Royal Canadian Navy: General Purpose Frigate (Cancelled 1963).

thebig C

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Hey Gang,
Came accross the General Purpose Frigate project of the Royal Canadian Navy and thought I would post it here. This project was developed in the 1961-1963 period. The intention was to build 8 such ships which were intended as the name implies to be multi purpose frigates, but, also to support Canadas UN commitments by embarking 200 troops, two helicopters (one ASW, one medium utility) and provide shore support.
The ships were to be approx 3300-3800 tons and were to be about 120m (400ft), in scale terms midway between the Annapolis Clas DE and the Iroquois Class Destroyer.
It struck me that in a sense these vessels would have been ahead of their time. Don't forget this is a different concept to a Fleet Auxilary, Landing Craft or Helicopter Cruiser....rather this is a ship whose primary role is as a frigate but with an ancillary role as a transport/support ship. Much like the (slightly larger) Absalon Class recently in service with the Danish Navy. In actual fact the parameters of 120-130m, 3.5-4k tons carrying 200 troops plus equipment almost exactly matches the currently proposed Irish EPV.....over 40 years later!!
Some links below:
http://readyayeready.com/timeline/1960s/rcn-in-1963/part08.htm
http://centreforforeignpolicystudies.dal.ca/cdq/Davis%20June%201990.PDF
http://naval.review.cfps.dal.ca/archive/6105666-7724075/vol2num3art5.pdf
 

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thebig C

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Thanks GH:) Yes, I came accross that proposal quite by accident some time ago. I was impressed by how far ahead of its time it was....thats probably why it was cancelled!
 

JFC Fuller

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The pictured ship is difficult to match with the description, it may well be the concept drawing of the General Purpose Frigate that was included in the Brock report in 1961, or some later incarnation of what seems to have been a frequently changing design. There are a couple of questionable features which might help date it;

1) In the above picture there is no obvious helicopter hangar but there is curious oblong shape immediately behind the Mk-13 launcher that could conceivably (though I am doubtful) be intended to represent a lift to take a helicopter into the hull.

2) The gun mounting forward looks like either a stylised Mk-33 twin 3" mounting or possibly a badly drawn twin 5"/38. The latter is not as ridiculous as it sounds, one source I have seen states that a 3"/38 was ultimately chosen instead of the 5"/54, a 3"/38 makes no sense but a 5"/38 would- equally another book states the design was to have had a twin 5" semi-automatic mounting and the only one that comes to mind is the 5"/38.

In terms of weapons and other systems; there is also a single Mk-13 launcher and what appear to be a pair of SPG-516 fire control radars to support Tartar. Particularly interesting is the Sea Mauler system mounted above the bridge. There would likely have been a limbo system under the square hatch aft of the Mk-13 launcher (and the strange oblong), further aft of that is what looks like an installation for an SQS-504 Variable Depth Sonar (this would apparently have been the SQS-505 that ended up on a number of Canadian ships). There also appears to be triple lightweight torpedo tubes mounted beside the aft superstructure. Some books state that the ships would have received the Small Ship Combat Data System which the RCN was then collaborating with the USN on at the time.

It's worth noting that this design appears to be a fairly simple evolution and enlargement of the same basic family of destroyers the RCN had been building since the early 1950s starting with St Laurent class and ultimately ending with the Annapolis class. In this case they have essentially just replaced the aft twin 3" mounting with the Mk-13 launcher and added the appropriate radars. The design apparently grew significantly though ending up displacing over a 1,000 tons more than previous ships and requiring 50,000shp versus 30,000shp on earlier ships, and the final design may have had a helicopter hangar.

Edit: it seems likely that image above is one of the later, if not final, design configurations as there is only a single Mauler system rather than two as there was earlier in the design process, one system having been deleted as a cost saving measure. The ship could land and refuel a Sea King in good weather but it was not to have been fitted with a beartrap (RAST) system, it would have had a light utility helicopter for long range torpedo delivery though, that may explain the oblong in the deck aft of the Mk-13 launcher, it could be a configuration similar to the Wasp landing pad and hangar on the RN Tribal class albeit flush with the deck in this case. In terms of guns, the snippet view on Google Books of Jane's Fighting Ships 1963 also suggests the 5"/38 twin mounting in the final design, if anyone has access to that book it probably has the full specifications.

The radar fit is described as being Dutch.
 
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Tzoli

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The turret's shape indeed that of the WW2 5"/38 Mark 12 gun's though the barrels are much longer, more close to the 5"/54 Mark 16's intended for the Montana and eventually delivered to the Midways. There were plans to put these guns on the Iowas after the first Gulf War in early-mid 1990's for their proposed but cancelled modernisation. The original turrets in this case would had been lengthened a bit to accept the new guns.
 

zen

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The radar fit is described as being Dutch.

Could that be an early Broomstick set design as the big sphere?
 

JohnR

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I thought the proposal was to refit the Iowa's with 5"/54 Mk45?

Isn't 61-63 to early for Broomstick?

Regards.
 

JFC Fuller

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zen said:
Could that be an early Broomstick set design as the big sphere?

It briefly crossed my mind but I think its highly unlikely. These ships were to be ordered starting in 1964 which is too early for Broomstick, that mast looks too feeble to handle something like Broomstick and the general Canadian approach to these ships was to keep them small, relatively cheap and low risk- attributes that could hardly be derived from using Broomstick. Furthermore I have never seen Canada mentioned in the context of that radar.

If I had to guess I would say its probably the AN/SPS-501 (the transmitter from the AN/SPS-12 mated to the Dutch LW03 antenna) as installed on HMCS Bonaventure in 1967 and subsequently the Iroquois class destroyers, just in this case with weather protection. The basic arrangement of the radars and masts certainly looks very like that ultimately installed on the Iroquois class, far more so than it does to any representation of a Broomstick configuration I have seen.

Tzoli,

It was the length of the gun barrels that originally had me confused (and made me think of the Mark 33 3" mounting) but I think but I am now satisfied that it is almost certainly a twin 5"/38 mounting, likely the Mk-38.
 

Tzoli

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JohnR said:
I thought the proposal was to refit the Iowa's with 5"/54 Mk45?

I'm not sure, the conversation was lost regarding this matter as the old Warship Projects forum is no more.


JFC Fuller said:
Tzoli,

It was the length of the gun barrels that originally had me confused (and made me think of the Mark 33 3" mounting) but I think but I am now satisfied that it is almost certainly a twin 5"/38 mounting, likely the Mk-38.

I still think the barrels are too long for the turret to be the 38 calibre ones. The turret also looks like enlarged, especially of the aft.

54 calibre, Mark 16
http://navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_5-54_mk16_pics.htm

38 calibre Mark 12
http://navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_5-38_mk12_pics.htm
 

Abraham Gubler

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JFC Fuller said:
It briefly crossed my mind but I think its highly unlikely. These ships were to be ordered starting in 1964 which is too early for Broomstick, that mast looks too feeble to handle something like Broomstick and the general Canadian approach to these ships was to keep them small, relatively cheap and low risk- attributes that could hardly be derived from using Broomstick. Furthermore I have never seen Canada mentioned in the context of that radar.

The original CF.299 carrying, Leander designs had a very similar spherical antenna in their sketch designs.
 

Arjen

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JFC Fuller said:
These ships were to be ordered starting in 1964 which is too early for Broomstick
Two prototype sets of Broomstick were built by HSA in the sixties - one intended for the Dutch Navy, the other for the Royal Navy. When the UK-NL cooperation in developing Broomstick was cancelled, the British set was was bought by the Dutch Navy. Both sets then found their way to the GW-frigates Tromp and De Ruyter which reached full operational status in the mid seventies.
Source: 'Deugdelijke Schepen - Marinescheepsbouw 1945-1995 ' by SG Nooteboom.

Considering that only prototype Broomstick-sets were available in the sixties, installation on the proposed Canadian frigates seems unlikely.
 

JFC Fuller

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My very first thought when looking at that dome was that it reminded me of the sphere on the early 1962 diagrams used in the magazine layout study (not actual ship preliminaries) for what became the Type 82 class that is labelled simply as 'surveillance radar'. However, the Canadians were planning on laying the keel on the first General Purpose Frigate in December 1964 when the program was cancelled (late 1963) and its inconceivable that a Type 988 could be available for that sort of timeline.
 

Hood

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JFC Fuller said:
My very first thought when looking at that dome was that it reminded me of the sphere on the early 1962 diagrams used in the magazine layout study (not actual ship preliminaries) for what became the Type 82 class that is labelled simply as 'surveillance radar'.

There is also smaller randome on the initial CVA-01 sketch design of 1963 simply labelled as 'surveillance radar'. However, I'm tempted not to read too much into it other than placeholders drawn in until the final size and configuration was known. I'd still back your earlier hunch that its the AN/SPS-501 with a randome on the Canadian Frigate.
 

Abraham Gubler

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Another possibility is just that the antenna in the sketch design was drawn in with a circle giving a maximum reach with stabilization and training so as to provide physical deconfliction with the rest of the ship. The artist who painted the illustration could have interperated this outline as a solid radome.
 

Grey Havoc

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Wouldn't be the first time something like that has happened.
 

TomS

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I think this thesis contains a lot of useful information for this topic:

https://qspace.library.queensu.ca/bitstream/1974/8298/1/Mayne_Richard_O_finalsubmission_200804_PhD.pdf

It deals with the various evolutions of General Purpose Destroyer, General Purpose Frigate, DDH, etc. Very illuminating.
 

starviking

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Great find!

I note there are design evolutions of the GPF in the appendices.
 

Pioneer

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Still no drawings of this General Purpose Frigate project? :-X

Does anyone involved with Shipbucket Forum know if someone's done a profile work of this Canadian General Purpose Frigate project?

Regards
Pioneer
 

Tzoli

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Pioneer said:
Still no drawings of this General Purpose Frigate project? :-X

Does anyone involved with Shipbucket Forum know if someone's done a profile work of this Canadian General Purpose Frigate project?

Regards
Pioneer


Well Conway's all the world Fighting ships 1947-1991 have only a side drawing of it:
TartarFFG.jpg


And it states 5"/54 not 5/38 as we earlier discussed
 

TomS

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Conway's is a bit confused regarding the gun. The one in the drawing is clearly not a Mk42, and the drawings in the dissertation above (which the Conway's drawing seem to be related to) clearly call out a 5"/38 twin.
 

Brickmuppet

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Pioneer said:
Still no drawings of this General Purpose Frigate project? :-X

Does anyone involved with Shipbucket Forum know if someone's done a profile work of this Canadian General Purpose Frigate project?

Regards
Pioneer

Well, the PDF posted by Tom S. has not only a sketch. but a set of schematics detailed right down to the location of the heads. I was rather surprised that this was as fully developed a design as it was.
 

Pioneer

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Tzoli said:
Well Conway's all the world Fighting ships 1947-1991 have only a side drawing of it:
TartarFFG.jpg


And it states 5"/54 not 5/38 as we earlier discussed

Thanks Tzoli, you're a gentleman!! ;D

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Pioneer

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Thanks Brickmuppet, and of course Tom.S!
Ironically, I did skim through this great document, but didn't get to its end! :-[

Thanks again for the heads-up

Regards
Pioneer
 

Abraham Gubler

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TomS said:
Conway's is a bit confused regarding the gun. The one in the drawing is clearly not a Mk42, and the drawings in the dissertation above (which the Conway's drawing seem to be related to) clearly call out a 5"/38 twin.

Richard Mayne's "The Annapolis Riddle" (the .pdf dissertation attached above) makes clear that the gun for the GPF was the Mk 38 twin 5"/38 of WWII fame. Looking at the deck plans it would appear to have been chosen because of its minimal below deck footprint. Compared to the Mk 42 5"/52 the Mk 38 twin mounting saves about 14 tonnes in weight but does not require a below decks loading drum and hoist. The GPF has the shell and cartridge rooms right below the mount on no. 2 deck with no magazine in the hold. The Mk 42 mount would require an additional gun room below the mount for the loading drums. The GPF would appear to be a very tightly designed ship with priority going to neatly arranged crew spaces than resilience. Most notably in there being no below waterline magazines for the guns, torpedoes and mortars.
 

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Pioneer

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Ok, just stumbled upon this:

In Friedman's "Network-Centric Warfare" there is an interesting footnote at p. 311 which talks about those neverweres.

Eight ships, somewhat smaller than contemporary Brooke class U.S. DEGs (398 x 46 vs 415 x 43 ft, 3,300 tons), were included in the projected 1963 program.
Into this smaller hull would have been squeezed much more than in a DEG: one twin 5-inch/38 mount (Signaal N26 fire control system), one Mk.22 missile launcher (16 Tartars with two Mk.74 directors), two Sea Mauler short-range launchers (72 missiles), two triple Mk.32 torpedo tubes, and a single Limbo mortar (60 projectiles).
There would also be a U.S.-type light helicopter (the primary ASW standoff weapon).
Complement was given as 236, compared to 246 for the nonautomated U.S. DEG with a comparable missile battery.
Estimated cost was $34.25 million.
The Canadians adopted the Tartar missile in hopes that the U.S. Navy would develop the projected ASW version of the missile (then unfunded), to carry either a homing torpedo or a depth bomb.
Where the U.S. Navy relied on a massive bow-mounted low frequency sonar (SQS-26), the Canadians held to medium-frequency sets but included a variable-depth sonar aft, which would have made processing at least as complex.
An unusual feature was a requirement to support two hundred troops for up to 15 days.
The design emphasized human engineering, automation (she could steam with her machinery spaces unmanned), and centralized command/control.
Much of the equipment had not yet been developed.

(Source: https://forum.worldofwarships.eu/topic/4250-canadian-navy-never-were-designs/

I particularly find the notion of an ASW derivative of the Tartar missile very interesting, to which I was completely unaware of!!

Regards
Pioneer
 

starviking

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Pioneer said:
I particularly find the notion of an ASW derivative of the Tartar missile very interesting, to which I was completely unaware of!!

Regards
Pioneer

I wonder if it's a mistake? Could the Canadians have been wanting ASROC integrated with their Tartar launcher?

Personally, I'd think there'd be way too much design change to turn the Tartar missile into a short-range ASW weapon-delivery system to make it worthwhile.
 

TomS

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Pioneer said:
Ok, just stumbled upon this:

In Friedman's "Network-Centric Warfare" there is an interesting footnote at p. 311 which talks about those neverweres.

Eight ships, somewhat smaller than contemporary Brooke class U.S. DEGs (398 x 46 vs 415 x 43 ft, 3,300 tons), were included in the projected 1963 program.
[snip]
(Source: https://forum.worldofwarships.eu/topic/4250-canadian-navy-never-were-designs/

I particularly find the notion of an ASW derivative of the Tartar missile very interesting, to which I was completely unaware of!!

Regards
Pioneer

FWIW, this design seems to be almost exactly the 1963 GPF outlined in the "The Annapolis Riddle" (the dissertation earlier in this thread). See Annex B (p 458). The only change is a reduction of 4 crew and a rounding error in price.

Nothing in that document mentions ASW Tartar, and it seems detailed enough that the topic would have come up if it was a serious factor in RCN decision-making. ASROC and Tartar acquisition were closely intertwined, so perhaps Friedman misunderstood a comment about the RCN wanting both Tartar and ASW capabilities from the US.
 

uk 75

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I think this thesis contains a lot of useful information for this topic:


It deals with the various evolutions of General Purpose Destroyer, General Purpose Frigate, DDH, etc. Very illuminating.
This document is the closest thing to a Brown/Moore style Rebuilding the Canadian Navy and a really good source on wider issues like the Bonaventure carrier and the submarine force. It also casts light on the impact of NATO's force level requirements. This is lacking for the UK.
 

JohnR

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Just to backtrack to the subject of gun armament, although I agree the 5'/38 is the far more likely choice, although what happened to the 5'/54 manufactured for the Montana class battleship. There are images of the gun houses in Dulin and Garzke.
 

Apophenia

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Could be my browser or site maintenance between terms but I noted that the pdf, The Annapolis Riddle: Advocacy, Ship Design and the Canadian Navy's Force Structure Crisis, 1957-1965, isn't currently available on the Queens University website. Just in case Mayne's file has now disappeared, I'm attaching those GPF drawings from his pdf that I have saved.
 

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