The Royal Canadian Navy is heavily modernizing its fleet, but until then 12 Halifax-class frigates remain the mainstay of the Canadian Navy.

The design of HMCS Halifax and her sisters was born as a replacement for the aging St. Laurent, Restigouche, Mackenzie, and Annapolis classes of destroyer escorts, which were all tasked with anti-submarine warfare. As completed, the HMCS Halifax displaced 4,750 long tons and were 134.65 metres long overall and 124.49 metres between perpendiculars with a beam of 16.36 metres and a draught of 4.98 metres. That made them slightly larger than the Iroquois-class destroyers.

The vessel are propelled by two shafts with Escher Wyss controllable pitch propellers driven by a combined diesel or gas system of two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines, generating 47,500 shaft horsepower and one SEMT Pielstick diesel engine, generating 8,800 shaft horsepower. This gives the frigate a maximum speed of 29 knots and a range of 7,000 nautical miles at 15 knots while using her diesel engine. Using her gas turbines, the ship has a range of 3,930 nautical miles at 18 knots. The HMCS Halifax has a complement of 198 naval personnel of which 17 are officers and 17 aircrew of which 8 are officers.

The stern arranges a helicopter flight deck fitted with a “bear trap” system allowing the launch and recovery of helicopters in up to sea state 6. The vessel deployed a Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopter, which acted in concert with shipboard sensors to seek out and destroy submarines at long distances from the ships. The HMCS halifax also carries a close-in anti-submarine weapon in the form of the Mark 46 torpedo, launched from twin Mark 32 Mod 9 torpedo tubes in launcher compartments either side of the forward end of the helicopter hangar.

As built, the anti-shipping role is supported by the RGM-84 Harpoon Block 1C surface-to-surface missile, mounted in two quadruple launch tubes at the main deck level between the funnel and the helicopter hangar. For anti-aircraft self-defence the ships are armed with the Sea Sparrow vertical launch surface-to-air missile in two Mk 48 Mod 0 eight-cell launchers placed to port and starboard of the funnel. The vessels carry 16 missiles. A 20 mm Vulcan Phalanx Close-In Weapon System is mounted on top of the helicopter hangar for “last-ditch” defence against targets that evade the Sea Sparrow.

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