CNTHA Chair Briefing 2004 - Report

Author: Don Wilson
Published: Jul 23rd 2009
Updated: 4 years ago

Canadian Naval Technical History Association (CNTHA)


TECHNICAL ENTHUSIASTS GATHER TO REVIEW PROGRESS WITH ASSEMBLING HISTORICAL RECORDS OF THE INDUSTRIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CANADA’S NAVAL SHIP DESIGN AND SHIPBUILDING ACTIVITIES.

Canadian Naval Defence Industrial Base (CANDIB) Project Briefing

The Crowsnest above the HMCS BYTOWN Wardroom at 78 Lisgar Street, Ottawa was a busy spot on Thursday 15 April 2004 as 33 members of the CANDIB Project Team and other naval shipbuilding enthusiasts received an update on the current state of the Canadian Naval Defence Industrial Base Project. The group reviewed the work that has been initiated to assemble an historical record of Canada’s naval shipbuilding and outfitting activities undertaken in the period from 1930 to the present time.

The Briefing was led by Mike Saker, Chair of the Canadian Naval Technical History Association, and anchored by Jim Williams, whose review of the naval Ship Design activities is leading the way in terms of research accomplished to date.

Visitors to this site are invited to view the complete presentation made at this meeting, including the speakers notes, which elaborate on the content of the slides which were displayed.

Attendees found this preliminary CANDIB report covering the design, contracting, building, overseeing, commissioning and outfitting of the fifteen classes of ships brought into service in this period of considerable interest. The activities of the seven Design Houses and numerous government and industrial Research and Development teams were addressed. Acknowledging that much of this historical research is still in its very early stages, the presenters were anxious to solicit the participation of those present and other knowledgeable contacts who may represent new sources of information and experience.

Mike Whitby, from DND’s Directorate of History and Heritage, spoke in strong support of this project, emphasizing that those involved in this work should not neglect to include discussion of controversial incidents of historical significance, assuring the audience that these and the records sought by the CANDIB Team represent an important resource for future research into an vitally interesting aspect of Canada’s national and naval history.

Following the Briefing there was an open discussion of the information provided and the future directions outlined. Several very useful suggestions were made which will be pursued as part of the ongoing phases of the CANDIB project. The comments included along with CNTHA/CANDIB responses (italicized):

  • It was noted that there has been very significant activity in the naval electronics systems field and it was hoped these system developments would be included in the Project. - It was confirmed that the project includes all aspects of warship technology;

  • Attention was drawn to the parallel universe of ship design and build activity which has existed for many years in the Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans programs with respect to ship design and development. The extent to which these activities may have crossed over and filled in between naval programs was suggested as possibly relevant to the CANDIB project interest in industrial activity and benefits. - Examination of complementary projects could well be a part of this study;

  • A suggestion was made that it might be valuable to include in the investigation the project work which never came to fruition as funded capital projects. - _Agree. To the extent that these projects had an industrial impact, they qualify for inclusion in CANDIB. Where there is no industrial impact, these “near” projects are considered as part of the broader CNTHA material;

  • Attention was drawn to the significant design/integration work that was undertaken to “Canadianize” the Oberon Class submarines. - Agree, it should be included; and

  • A serving naval engineering officer indicated that he and his colleagues in DND are currently working on a “Fleet Support Plan” and are investigating future needs. He noted there is a requirement in the work they are doing to articulate the industrial impact of future programs and it is likely that the work now being undertaken by CANDIB may be helpful in that regard. - Noted.

The CANDIB project members present took note of all comments and emphasized that they will accept material on any related matters and do not want to exclude anything. Following the briefing, many of the attendees remained in the Wardroom for further informal discussions and for lunch. It was reported that 14 of the attendees had taken the time to note their coordinates and to indicate their levels of interest in this important project.