threats, HMCS Athabaskan originally had the Canadian Sea Sparrow missile system and a 5″ 54 caliber gun. Both these systems were radar controlled.

In April 1991, Athabaskan returned to Halifax to commence her TRUMP conversion, which prepared her for modern day warfare.

Iroquois-class destroyers along with Halifax-class frigates will be replaced by the Canadian Surface Combatant project ships which are expected to enter the construction phase in early 2020s.

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