The Royal Canadian Navy’s Resolve-class naval support ship Asterix has completed all trials and is en route to Canadian Forces Base Halifax where she will enter Royal Canadian Navy service and be operated by Federal Fleet Services Inc.
According to Davie Shipbuilding, the company in charge of converting the former containership into a fleet support ship, Asterix departed Québec City on December 23.
Upon arrival in Halifax, the ship will welcome aboard members of the Royal Canadian Navy to begin integration training during the month of January 2018 prior to supporting Canadian naval operations from February 2018, for the next 10 years.
Asterix is the first new naval support ship to enter service with the Royal Canadian Navy in over 50 years, Davie Shipbuilding said in the announcement. It is also the first large naval platform to be delivered from a Canadian shipyard in over 20 years and the first naval ship to be delivered since the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy.
“This is a proving point for Davie. When we began this program, we looked at what DND had been planning with the Joint Support Ships since 2005 and we quickly realized that the 26-year old German design could be improved upon,” Alex Vicefield, Chairman of Davie Shipbuilding, commented.
“For example, having only two replenishment-at-sea stations would mean that it does not fully meet the latest NATO requirements, which crucially calls for four stations. So, we set out to build an innovative, modern design of a naval support ship with the latest, state-of-the-art systems that would be fully compliant to meet Canada’s international and NATO commitments yet also provide a purpose-built platform for responding to humanitarian crises.”
As explained by Davie, the vessel was converted using the hull from a modern, high quality and ice-strengthened containership. During the conversion, the ship was stripped down to its keel and rebuilt in a modular fashion, installing the same key Canadian military systems that will be installed on Canada’s future naval fleet such as OSI of Vancouver’s Integrated Tactical and Navigation System, L3 MAPPS of Montreal’s Integrated Platform Management System and Hepburn of Toronto’s Replenishment-At-Sea Systems.
Other innovative features include an extensive intermodal handling area that is accessible at sea (a first within NATO), Canada’s first at sea hospital facility (with a full operating theatre) and an advanced aviation capability which is able to land all of the RCAF’s helicopters (including Chinooks).
Like the Joint Support Ship, the ship is capable of being fitted with a range of active and passive self-defence systems, including three Raytheon Phalanx 20mm Close-In Weapon Systems.
The ship will remain under the ownership of Federal Fleet Services and be operated by a mixed crew of Canadian merchant seafarers and Royal Canadian Navy personnel for at least the next 10 years. The ship has a service life of 40 years.
While Asterix remains under the ownership of Federal Fleet Services, it will fly the company’s House Ensign and be referred to as Motor Vessel Asterix.