HMCS Windsor


Paul Rogers

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Nov 30, 2000
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Oops-sie.

"HALIFAX–A transformer aboard the Canadian Navy's last working submarine caught fire this week, just 13 months after a fire aboard her sister ship killed one sailor, injured eight and sparked a national controversy."

The rest of the article can be accessed via the link above.

Something tells me that the old Oberon-class boats need rewiring... This could have been quite nasty, especially as I am told that fire is a sailor's worst nightmare, especially on a sub. Looks like they got away with it this time, unlike HMCS Chicoutimi.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Dec 18, 2004
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Sorry, the Oberons are long gone- these are the reciently purchased British Upholder class boats.
They have had a long route to service with cracked valves needing repair, an unreported dent in the hull, and many other problems culminating in the fire.
The boats only saw about 4 years service in the Royal Navy and were offered at substantially less than any of the competition could be purchased.
After a protracted delays resolving the problems in Britain prior to delivery, it was desired to sail them to Canada- this is when the fire occurred.
The last last reminder of the Canadian Oberons is one playing a Soviet submarine in K-19, The Widowmaker.
 

Paul Rogers

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You're quite right, of course, Jim. Thanks for correcting my error. I meant to type Upholder but didn't. (Wasn't HMCS Windsor originally HMS Unicorn?)

I've been aboard an Oberon-class boat and have a soft spot for them, hence my error.

Addendum: Brain not functioning at all well these days, obviously. I meant to say I've recently read a book about the Oberon-class boats, not been aboard one (although I do indeed have a soft spot for the class). It was actually an A-class boat that I've visited. My bad.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Of course, owners of past generations of British cars are familiar with the exclamation "Bloody Lucas Electrics (The Prince Of Darkness)!" perhaps it should be extended to submarines.
Here is a link with a little more information on the fire-
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_PrintFriendly&c=Article&cid=1130810260038
The Upholders are now called the Victoria Class-
Thier new names are;
HMCS Victoria (ex HMS Unseen)
HMCS Windsor (ex HMS Unicorn)
HMCS Corner Brook (ex HMS Ursula) and
HMCS Chicoutimi (ex HMS Upholder)
As far as I understand from what I have read on the Chicoutimi fire, they were carrying out repairs at sea on a valve involved with the snorkel or main induction.
The open valve allowed water to be directed over the cables, and cracked insulation did the rest.
The casualties were caused by fumes from burning insulation.
I think part of the problems the Canadians are having are that the boats are still new, and were not operated by the RN for long enough to correct these deficiencies as they came to light.
I am sure the cracked insulation may have just been deterioration while the boat was laid up.
 

Paul Rogers

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"I think part of the problems the Canadians are having are that the boats are still new, and were not operated by the RN for long enough to correct these deficiencies as they came to light."

Don't get me started, Jim.
wink.gif
I still find it hard to accept that the UK Government chose to sell a brand new class of submarine (probably the best of its type in the world), whilst also destroying the finest conventional submarine command training programme on the planet, in a moment of complete madness.

For those interested, part of the sorry mess can be read about here. (Scroll down to The Upholder Fiasco.)
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Looks like these boats were giving the Royal Navy some measure of trouble even befor somebody thought of paying them off to reserve. Bow torpedo doors which leak like a seive are not a good thing on a submarine. Especially when the only "fix" involves sealing the doors so that the boats can't even fight.
 

Jim Hathaway

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The C is for Canadian, a holdover from when Canada was a commonwealth.
Australia does the same, thier warships carry the prefix HMAS.
 

Jim Hathaway

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Hi Michael,
Actually I would say the problems come from being a new design, and a small class, so all probably have most of the defects since not too many of lessons learned would be able to be applied to later units.
Until now, Canada has had proven designs, but these boats ate fairly new, so they are dealing with a lot of the problems of new design. (although I would think something like the torpedo tube doors would be well understood and tested before incorporation)
Another reason they were attractive (aside from age and price)was they are a natural for later incorporation of an AIP system (fuel cells)
Basically they have the combat systems of a Trafalger SSN in a conventional hull.
I still think for what Canada was able or willing to pay, they are the best option, but they have to work through these problems.
We've had problem designs too, remember the "Pancake Diesels installed in our guppys and Darter classes that turned out to be awful?
-Latest on the Chicoutimi fire-
http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2005/11/02/chicoutimi051102.html?ref=rss
 
Dec 2, 2000
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>>We've had problem designs too, remember the "Pancake Diesels installed in our guppys and Darter classes that turned out to be awful? <<

Yeah...and they were disposed of as quickly as possible with more conventional engines. I saw the engine room on the USS Gudgeon a couple of years befor the boat was decommissioned. The engines there were the in line sort one finds on most conventional boats.
 

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