The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) teamed with the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) to host a two-day Experimental Ship (X-Ship) industry day at Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Carleton, a local Naval Reserve Division.
As announced in March of 2016, the RCN designated HMCS Montréal as its X-Ship, a role it will hold for the next 4-5 years for the testing of innovative technologies and concepts intended to help improve the Navy’s current operational efficiency and to ready it for the introduction of future classes of ships.
Subjects covered during the Industry Engagement event included: an overview of the X-Ship program; a definition of RCN innovation areas of interest; an overview of the selection process; what industry can expect from the RCN; how selected industry partners will be engaged; and an explanation of the process of sea-trials for selected technologies.
Sea-trials enable the RCN and industry partners to collect data for use in future force development and ship builds, while also providing a first-hand view of possible benefits and pit-falls.
The RCN’s innovation interests include: Cyber / communications; logistics; energy production / efficiency; training and simulation; habitability; stress management; and remotely piloted systems.
The X-Ship is testing innovations in warship deployment, crew size, technology and sustainment to help prepare for the future RCN fleet and to improve the quality of life of its sailors.
Early X-ship trials were primarily focused on human factors, such as variations of crew size and the impacts of crew rest on performance; these trials will continue throughout the testing timeframe. Future trials will also deal with operational and technical matters, including structural health monitoring, environmental effects on the ship, and information systems.
HMCS Montréal is one of 12 modernized Halifax-class frigates which recently underwent a $4.3B upgrade and life-extension project.