The DDH 280 Story

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Author: Admin
Published: Feb 25th 2016

The Story of the DDH 280 Program

An Overview Assembled from Many Sources, initiated for CANDIB

by Douglas Hearnshaw

Version date: 24 March, 2006


The building of the DDH 280 destroyers for the Royal Canadian Navy spanned the period 1964 to 1973, when the last of the 4 ships was commissioned, and involved two major Canadian shipyards on the St. Lawrence River and a number of key subcontractors. The chief players were the DND as preliminary designers and owners, the DSS as government contracting agent, Marine Industries Ltd. as the lead yard shipbuilder and Davie Shipbuilding Company as follow yard shipbuilder. The Design subcontractor to the lead yard was the Naval Central Drawing Office, a facility located in Montreal at the plant of Canadian Vickers Ltd. The gas turbine main machinery subcontractor was United Aircraft of Canada Limited.

This presentation is intended to define the participants in the program, to describe their interrelationships and tell a brief story of how the DDH 280 Destroyer Program developed and successfully achieved its goals by producing four helicopter carrying destroyers, known as the Tribal Class, for the Royal Canadian Navy.

Since CANDIB is striving to record the history of this and other shipbuilding programs under its Oral History Project, it was felt important to set the context for the various interview events that are planned, and to provide a basis for understanding the
overall relationships and inter-responsibilities that prevailed throughout this contract. It is anticipated that individual interviews will be generated under the Oral History Project, each one dealing with some particular aspect of the building contract, and that over time a comprehensive record of this achievement will be realized. It is further acknowledged that gathering data by the oral history process may well span across CANDIB demarcations of ‘Shipyard interests’, ‘Ship Classes’ and ‘Design-house’ aspects, but in the interests of forming a comprehensive picture of the DDH 280 program, a combined
effort is required. An ancillary benefit of this story presentation will be to allow the reader a better appreciation of the lessons to be learned from the contractual aspects of the project and so offer a warning of possible similar ship procurement hazards in the future.

Listed below are a number of subsections to this report that spring to mind at this time. Others may be added later as necessary. Contributions from any interested parties are invited to help fill out these sections with any facts or statements that are the least bit relevant. It will be important to add the names of all key participants in this program (as possible sources of additional information or as interviewees) and to mention all significant companies and subcontractors that made any contribution to the program. This is obviously a work in progress and will become more comprehensive and useful as additions are made and edited. All contributions will be acknowledged and referenced

  1. The Navy’s initial plan

Starting in 1964 the Navy undertook to prepare a design for these vessels and to generate the bidding documents that were to become the basis for competitive shipyard bids. Design work started in DG Ships Preliminary Design Section where the potential for gas turbine propulsion was incorporated. A raft design was introduced during the subsequent DGMEM Contract Design phase.

  1. Contract definition phase, the initial contractual bids/submissions and the basis of the Shipbuilding Contracts

The contractual package was eventually distributed to the Canadian marine industry for bids and these were offered by several yards. The contract that was eventually signed defined Marine Industries Ltd., as lead yard, building two ships, and Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. as follow yard, building a further two ships. The working and finished drawings for the vessels were to be produced by the Naval Central Drawing Office, operating under the direction of the lead yard. A contract was awarded to United Aircraft of Canada Ltd. for the supply of the main propulsion system.

  1. Implementation Phase:

Marine Industries Ltd. laid the keel of the first vessel in August of 1969 and delivered it to the Navy on 29 July 1972 following successful sea trials. Davie Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. closely followed the MIL performance and delivered its first vessel to the Navy also in 1972. Naval supervision of construction was carried out locally at the two shipyards, and periodic contractual meetings and inspections were organized by Naval and DSS authorities, these taking place in Sorel and Lauzon Levis, Quebec.

  1. Subcontracting processes and the NCDO relationship.

NCDO was under contract to MIL for the production of working and finished drawings. They were also under direction from the resident DND staff, and conflict arose over the interpretation of the DND specifications and the lead yard intentions for production processes, etc. covered by their bid.

  1. The Ships are Sea Trialed and delivered

The last vessel was delivered to the Navy from the Davie yard in 1973 (See schedule below)

  1. Follow-on events subsequent to ship deliveries (under development)

  2. Conclusions from the program and its consequences on the participants and the country as a whole

It is reported that the total cost of the program was $242 Million. This program was the last attempt by the Navy to prepare an initial design package for a new-building program. Subsequent programs saw the navy contract this out to industry along with detailed design, shipbuilding and lifetime maintenance responsibilities. Both shipyards were eventually absorbed into a combined management structure and became known as MIL Sorel and MIL Davie. The former eventually closed in 1990, and Davie eventually fell into receivership.

The NCDO became an independent ship design agency operating under a number of different management structures. As MIL Engineering it eventually ceased operations in 2004.

The Tribal Class vessels underwent a modernization and refit operation under the
Tribal Update and Modernization Program (TRUMP) in 19?? By 2005 HMCS ‘Huron’ was laid up in Esquimalt.

Key Personnel:

DND (Department of National Defence)

Preliminary Design Phase: LCdr. Bill Ogle, later replaced by Cdr. John Ashfield, then Cdr. Ross Morgan, Lieutenant Larry St Laurent, Lieutenant Gordon Smith, Roger Kingsley, Bob McGillivray, Jeanine (sec)

Contract Design Phase: Cdr. Hi Shenker, DGMEM: Cmdre. Sam Davis, Cmdre. Bill Christie.

DDH 280 Program Systems Engineering Office (in DGMEM): Cdr. Larry Wilkins, followed by Cdr. Bill Broughton.

DDH 280 Program Office: Captain (N) Derry Dawson, (Former Head of NEDIT), Captain (N) Jock Allan, (Program Manager).

Principal Naval Overseer, Montreal: Capt. (N) Keith Farrell, then Captain (N) Tom Maxwell, Ken Salmon, Gordon Smith, Jock Dobbie, Chris Bennett, Alex Arnott, Graham Wagland, Dave Cutler, Don Wilson.

Local Overseer and associated personnel, Sorel: Cdr. Alex Arnott, LCdr. Bob McNeilly, LCdr. Don Wilson, LCdr. Clarke Gudgeon, LCdr. Dave Cutler, LCdr Ron Hahn, Lt (N) Wally Turner, LCdr. Bob Passmore, Lt (N) Ken Isles, Lt (N) Doug Wilkie, Lt (N) Tom Forbes, Lt (N) B. Spanick, Bill Bonser, Bob McGillivray.

Local Overseer and associated personnel, Quebec: G.K. (Slim) Inglis, LCdr Ron Hanlon, LCdr Hugh Millman, LCdr. Roger Chiasson, Lt(N) Grant Dunbar, Lt(N) G. Rousseau, LCdr Joe Cunningham, LCdr Bob Douglas, Lt(N) F. Baldock, Lt(N) Ted Heap, Lt(N) Neil Walton, Lt(N) Bill Gemmell. [Note: A number of the overseeing staff ranks are listed in the commissioning book
for ALGONQUIN using integrated ranks – that here have been converted to naval ranks].

Local Overseer, Longeueil: Cdr Doug Benn, LCdr. Ron Richards.

DSS (Department of Supply and Services): DSS Program Manager, Larry Sellick

MIL (Marine Industries Ltd.): Andre Rochette, (President); Bill White (VP), Andre Rochon, (project manager), Dave Moriera, (bid package preparation), Leon Tougas (Yard Manager), Maurice Gendron (Ship Manager), Marcel LaFrance (Planning) Jean-Yvres Rheaume, Doug. Hearnshaw, (Project Engineer), Tom Williams (Marine Engineer), Claude Beaudoin, (Trials Manager).

DSL (Davie Shipbuilding Ltd.): Takis Veliotis, (president), Michael Ayre, (Vice President Marketing), Jimmy Gilliland (Ship manager).

NCDO (Naval Central Drawing Office) or MDDO (Marine Design and Drawing Office): Tom Campbell, (Manager).

MIL Reps: David Fraser, Danny Sampson.
UACL (United Aircraft of Canada Ltd.): Bob Sacks, Agie Sodi, Bill Burke, Art Sunley

The ships:

Name Shipbuilder Keel laid Launch Trials Delivery Paid Off
Iroquois MIL Aug. 1969 28 Nov 1970 29 July 1972
Huron MIL June 1969 9 April 1971 16 Dec 1972
Athabascan DSL 27 Nov 1970 30 Sept 1972
Algonquin DSL April 1970 23 April 1971 3 Nov 1973

Name Shipbuilder Keel laid Launch Trials Delivery Paid Off
Iroquois MIL Aug. 1969 28 Nov 1970 29 July 1972
Huron MIL June 1969 9 April 1971 16 Dec 1972
Athabascan DSL 27 Nov 1970 30 Sept 1972
Algonquin DSL April 1970 23 April 1971 3 Nov 1973

References and Acknowledgements:

Dr. Eileen Marcil, 'Tall Ships and Tankers
J. Williams, ‘Canadian Industry Warship Design Capability’ Section 4.3.
Gordon Smith-DDH 280 Presentation 2006 and names of personnel associated with the program.
Don Wilson, names of personnel associated with the program, etc.

Story Update History:
16 February 2006 –Initial version
24 March 2006-More personnel added, etc.
Created by Douglas Hearnshaw