Ministers announce new remote naval weapons stations for install in Halifax Class ships

A poster showing the new Naval Remote Weapons Station that was displayed at the announcement ceremony.

Associate Minister of National Defence, Kent Hehr speaks with Lieutenant (Navy) Matthew Otoupal while visiting CFB Esquimalt March 15 for a procurement announcement of naval remote weapon stations to be installed in Halifax Class frigates. ~ Cpl Stuart MacNeil, MARPAC Imaging Services

Rachel Lallouz , Staff Writer

Royal Canadian Navy warships have taken another step into the future.

Last week, two ministers were in town to announce the purchase and installation of remote naval weapons stations on the Halifax-class frigates.

Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services Procurement Canada, and Kent Hehr, Associate Minister of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada, announced March 15 two contract awards, valued at $36 million, to Raytheon Canada Limited for the purchase of the remotely controlled gun stations.

The contracts ensure ongoing maintenance of the stations for up to five years, as well as the purchase of two additional weapons stations for use in training, bringing the total number of stations to 58.

“This is part of the Government of Canada’s strategy for renewing the ships and equipment of our navy,” said Minister Foote. “We are providing modern weaponry systems to defend against naval and aerial threats in any situation.”

Mark Nichol, President of Raytheon International Inc. in Canada, says the new weapons stations are high sensor platforms that will be located on the decks of the frigates and on the future Queenston-class Joint Support Ships.

He says that either a 7.6 light machine gun or 50-calibre heavy machine gun will be mounted on the stations.

The new stations will allow for defence against small boat and low-slow flyer threats, and will allow operators to remotely observe and locate targets under various environmental conditions.

“These platforms will allow the crew to remotely control weapons installed on these mounts from within the ship, rather than outside,” said Minister Hehr. “The new systems will provide increased security for the men and women who serve on our ships.”

Currently, weapon stations on board the frigates require gun operators to be outside on the ship deck operating the guns.

The remote naval weapons stations are scheduled to be installed during docking work periods, which occur every 16 months in the operational life cycle of a ship. HMCS Winnipeg is due to be the first ship outfitted with the new stations in early 2018.

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