Canadian Power: The Canadian Forces as a Major Power

Prologue by Glen - This thread is composed of posts by TheMann copied from WI Canada retains CV capability started by RogueBeaver to facilitate TheMann's timeline entry in the Turtledove Awards. The timeline proper begins in the next post.

Ive looked at this a few times and found a few assorted problems.

A new carrier costs a pile of $$$ to build, an old carrier requires a pile of $$$ to operate. Hence, the problem of funding comes up either way.

I would say the best bet is to have the new carrier to replace Bonaventure arrive in the mid to late 1960s. Best way to do that is to somehow keep a Conservative government, or perhaps a more moderate Liberal one. Uniting the forces could actually help - the Navy fell to pieces afterwards, and it could easily be said that a crisis somewhere could convince Canada to keep a carrier capability, just so they can throw some weight around in international affairs. (It woulda been useful in Cyprus, for example.)

The Essex class crew is too much for Canada - it requires 3500 crew - but something about halfway is much more doable. I thought of the idea of Canada buying the decommissioned HMS Eagle, after it was mothballed in 1972. It would be a perfect fit IMO - about twice the crew of the Majestic class, but its big enough to operate real fixed-wing aircraft, small enough that the biggest Canadian dry docks can take it fairly easily, requires 1000 less crew than the Essex class.

And with its 1972 condition being fairly rough as I understand, it woulda been bought for peanuts, but then gone into an extensive refit - which woulda been done in a Canadian shipyard, in turn helping the local economies (which were being battered at the time). HMCS Eagle, or whatever you want to call it, enters into service in 1974ish, and probably becomes a helpful asset supporting the guys on Cyprus, and would probably be deployed to help out operations elsewhere.

I never quite understood the point of Canada basing forces in Germany, with the Germans and Americans already there in big numbers and Britain and France able to move much more quickly. Remove those and you make finding money easier, too.

The Eagle carried among other aircraft the F-4 Phantom II and the Blackburn Buccaneer, both considerably bigger than the CF-18, so it is conceivably that Canada's fighters could have some directed to the Navy. (Canada's CF-18s still have carrier arresting gear, FYI.) This remains true if Canada buys Iran's F-14s, because the Hornet is a bigger aircraft than the Hornet, it is about the same size as the Buccaneer in everything but wingspan, which can be folded easily enough.

Say that the Cyprus operation and the 1973 oil crisis hits a more moderate Trudeau government, giving it a graphic vision of the need for Canada to be at least able to have some weight. (In OTL, that was part of the reason why Canada began investigating replacing its CF-101/CF-104/CF-116 fleets.) HMS Eagle, the largest British carrier, has been decommissioned, a fact which is well known to Canada, and Trudeau goes to buy it, and gets it for cheap. It goes to Saint John Shipbuilding for a major refit while Canada buys a loadout for it. This comes from the USA, which is retiring the Essex class ships and has excess aircraft as a result, and the carrier gains complements of F-4 Phantom II and A-7 Corsair II fighters. The ship also gains complements of S-2 Tracker ASW aircraft and CH-124 Sea King helicopters. As equipped, HMCS Eagle enters service in August 1974 at Halifax. Bonaventure retires in March 1975, but becomes a museum ship instead.

Canada's New Fighter Program happens as in OTL, but the forces at the same time ask for 30-40 naval fighter aircraft as part of the program, a fact which is answered by the American aircraft makers blowing the dust off of the Sea Eagle and Naval F-16 ideas. In the end, however, Canada wants aircraft that are proven platforms. The F/A-18 is chosen for the job in 1980, and is scheduled to enter Canadian Service in 1982, with the Eagle gaining a full loadout early on to keep it at full strength.

Shortly thereafter, Canada made an offer to Iran to buy Iran's fleet of 79 F-14A Tomcat fighters for a big discount, offering to buy the lot for $1.1 Billion. As Iran's economy floundered in the post-Shah chaos, the Iranians accepted. All of the Tomcats were moved in 1980, and the US gave the one Tomcat not delivered to Iran.

Eager to keep the Canucks happy and to help Canada's reworking its military to keep up with NATO problems, most of Iran's gear that hadn't been delivered goes right to Canada, including a supply of AIM-54 Phoenix missiles for the Tomcats and the Shah's four new air-warfare destroyers, all for a fraction of the prices of their costs new. Canada, sensing the deal they just couldn't pass up, takes the works. Between 1982 and 1986, Canada takes delivery of 134 CF-18 Hornets, which allows the retirement of the CF-101 and CF-104 aircraft.

The Tomcats fit on Eagle - barely. Canada's Tomcats do three cruises on Eagle in 1981 and 1982 before the first Hornets arrive, allowing the Tomcats to be assigned to air patrol duty.

In celebration of Canada's constitution repatriation of April 1982, in October 1982, the first sailing of the Canada Squadron sails from Halifax, an all-Canadian carrier battle group. Eagle, Province-class missile destroyers (OTL's Kidd-class) Ontario and Alberta, destroyers Huron, Athabaskan and Annapolis and submarines Ojibwa and Okanagan departed Halifax and met up with USS Forrestal for a series of exercises, before steaming to Britain, France and Germany for visits. Canada's 1980s rebuild does in fact help those repsonsible for it, as Canada's level of respect and influence within NATO rises dramatically throughout the 1980s, as does the size and and ease of recruiting within the Canadian Forces. Support for Canada's military among Canadians also rises in the 1980s, sensing that Canada could indeed holds its own on just about any stage. A milestone is reached when Brian Mulroney seeks - and gets - former PC leader Robert Stanfield to be chosen as NATO's Secretary General in 1988, the first time the post had been given to a non-European.

In 1982, Canada joins the United States in offering to help Britain through the back door if Britain needs help beating Argentina during the Falklands War. Britain declines, but the Canadian Forces grows in terms of public visibility and range throughout the 1980s.

In 1986, the Snowbirds finally retire the CT-114s in favor of the CF-116 Freedom Fighters, and also give a number of high-profile shows abroad, including for the first time appearing at the International Air Tattoo that same year.

Riding the support, Canada's Navy announces another major upgrade in 1987, this time to repalce the Oberon class submarines with six modern nuclear submarines. The plan was amibitious, even for Mulroney, but the Canadian support for the now powerful Forces proves to be enough for Mulroney to get the idea across. In 1987, Canada and the UK begin negotiations over the submarines, only to have the US block the sale over American involvement in the design. General Dynamics instead offers Canada the Los Angeles class nuclear submarine, which the Canadians, to the happiness of the French, veto out of hand. Canada's Minister of National Defense at the time, Perrin Beatty, indignantly tells the US "You make it impossible for us to buy our first choice of submarines from the UK, and then try to sell us one of your own? It's more than a little indignant, is it not?"

With the memories of the problems of the LRPA and Eagle acquisitions still fairly recent, the French Rubis class becomes the only option. The French are quite co-operative, however. HMCS Victoria, the first of Canada's Rubis-class Submarine, is commissioned in 1990, in time to deploy as part of Canada Squadron again.

When Saddam Hussein's Iraqi forces invaded the small nation of Kuwait in 1990, the world responded with anger and a resolve to shove the Iraqis out. Canada sent the Canada Squadron out again, though this time HMCS Victoria went out with the squadron instead of the aging Oberon class submarines, and Eagle left the ASW aircraft at home, allowing her to go out with 24 CF-18 Hornets, 18 CF-75 Corsair IIs and a handful of CH-124 Sea King helicopters. The Air Force also came, bringing a squadron of CF-18s themselves. Canada's Hornets and Corsair IIs flew 267 sorties during Desert Storm with one loss, a CF-75 hit by 57mm flak fire over Basra.

The Navy in the 1990s inducts many new vessels - the 12 Halifax-class patrol frigates being the chief among them. The patrol frigates allow the retirement of the St Laurent, Restigouche, Mackenzie and Annapolis class destroyers and destroyer escorts, dramatically reducing the Navy's personnel costs. The 12 Halifax class frigates were considered among the world's best. The Iroquois class destroyers, with their ASW work taken over by the Halifax class, gain the electronics from the American Spruance class destroyers, two 3-inch guns and two sets of 29-cell Mk-41 Vertical Launch Systems, with SM-2 missiles. They are all refitted between 1992 and 1997.

All of the nuclear subs are commissioned between 1990 and 1998, the last of five (the sixth is not built), HMCS Edmonton, being commissioned in May 1998. The Halifax class patrol frigates first arrive in 1992 and the last is commissioned in 1996, completing what is one of the world's most modern Navies.
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I must admit that my scenario above is not the most realistic thing in the world. I grant that point. but as Canada's military spending as a % of GDP sank into the mid-1% ballpark in the mid-1990s (and that was still circa $18 billion a year) one realizes that if they had kept the 3.5% or so that was the average between the 1950s and early 1970s) paying for a small to medium-sized CV all of a sudden does not seem like that big of a deal. 3.5% today would give a military budget of $45.6 Billion, which is more than double what Canada spends now. It's also about the same as Germany and Japan.

My scenario has Canada, in the midst of its major refits of the 1970s and 1980s, jump at the stuff that Iran didn't buy. That would be virtually new stuff for pennies on the dollar, something that would be quite a good thing to anybody involved. The nuclear subs would be expensive, but the Rubis class is the smallest SSNs ever made - 2,600 tons, 62 crew. By comparison, the Victoria class SSKs are 2,450 tons and 47 crew. Simply put, the cost of purchasing is much higher but the cost of operation is not all that much higher. No regular fuel bills need to be paid with nuclear subs, don't forget.

Iran couldn't get parts for the F-14s, and when Canada came to buy 'em, the Iranians were willing to sell - the price was being negotiated. I am just assuming that gets done. As the CF here has a lot more money to spend than before, then having 80 F-14s and 135 F/A-18s is not only not out of the question, in number terms its still a substantial decrease in strength from before. The idea about having the A-7s to fly off the carrier is also a good one, its a possibility and again, that would be buying aircraft being retired for peanuts. As for other stuff, Iran bought over $5 Billion worth of gear that was never delivered after the Shah got tossed over. Most of that was made or parts made for it, and simply scrapping at that point is a waste of money - why Iran's destroyers wound up in the USN and its F-16s ended up in IAF. Here, its F-14s and destroyers wound up in thew hands of the Canucks.

My carrier idea is the same. Eagle was headed for the scrapyard, and I'm sure if Canada came to the UK and said "Psst, we'll buy it form you for x amount of dollars (probably far higher than its scrap value) to use it ourselves, is Britain gonna say "no, we'll scrap it anyways"? Absolutely not. And sending it to the economically-depressed Maritimes for a BIG refit, in 1972 when unemployment in the Maritimes was around the 20% ballpark, is gonna be a great big political point-scorer for those involved. I am assuming a Conservative Government through the mid to late 1970s here, though with Trudeau's minority government and the NDP's staunch anti-communist stance of the time, one could see the Conservatives and NDP wedging Trudeau into buy Eagle and having her rebuilt in the Maritimes - both sides justifying it as beating-up-the-commies and the Conservatives justifying it in the name of a strong national defense. The cost of regularly operating it is harder, but the cost of getting it in Canada's hands and rebuilding it is in fact surprisingly easy to justify.

Here's my TL.......

Canadian Power: The Canadian Forces as a Major Power

Part 1

1972 - HMS Eagle decommissioned. After the chaos of the unification and Trudeau's decisions result in mass waves of departures from the Canadian Forces, his minority government faces a Conservative opposition which is badgering for Trudeau to fix this. Eagle is seen by Conservative leader Robert Stanfield to an opportunity for Trudeau to restore some of the luster to the Canadian military. NDP leader David Lewis agrees with Stanfield.

The two leverage Trudeau into making an offer for Eagle. Trudeau makes a ridiculous offer for it, trying to get the opposition. To his surprise, Britain agrees, and Eagle is towed to Canada, arriving at Halifax in December 1972.

1973 - Trudeau decides to use the opportunity to throw the Canadian Force idea back in Stanfield's face, and announces that the mammoth Saint John Shipbuilding yards in Saint John, New Brunswick, will rebuild HMS Eagle, including automatic boiler control, a slightly longer flight deck, AN/SPS-48E radar and a lot of work to allow Eagle, which is already in fairly good condition, to serve as late as the year 2000. The rebuild start on May 24, 1973, at Saint John Shipbuilding.

The Oil Crisis shakes the world in October, and the limitations of Canada's power become immediately and obviously apparent. Trudeau decides that the best option for Canada here is to force the oil supplier provinces of the West to sell to Canada at lower prices. Trudeau's support in the West drops like a stone as a result, and the problematic economic issues, inclduing growing inflation, are enough to cause Trudeau political problems.

1974 - Stanfield and Lewis force a confidence vote on Trudeau, and Trudeau decides to call a snap election, figuring he'll get his majority back. He guesses wrong, and Stanfield wins a majority, gaining particularly in Quebec and suburban Ontario ridings, giving him a very narrow majority - 135 out of 264. His policy of targeting inflation by freezing wages and prices at first produces many grumbles, but it does succeed in slowing inflation, giving Stanfield a stronger hand in domestic affairs.

Eagle's rebuild continues unabated at Saint John. The Canadian Forces leases a number of ex-USN F-4 Phantoms to outfit the carrier, which quickly become the best aircraft in the Canadian Forces, something which is more than a little embarassing to the Forces

- Eagle's rebuild is completed in August 1975, with a flight deck lengthened by 24 feet and with a 12 degree flight deck, modern radars and electronics, computerized propulsion controls and new boilers, three new steam catapults (salvaged from retired Essex-class carriers), much-improved HVAC systems and many other upgrades.

Sure enough, the CF makes requests to have its experienced carrier guys come back to help the Forces get the carrier back in fighting shape. Many respond. HMCS Eagle commissions on November 11, 1975, at CFNB Halifax. The 55,000-ton carrier has a crew of 1,520 and an air wing of 50 aircraft, made up of the leased F-4 Phantom fighters, a trio of E-1 Tracer AEW aircraft and a number of CH-124 Sea King helicopters. Even as Eagle commissions, the CF is badgering Ottawa to buy E-2 Hawkeye AWACS aircraft and new fighters for the land command.

Reversing Trudeau's decisions, in November 1975 the Liberals side with the Conservatives on the military and begin supporting a major overhaul of the Canadian Forces.

1976 - In March, the US approves the sale of eight E-2B carrier AWACS aircraft, though the Americans expect that Canada will also want to use the Hawkeyes as land-based AEW. That year, the New Fighter Aircraft program also begins. The competitors for the NFA were the F-14 Tomcat, F-15 Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet (though it was not called this at the time), Dassault Mirage F1 and Panavia Tornado. The Mirage F1 was eliminated because it's performance was too low, Dassault replied by proposing the Mirage 2000 instead. The Tornado, F-14 and F-15 were eliminated due to being too expensive, though Grumman, strapped for cash, quickly offered to reduce the price of the F-14 somewhat, it was still too pricey for Canada's wishes.

Eagle leaves for its first deployment on February 17, 1976, along with three destroyers, two frigates, a sub and an escort ship, bound for Cyprus to support the Canadian and British Forces stuck in-between the Turks and Greeks on the island. The island had been invaded by Turkey in 1974, and an October 1975 incident where Turkey accidentally shelled a Canadian position in Cyprus, killing six Canadians and wounding 11, had led to public opinion demanding that the Canadian Forces' new flagship be deployed to the area. The Turks were not impressed by this, of course.

On April 21, 1976, Turkey demanded the removal of all foreign forces from Cyprus at the UN in New York, specifically attacking the Canadians for "interfering with the affairs of Cyprus and insulting Turkey in the process. Prime Minister Stanfield angrily replied that the Turks had killed six Canadians in Cyprus and that the carrier was there to protect the Canadian Forces. Turkey's ambassador, clearly incensed, snapped back "that's our island anyways, you have no right to be there."

Turkey's comment raised a shitstorm. Cyprus demanded additional UN peacekeepers, and Greece angrily told Turkey that any Turkish attempt to take all of the island would see Greek forces garrison the island. The Canadian media was similarly amazed that Turkey had the balls to say that in the UN, at the expected cost of their international support.

US President Gerald Ford at this point stepped into the picture, offering up a plan to integrate Cyprus under its own jurisdiction, while mandating that Nicosia respect the rights of all involved, and offer 1/3 representaton in parliament and a Cypriot Constitution that would not allow discrimination based on ethnicity or religion. Greece agreed, as did both divisions of Cyprus. Turkey, rather than trying to help the settlement, got angrier, including infalming the Turkish population, saying that the UN was trying to take Turkish land and give it to Turkey and saying that if they allowed this, the UN would give Greece Istanbul next.

Sensing a storm brewing, Eagle is deployed for a second time to the area, rapidly refueling and fixing things in Halifax before departing for Cyprus on July 25, 1976. The vessel cleared Gibraltar on August 11 and reached Cyprus on August 20. They joined HMS Ark Royal and USS Saratoga, two other carriers on scene.

On August 25, despite the naval forces there, Turkey began moving troops to the island in big numbers again. The powers involved asked, and got, the Greeks not to respond, but Greece did begin moving forces to Cyprus. The Peacekeeper UN forces became UN armed forces, though they made it clear that if Turkey didn't step over the de facto boundary, there would be no problem. President Ford made it clear that the US did not support Turkey's current position and that the Turks should let it be.

Despite all of this, the Turks didn't listen at all. On September 10, the Turkish Army invaded the southern portion, one of its first acts being sending F-4 Phantom fighter-bombers against UN positions in Nicosia, killing over 60 men including 28 Canadians.

News of that hit Ottawa to an immense roar from the government and the nation. The next day, war was declared in Ottawa, followed simultaneously by Washington, London and Athens. A UN declaration of war followed suit. That day, the Canadian carrier performed its first combat missions, attacking Turkish positions in northern Cyprus. The Turkish Navy tried to remove the allied military forces - but this failed dramatically. The first sinking by Canadian Naval Forces occured on September 18, when HMCS Okanagan sank a Turkish destroyer. The Turks made two attempts to sink Eagle, both ending in abject failures.

Turkey's strong army fairly easily beat down the Greek Cypriot land forces, as they retreated back to the British Naval Bases. Turkey never scratched these - they feared a British nuclear retaliation. But Turkey's Navy, badly beaten up by British, American and Canadian carrier-based air and naval forces, couldn't hope to support their troops on the island. The troops exacted ugly revenge on the Greek Cypriots, killing hundreds of them (though rumors say that number was actually thousands).

A UN force, led by the United States Marine Corps, Royal Marines, Greek Army and Canadian Forces Land Command, showed up on October 21, 1976, to clean up in Cyprus. They quickly routed the larger in number but badly under-supplied Turkish forces. By November, the UN was demanding that the Turks get off the islands altogether. The Turks fought bitterly, but their failure was inevitable. On November 19, the Turkish commander on Cyprus surrendered - symbolically, he surrendered to the Canadian Princess Patricia's Light Infantry, rather than surrender to the British or Americans.

The Canadian victory had proven the worth of the Forces to win in a modern war, and in doing so had dramatically increased the stature of the military in the eyes of Canadians, and ensured that its rebuilding would be much bigger and faster than before.

Cyprus would become home to one of the largest UN peacekeeping groups ever, some 26,000 men. Cyprus was a unified nation again. Greek Cypriots, as disgusted at Turkey as they were, made it clear that they would not retaliate against Turkish Cypriots for Turkey's actions. The plan put forward by President Ford would be implemented through 1977, and the first Cypriot government was formed in April 1978. Turkish Cypriots were allowed to leave if they wished, and while some did most didn't. The festering hatred between the two groups died away over time, though the UN peacekeeping force remains to this day.

Turkey, incensed, ordered US troops out of Turkey. The Cypriots, sensing the opportunity, allowed a much expanded base at Akrotiri, which in the 1980s would grow to be home to American and British bombers, as well as many other forces. Canada and Greece were also allowed to use the base, and both countries would make use of it.

1977 - Coming off the victory in Cyprus, programs to rebuild the Canadian military grew rapidly. The NFA program was given a somewhat larger budget, which put the Panavia Tornado and Grumman F-14 back into the competition. The Soviet Union also offered up the Mikoyan MiG-23, which the Canadians liked as an aircraft but poilitically was not likely to be acceptable. The Tornado and Tomcat however were found to be too specialized for the multiple roles that the Canadian Forces envisioned for them.

The Forces, having narrowed the competition to the F/A-18A Hornet, its denavalized version the F-18L and the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

The forces also began looking for replacements for its aging fleet of naval vessels, which were in particular starting to show their age, despite having performed quite admirably in the Mediterranean.

1978 - Rumors begin to surface about the Canadian Forces selecting the F/A-18 Hornet to do the job of a new high-performance fighter, and also select the P-3 Orion to be its new maritime patrol aircraft. The twin-engined Hornet impresses the Canucks more as they wish to have a twin-engined aircraft which also has carrier-capabilities, say the rumors.

General Dynamics and Pratt and Whitney, not wanting to see the F/A-18 gain the potentially very lucrative contract, offered to have the Pratt and Whitney F100 engines made in Quebec, a massive windfall indeed, and led to the Premier of Quebec publicly wanting the F-16 to be the winner of the NFA program, because it provided more benefits for Quebec.

This, however, backfired in GD and P&W's faces when Levesque's plans for a referendum on Quebec independence began turning up in Quebec newspapers in 1979. Knowing of this backfire and wanting to make up ground, the companies offered to not only build the F-16s in Canada, but also allow Canadair to have a license to produce them on their own. Northrop and General Electric fired back with a similar offer, allowing the Canadian government the ability to make future aircraft entirely in Canada, with just license fees and expertise deals being paid to the Americans. President Carter supported this idea - he was wanting to limit the sales of front-line US gear to prevent it from falling into Soviet hands, but Canada was about as likely to go communist as the United States was.

While the companies battled, the Maritime Command did its own studies. Their studies found that the F/A-18 would work on Eagle, but it was somewhat large to do the job and would make space kinda limited aboard the carrier, and they began to look for an attack aircraft to complement the Hornet. They also found that two-seat aircraft were better for close-in attack roles, something the US knew through its experience with its A-6 and F-111 attack aircraft.

1979 - Stanfield was forced to call an election, and while some were expecting a minority government, Stanfield kept his narrow majority. The Liberals and NDP swapped seat between then, the NDP rising to 35 seats from 16. The Liberals gained eight from the collapsing Social Credit party, which was sinking fast and had almost nothing with which to save itself. Stanfield kept 147 seats of the 282 up for grabs.

The NFA program reached its conclusion thanks, indirectly to the Maritime Command. They announced that while the F/A-18 was a great fighter for its purposes, they wanted an attack aircraft. Rumors about the forces asking discreet questions about the A-7 Corsair II began circling.

General Dynamics, realizing this, went to LTV and asked about buying the rights to make the A-7 for the USN and Canadians. LTV said that the company, losing money, could simply buy the company's aircraft divisions. With orders for the F-16 rolling in, the extra capacity was a good idea in the eyes of General Dynamics, and they bought LTV's aircraft division on April 20, 1979. The next day, they offered to end their objections if the Navy bought the A-7 Corsair II for the Navy.

On May 25, 1979, the NFA program was ended, and the Canadian Forces announced a $3.1 Billion program. On order were 138 F/A-18 Hornets, including 40 two-seat Hornets, and 54 A-7E Corsair II attack aircraft, all of them two-seaters.

But a back-door situation just about derailed the whole process. On April 1, 1979, Iran became an "Islamic Republic", to the chargin of the United States. President Carter's at first cordial relations with the new government went downhill fast, after the new government demanded the United States return the former leader, Shah Reza Pahlavi, for trial. As negotiations over this continued, militant students broke into the American Embassy in Tehran and took some 52 people hostage.

Overnight, some $5 Billion in Iranian purchases could not be delivered, including over 150 fighter jets and numerous warships, tanks and other military gear. For Canada and its plans, it was a bonanza.

On September 15, 1979, the Canadian Forces made a proposal to the Iranian government for Canada to purchase its fleet of 79 F-14A Tomcats. This broke in the Canadian media two days later, to the shock and disgust of Northrop Grumman, which had banked on the F/A-18 Hornet deal.

Having been recently re-elected and knowing that they didn't want to be sued for breach of contract, the DND made the decision that if the government could afford it, they would field all three aircraft. Stanfield decided to gamble the total.

On September 27, 1979, the Canadian Forces announced that the F-14s would be in addition to the NFA program, and that the aircraft would be used to replace the CF-101 Voodoo in the interceptor role. A few pointed out that the Tomcat would be doing what had been envisioned for the Avro Arrow, though the National Post sent a reporter to ask Grumman about how good the F-14 was. That reporter was invited to a test flight by Grumman of a Tomcat, to which he was amazed.

Iran, knowing that it could not get parts for its fleet of sophisticated American-made aircraft and that fixing the Tomcats was far beyond them, were happy to sell. On January 27, 1980, the Iranian government agreed to sell its 79 F-14A fighters to Canada for $1.3 Billion. Canada's deposit went quickly, and all of the fighters were flown to Canada between February and August 1980.

As soon as news of the sale of the Tomcats was on, the United States offered to also sell Canada the stock of AIM-54 Phoenix missiles that Iran didn't take delivery of, which Canada again took advantage of. Armed as such, the first reformed Canadian Forces CF-184 (the designation for the Tomcat) squadron activated on April 25, 1981.

The first CF-188 (F/A-18 Hornet) aircraft were delivered to Canada in December 1982, with the last one delivered in January 1988. The first unit to get the Hornet was HMCS Eagle, which wanted to retire and return the F-4s leased from the United States. The refit to allow Eagle to carry the Hornets was done from February-October 1983, and the carrier reactivated with its new air wing on January 10, 1984.

The CF-187 saw its first delivery to CFB Halifax on November 15, 1980, with the order completed in June 1982. All 54 aircraft were assigned to squadrons of the Maritime Command's Fleet Air Arm. They replaced several of the F-4 Phantoms on Eagle during its 1981 and 1982 deployments, before the Hornets finally allowed the Phantom's retirement in January 1984.
Canadian Power: The Canadian Forces as a Major Power

Part 1

1980 - The Canadian Forces' effort in 1980 is focused on the arrival of its new CF-184 and CF-187 aircraft. The first CF-184 arrived at Halifax on February 24, 1980, to a large crowd anxious to see just what the new warbird of the Canadian Forces looked like. The massive, swing-wing Tomcat certainly sparked imaginations.

The Americans, not displeased that Canada's new planes would constitute a massive upgrade of the Canadian and NORAD air defenses, had no issue with Canadian pilots using American simulators for training. Most of the new CF-184 pilots were fighter veterans anyways, so the move up to the Tomcat, while a massive jump from the CF-101, CF-104 and CF-116, was one that the pilots could make. Meanwhile, the United States began its sale of many of the auxillaries to the Maritime Command, including Sparrow, Phoenix and Sidewinder missiles. Meanwhile, the government decided, in a move which surprised many, to keep some of the CF-116 Freedom Fighters, largely as trainers and backup fighters. This was done with an eye towards being able to keep the fighters, which had all been manufactured in Canada, able to be used if they were needed.

Another deal was offered to the Canadians in 1980 from the Americans, again courtesy of Iran. Four missile destroyers had been ordered by Iran but not delivered due to the revolution. President Carter was not keen on the vessels being commissioned into the USN, and asked the Navy to find a buyer for the vessels if they could. Canada was first in line, and with its fleet of destroyers starting to show their age (particularly the St. Laurent and Restigouche class destroyers), the offer - $600 million for all four vessels - was a steal. Canada bargained the price down to $550 million, and the deal was signed on August 26, 1980. The first vessel arrived at Halifax on November 10, 1980.

1980 was a big year in politics in Canada, too. Quebec's Parti Quebecois government, which had been agitating for Quebec independence since its inception in 1968, had planned a referendum on the subject for May 1980. Stanfield, not at all sympathetic to the separatists, asked Trudeau to lead the government forces. Trudeau accepts, and with his right hand men Claude Ryan and Jean Chretien, are instrumental in defeating the referendum. The relations between the opposition leader and his archrival from across the aisle had never been openly hostile, though before this they had never shown a lot of respect for each other. After Trudeau's feverent fight to beat the separatists, however, that changed. At Trudeau's suggestion, and with the support of much of the country and most of his cabinet, Stanfield announced on October 15 that he would follow through on a promise made during the fight against the separatists to repatriate the Canadian Constitution.

A major PR coup for the CF is done when the Forces' offer to provide a helicopter to support Terry Fox in his attempt to run across the country. Terry's attempt is cut short due to spreading cancer at Thunder Bay, Ontario.

1981 - the first operation CF-184 unit, 421 Fighter Squadron, is activated at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta, on April 25. This squadron is the first of five 16-aircraft squadrons that are activated through 1981 and 1982 - two at Cold Lake, two at Goose Bay, Labrador and one at Bagotville, Quebec.

At the same time, Eagle returns from its last deployment with a full F-4 Phantom/E-1 Tracer air wing, trading in the Tracers for E-2B Hawkeye radar aircraft and half the F-4s for 18 brand-new CF-187 Corsair IIs. All of the Corsairs are part of the MARCOM's Fleet Air Wing, similar to the F-4s. The Forces undertake a highly public mission on June 25, when one of the CF Corsairs flies Terry Fox's father, who was on business in Halifax, Nova Scotia, home to British Columbia to be at his son's bedside. Fox's death on June 28 is a big event for Canada in General. The CF offers to do a fly-over as part of Fox's funeral, but the family wishes it not to be so public an affair, and the CF agrees. On August 11, destroyer HMCS Qu'Appelle is renamed HMCS Terry Fox. The Canadian Forces after this event becomes a very regular supporter of the Terry Fox Run, which grows to be a major event to raise money for cancer research across Canada.

The four Kidd-class missile destroyers - named HMCS Ontario, HMCS Quebec, HMCS British Columbia and HMCS Alberta - are commissioned through 1981, after crews are trained. They are first non-US vessels to use the SM-2 Standard surface to air missile, and are among the best air-warfare destroyers on the planet. The four destroyers are primarily used to support Eagle, providing Canada with a full setup for a battle group.

1982 - The first CF-188 Hornet fighters arrive in Canada in October, the first of the 138 fighters. That year, the Canadian Forces announces the development of the Canadian Patrol Frigate project, and a full plan for the future of the Canadian Forces in general.

The plan proposes for the Forces to be focused on three goals - the defense of Canada's airspace, coastline and realm; active involvement in NATO and other alliances and the assistance of good government all around the world. The specifics call for a modernized and upgraded land and naval commands, along with an independent air force capable of deployment anywhere in the world if needed. The goals of the plans are proven by the Falklands War between Argentina and Great Britain, which kicks off on April 2, 1982. That 74-day war results in the deaths of 255 Brits, 650 Argentines and three Falkland Island residents but allows Britain to retake the islands.

On September 21, 1982, Canada's patriated Constitution is signed in Ottawa by Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Robert Stanfield. The ceremony also includes opposition leaders Pierre Trudeau and Ed Broadbent. On May 26, the Queen opens Canada's first session of Parliament after the constitution's repatriation.

1983 - The first operational Hornet unit commissions on June 17 at Bagotville, Quebec, while the last CF-187 is delivered to the Navy. Shortly thereafter, HMCS Eagle gets her first operational squadron of the Hornets, with that squadron of the Fleet Air Wing being activated on November 24, 1983, at CFB Shearwater near Halifax.

That year, the Canadian Forces begins many of the programs that its plan for the Forces' future outlines, with the frigates and new equipment for the land force being high on the list. Other programs, such as new helicopters and AWACS aircraft, are lower on the list but still being considered.

Big political news comes in April as Stanfield announces his retirement. He says he will stay on as Prime Minister and party leader until his successor is chosen. The battle for the Conservative Party leadership is fought bitterly between Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Mulroney is victorious, and with the succesison complete, Stanfield resigns from the Prime Minister job on October 20, 1983, allowing Mulroney to take his place. Mulroney is quite rapidly on good terms with both Canadians (Conservative popularity is high as the country comes powering out of its deep 1981-82 recession) and foreign allies. Him and US President Ronald Reagan in particular develop a strong relationship. That year, an interview by US Navy Chief of Naval Operations James Watkins is a chuffer for the Canadian Forces, as Watkins calls Canada the United States' "strong right hand", and expressing satisfaction that the CF was quickly becoming a very modern military force.

1984 - A massive milestone for the Maritime Command is passed when the first "Canada Squadron" sails into the Atlantic Ocean, departing Halifax on April 25, 1984. The fleet, made up of Eagle, missile destroyers Ontario and British Columbia, anti-sub destroyers Annapolis and Terry Fox and submarine Ojibwa, sails out into the Atlantic and faces off with USS Forrestal, which finds the Canadian carrier, with its CF-18 Hornets and CE-2 Hawkeyes, to be a fairly tough rival. Ojibwa makes things even worse for the Americans when it shows up during the exercise immediately behind Forrestal, leading to a comment by Forrestal's CO "We got beaten. I don't know how, but the igloo-dwellers beat us!"

The success surprises the Maritime Command, which expected the aging Oberon class subs to be easy prey for American nuclear subs. The success of the Canadian Forces' rebuild of Eagle and the problems faced by British forces in Argentina leads to Thatcher's decision in June 1984 to order HMS Ark Royal, which had been decommissioned in 1978 and laid up, to be reactivated. In late 1984, the Royal Navy asks for Canadian Forces technicians to assist them in rebuilding Ark Royal back to battle-readiness. The Canadian Forces of course agree, and the United States, where President Reagan is undertaking his own big defense buildup and is more than happy to allow two of his staunchest allies to work up their military capacity. HMS Ark Royal enters dry dock at Marconi Marine's year in Glasgow on September 14, 1984, while work is still done on her design.

The 1984 Canadian elections are the third-straight Conservative majority government, but this time Mulroney grows the Conservative Majority to 150 seats out of a possible 282. The Liberals score decently under John Turner, winning 91 seats. The NDP gets their best-ever showing, grabbing 41 seats. Mulroney continues with the plans for Canada's military.
Margaret Thatcher asks the Canadians to support the British with their carrier during the Falklands War!
That would be fun!

I thought about that, but rejected it on the grounds that Argentina's Air Force was woefully unprepared and many other conditions favored the Brits.
Canadian Power: The Canadian Forces as a Major Power
Part 3

1985 - 1985 begins for the Canadian Forces with its carrier at sea. HMCS Eagle, having spent its entire commissioned career in the Atlantic, moves to the Pacific, but its size requires it to sail the long way around Cape Horn. The carrier and her group take 46 days to sail from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Esquimault, British Columbia, arriving on February 8, 1985. The "Canada Squadron", as it is now affectionately known as, makes port stops at Norfolk, Miami, Santo Domingo, Rio de Janiero, Buenos Aires, Stanley, Valapariso, Lima, Acapulco, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle along the way. The numerous stops are more for PR and show-the-flag purposes than anything else, but its a successful tour. The highlight of it is at San Francisco, when Eagle's crew is part of the commissioning ceremony for American Battleship USS Iowa, which is recommissioned in San Francisco on January 30, 1985.

At Halifax, the flag duties are assumed by destroyer HMCS Quebec, along with a small but well-trained surface fleet. They spend 1985 mostly exercising with the American, French and British naval forces. The exercises, however, show that Canada's forces, well trained as they are, are lacking in equipment. But all of the allies realize that the solution to that problem is underway.

On the Pacific, Eagle puts on yet more mileage, departing Esquimault for east Asia on June 17. After making a stop at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Eagle and her group arrive in Sydney, Australia, on July 7. After exercises, the group sails to Singapore, Hong Kong and Subic Bay before making Tokyo on July 24. Six days later, the big carrier heads for home, arriving in British Columbia on August 15.

The tour is by all accounts a major success, though it causes a bit of a row in Australia, with some asking why Australia didn't replace its carrier after seeing the usefulness in Cyrpus and the Falklands of such vessels. HMAS Melbourne had left Australia in April and was being scrapped, so that option was out. PM Bob Hawke was ripped mightily by most of the opposition after he announced that there would still be no replacement for Melbourne, to the point that several members of his own cabinet went against this. In September, a Canadian Forces ex-member wrote in to the Sydney Morning Herald that one option could be buying rebuilding an Essex-class carrier from the US. This struck a nerve, to the point that in November, Australia made a request to the United States what it would cost to purchase one. To Australia's surprise, the United States pointed out that it had offered an Essex class to Australia for free if it Australia paid its operation and refit costs, and that the deal was still on the table.

On January 24, 1986, the United States announced that the ex-USS Oriskany was to be given to Australia. Oriskany left Bremerton, Washington, under town on February 20, 1986, arriving in Melbourne, Australia, on May 10. Like the Canadian carrier, a plan to rebuild it was drawn up. The carrier was dry-docked at Williamstown, Victoria, on June 18, 1986, for rebuild.

Back in Canada, Eagle and her escorts were proud units, but the rest of the Navy was, in the worlds of Conservative MP Donald Ravis, "Well-trained but underarmed and underequipped." The Patrol Frigate project was well underway, but it was also clear that the submarines and destroyers neede replacing, too. Realizing that the cost of doing it all at once was too high, Canada on September 23, 1985, put out requests for a new destroyer for the Canadian Forces, specifiying a design that used as many off the shelf components as possible to reduce time taken to build and the cost.

By the beginning of 1986, the British had offered the Type 42 and the United States had the Spruance class. Privately, the Americans also said they would be willing to sell the Ticonderoga class, but the price of the Ticos was considered to be too high for the Forces.

1986 - The first big news of 1986 for the Canadian Forces the Patrol Frigate Project. A design was shown off by the forces, a 5,000-ton frigate which had quite a loadout. The original design had been finished in early 1985, but the Forces had spent most of the previous year fine-tuning it. The Commons, which was a big supporter of its being built to a Canadian design and using many Canadian components, approved the first four units on July 10, 1986, with all three parties in Parliament supporting the idea on various grounds.

That year, the government also asked for tenders on new submarines, and stated that it would consider both nuclear and conventional designs, but would prefer nuclear subs. Prime Minister Mulroney, under fire from some corners for the country's big spending, justified it by pointing out that Canada had a huge land mass, a long coastline and many responsibilities under NATO, and that if the country was to be both safe and able to fulfill its duties and goals in the world, it had to have the tools to do so, and right now it didn't have them.

By late 1986, it was clear that the Forces were gonna have lot of commissioning cermonies not that many years into the future. Debate was now raging on just how to proceed with the destroyer and submarine projects, as well as other gear for the future. NATO's Common Frigate project was starting to show promise, but many differences remained on that one. Germany offered to bring Canada into its project to replace the Hamburg class destroyers, but it was looking increasingly like the destroyer competition would be between the British and Americans.

1987 - The Destroyer competition got a left turn when Argentina offered to sell its two Type 42 destroyers, which they for all the obvious reasons could not get parts for, for just $75 million, a 70% discount on their price new. It was far too good a deal to pass up, and Canada bought them. Both Canadian crews collected the vessels on September 10, 1987, and sailed home to Canada with them. With that Canada put the plan on hold, but said that it wasn't cancelled. That was fine with the US and UK, the UK especially. The two Type 42 destroyers were renamed HMCS Newfoundland and HMCS Manitoba, and while they proved to be decent, they were not the caliber of the Kidd class vessels already in service with MARCOM.

HMCS Halifax, the first of the Patrol Frigate project, was laid down at MIL Davie shipyard in Lauzon, Quebec, with no small amount of fanfare. It was hoped that the new frigates would allow the retirement of Canada's 1950s era frigates which they had in significant numbers. The Patrol frigate design was itself plenty impressive, though two important design changes happened fairly early on - four 8-cell SAM systems were installed instead of just two, and the original 57mm gun was found to be inadequate for attacking many of its intended targets. The original upgrade plan was for the OTO Melara 76mm unit, but as the frigate was being built his was changed again, this time to the 5" gun used by the Ontario-class destroyers.

HMCS Eagle went into dry-dock once again, this time to be fitted with new electronic systems and decoys, being fitted with the American AN/SLQ-32 electronic warfare system, and the addition of anechoic tiles and a synethetic hull coating, designed to reduce noise and eliminate corrosion.

On the submarine front, the first offers began rolling in. The Germans offered the Type 209/1500, the French offered the Rubis class, the United States offered the Sturgeon and Los Angeles classes, the British offered the Trafalgar and Upholder classes and Sweden offered the Vastergotland class, and all of them had their own backers and supporters. The backers of the Type 209 and Vastergotland class pointed out that the SSK design was much cleaper than a nuclear vessel to buy and maintain, while the nuclear sub backers pointed out the SSKs had no way of having the capabilities of a nuclear vessel. The Americans jumped on the British, claiming that the British couldn't sell the Trafalgar class due to non-proliferation concerns, but when this broke in the media on November 1987, the government demanded an explanation. The Americans quickly backtracked, calling it an "unfortunate mistake".

A Canadian consortium, Canada Submarine Solutions was also in the news with the sub program, and on November 18, 1987, said that Canada could buy the Trafalgar class hull and systems and develop their own reactor for it. This grew to be the choice of the NDP, which always advocated Made-in-Canada solutions to the defense problems. This group began to be taken more seriously as the debate went on.
The 1988 Canadian Forces

Maritime Command

Commissioned Vessels

Eagle-class Aircraft Carrier (1)
HMCS Eagle (CV 23)

Ontario-class (Kidd class) Missile Destroyer (4)
HMCS Ontario (DDG 284)
HMCS Quebec (DDG 285)
HMCS British Columbia (DDG 286)
HMCS Alberta (DDG 287)

Manitoba-class (Type 42) Missile Destroyer (2)
HMCS Manitoba (DDG 288)
HMCS Newfoundland (DDG 289)

Iroquois-class Helicopter Destroyer (4)
HMCS Iroquois (DDH 280)
HMCS Huron (DDH 281)
HMCS Athabaskan (DDH 282)
HMCS Algonquin (DDH 283)

Annapolis-class destroyer escort (2)
HMCS Annapolis (DDH 265)
HMCS Nipigon (DDH 266)

Mackenzie-class destroyer escort (4)
HMCS Mackenzie (DDH 261)
HMCS Saskatchewan (DDH 262)
HMCS Yukon (DDH 263)
HMCS Terry Fox (DDH 264)

Restigouche-class destroyer escort (2)
HMCS Gatineau (DDE 236)
HMCS Terra Nova (DDE 259)

Oberon-class diesel-electric submarines (3)
HMCS Ojibwa (S71)
HMCS Okanagan (S72)
HMCS Onondaga (S73)

Protecteur-class auxillary vessel (2)
HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509)
HMCS Preserver (AOR 510)

Provider-class auxillar vessel (1)
HMCS Provider (AOR 508)

Maritime Command Fleet Air Wing

34 CF-188 Hornet (multi-role fighter)
54 CF-187 Corsair II (attack aircraft)
80 CP-121 Tracker (carrier-borne ASW aircraft)
6 CE-2C Hawkeye (carrier-borne AEW aircraft)
25 CP-140 Aurora (maritime patrol aircraft)
36 CH-124 Sea King (ASW/utility helicopter)
27 CF-174 Phantom II (reserve fighters)

Canadian Forces Air Command

Active Aircraft

78 CF-184 Tomcat (air defense aircraft)
98 CF-188 Hornet (multi-role fighter)
70 CF-116 Freedom Fighter (light fighter)

3 EF-101B Electric Voodoo (electronic jamming aircraft)

12 CC-137C Husky (transport/airborne tanker)
32 CC-130 Hercules (transport/airborne tanker)
5 CC-144 Challenger 600 (transport/VIP aircraft)
6 CC-138 Twin Otter (transport aircraft)
2 CC-132 Dash-7 (STOL transport aircraft)
10 CC-109 Cosmopolitan (transport aircraft)
18 CC-129 Dakota (transport aircraft)
6 CC-115 Buffalo (search and rescue)

9 CH-147C Chinook (heavy lift/transport helicopter)
18 CH-113 Sea Knight (Transport helicopter, 6 converted to SAR helicopters)
65 CH-136 Kiowa (light attack/observation helicopter)
44 CH-135 Twin Huey (transport helicopter)

Land Command

75 Leopard C1 (main battle tank)
275 Grizzly AVGP (armored vehicle)
944 M113 (armored personnel carrier)
170 M113 Lynx (command and control vehicle)
76 M109A4+ (self-propelled artillery)
1,210 Volkswagen Iltis (utility transport)
2,740 MLVW (M35) transport trucks)
78 Bv206 (tracked utility vehicles)
27 Husky AVGP (armored recovery vehicle)
9 AVLB Beaver (bridge-laying vehicle)
16 ARV Taurus (armored recovery vehicle)
Those Kidds had been ordered by the Shah of Iran before he got the boot. Canada got them dirt-cheap.

Yep, same as the Type 42s. I imagine that if they were buying, they'd want to buy something they made - but four top-quality brand-new air defense destroyers for 70% off list price is hard to pass up. The Navy here overall is a slightly small manpower than in OTL, even with the carrier - the St. Laurent class of destroyers, which in OTL lasted into the 1990s, here is decommissioned in 1981-82, the Kidd class taking their jobs. the remaining destroyer escorts will be decommissioned as the Halifax-class comes into being. The next gen of supply vessels will have more members, yes, that would be needed, even though Eagle can resupply the steam-powered vessels herself. Eagle here has a regular loadout of 18 Hornets, 20 Corsairs, 2 Hawkeyes, 4 Trackers and 2 Sea Kings.

The Phantoms are reserve units, kept in case they are needed. I was thinking of having them be converted into EW and Wild Weasel platforms, still debating that. The Army is about the same size as OTL, but that's gonna change. The government hasn't got a blank check and the subs, frigates and upcoming projects in the Air Force (AWACS aircraft, EW, attack helicopters, airlifters) have mostly consumed the procurement budgets for now. But as these projects get finished in the 1990s, the attention will turn to the Army. Keep in mind that the Canadian Army's primary focus in the late 80s was its divisions in Europe, after all what threat have we got on our borders? MARCOM, by contrast, has to secure the sea-lanes between Europe and North America in the event of a NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict.

I'll give you guys one clue about future updates - Royal Canadian Marine Corps. :D
Couple of thoughts...a few high profile drug busts and/or human smugglers captures during the early 80's might help maintain enforcement profiles. That or a pirate interception in SE Asia during the round the world tour.

That's coming. Remember that Canada didn't pay much attention to drug smuggling until the Mounties busted up a big ring after being tipped off in 1990 by a pilot for the drug runners, and in the process picking up Pablo Escobar's girlfriend. I'm thinking that the fleet goes out for NATO exercises, and gets a surprise on the way home.

What is the size of the Army? Does Canada still maintain it's highlander battalions?

About the same size as OTL, and Yes, the Highlanders still exist. Right now, they are at nil strength (mandated that way in 1970), but that changes not too far in the future.

Air transport? More chinooks and C-130's for SARTEC and mobile response of forces?

That's gonna be in the future. Like I said, the Navy and Air Force projects are at the front of the line, they are needed more right now.

Supply ships (Provider, Protector and Preserver) will most likely not be enough. Need likely double this plus replacements for the originals.

My plan of attack on that one is to build 6-8 ships for this role, but also vessels which are themselves units that serve for peacekeepers. Think a supertanker-sized vessel with large bunkers for marine diesel and avgas, but which also have 3-4 helicopter pads, a fully-equipped hospital, SAR choppers and facilities for Marines and other combat personnel.

Attack helicopters? Do we go into Cobra's as helicopter gunships for the transport helicopters?

I'm not sure what way to go on that one. Yes, we'll be getting attack choppers, I'm just not sure whether it'll be Cobras, Apaches, Mangustas or something else. That's a ways into the future yet, though.

Re-positioning of the reserves and Armed Forces. Current reserve units are based often in the WW1 population centers and lack sufficent presence in newer and/or larger centers. Engineers in Prince George, Navy in Prince Rupert and Iqualiat, Army in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurry, Red Deer, Whistler. New regiments based upon changing demographics...Sikh, Chinese, and Native focused recruiting into new battalions? A change in focus where the Engineering units are expanded and a number are on federal duty working on National scope infrastructure projects similar to the US Army Engineers and Levy work for example...

Those changes are coming at the end of the Cold War.

An expanded force (2-3 companies rotated through the reserve units) for giving an army specific profile and airforce practice at long distance re-supply?

That can't happen yet simply because we don't have the aircraft yet, but peacekeeping is one of the Primary goals of the Canadian Forces. The international involvement of the Canadian Forces ITTL is primarily to be a peacekeeper, a resolver on conflicts rather than a participant. Canadian troops are gonna be doing a fair bit of duty in Africa in the 1990s.

Taking the Turks and Cacois Islands up on their merger offer into Canada as part future naval base and part expansion of Canada? This may lead into a higher role in Caribean nation Aid and peacekeeping instead of Africa.

I'm a Canuck and proud of it. You better believe I'm looking at how to feasibly do that. :D
1988 - The first part of the year was taken up by the debate over the submarines. The Americans' decision to not allow the sale of the straight Trafalgar design had infuriated both nations, and had even caused more than a little bit of friction between Thatcher and Reagan, though Reagan rather liked the idea of Canadian SSNs being out there able to back up American subs.

But that fight wasn't over. In February 1988, the Canadian Submarine Consortium released an initial plan for a Trafalgar-class SSN with two ten-foot hull stretches, one front and one aft, and a heavy-water reactor, a scaled-down version of Canada's CANDU design. This, along with the idea of Canadian designed systems, came to be considered a prominent option. The liberals weren't really very keen on the nuclear subs, but the NDP changed tune on it. It seemed that the Trafalgar ban by the US had backfired dramatically. The front hull stretch allowed for eight vertical launch cells, an idea stolen from the newer Los Angeles class SSNs.

On August 15, 1988, the Canadian Forces announced that they would go with the design, now named the Superior class, for one initial submarine, to see how the design worked. The Brits, pleased that their design had gone through, approved the same of the base Trafalgar class design, and supplied all of the systems needed. The Americans, wanting to save face, had no issues supplying the Mark 36 VLS system for the subs. The 300-foot-long, 5,820-ton submarine was the largest submarines ever operated by Canada. The keel of the sub was laid down at the Canadian Shipbuilding shipyard in Montreal, Quebec on January 10, 1989, with the sub scheduled for mid-1991 delivery.

That year, the first Halifax-class frigate rolled out of dry dock at MIL-Davie and headed into intensive training. This was watched closely by the Americans and others, who found the design's characteristics quite impressive. Far from a single-role ASW design some had figured it would be, the design, with its Harpoon AShM missiles, Sea Sparrow SAMs and other systems, was a real multi-role platform, and a big step up from the destroyer escorts it was going to replace.

That year, the Air Command, which had been agitating for some plans of its own, made a formal request the House of Commons to buy a number of Airborne Radar aircraft, pointing out that these had become absolutely critical to the effective defense of Canada's skies and as part of Canada's NORAD operation. With the sub program underway and the frigate program in testing, the Air Command, against its own expectations, was cleared to make its formal request for bids on September 27, 1988.

Politically, Mulroney led what was becoming known as "The Big Blue Machine" to its record fourth-straight majority government in the elections, held on November 18, 1988. The government's seat count grew to 159 out of 295, but the stunning ascender was the NDP, which swelled its count from 41 to 55, while the Liberals were the losers, sinking from 91 seats to 81 and leading some to figure that the 1990s would see the NDP replace the Liberals as the primary opposition. That loss of support saw Liberal leader John Turner be sacked on February 17, 1989.

1989 - The Halifax-class frigate, despite being an all-new design, was being found to be a very satisfactory vessel indeed. It boasted lower radar and thermal signatures and was a better seaboat than its predecessors, and possessed much more armament, and to the surprise of most, even came in under its projected $275 million CAD cost. Impressed by the results and ready to move with the project, the Canadian Forces commissioned HMCS Halifax in her namesake city on August 3, 1989. Halifax joined its first battle group six days later, when she sailed out with Eagle on a North Atlantic deployment. The Second, Third and Fourth vessels of the class - Vancouver, Ville de Quebec and Toronto - were by the year under construction.

Another big deal that surprised most was the decision to change many of the ranks, insignia and uniforms. The Maritime Command in particular had been agitating for a change in this regard, wanting to return to its blue uniforms and ranks. On July 25, 1989, they got their wish, when Secretary of Defense Bill McKnight announced the return of many of the pre-unification insignia, ranks and uniforms, to be instituted through 1989 and 1990.

For the air command, the AWACS project went into high-gear. The first RFI came from the United States, which offered Canada the E-3B Sentry, though Israel, in its first attempt to sell military gear to Canada, offered to fit one of its Phalcon systems in a Canadian aircraft. While other proposals would come in, these two were considered the prime candidates.

Israel's proposal was to install the Phalcon system in an airliner, but the proposal Israel produced was to have the work done in Canada - a key advantage over the American proposal. The Israeli system, which had recently begun service for the IDF, was a system which did not use a radome and didn't need a large aircraft as the E-3 did. One Israeli proposal was to install it in a Bombardier private jet.

Circumstances played into this one as well. The merger of Wardair with Canadian Airlines in March 1989 left Canadian Airlines with surplus aircraft, including ten almost brand new Airbus A310s. The Forces decided to purchase the A310s, and assigned six of them to be the planes to install the Israeli AWACS systems in. The deal was confirmed to the Media on November 17, 1989, and yhe first was delivered to the Bombardier facility at Downsview, Ontario, for the work to begin on April 25, 1990. The Phalcon systems, which cost $240 million a pop, were expensive but were considered to be worth it, especially since the upgrade and rebuild modifications, and the design of many control systems for the upgraded A310s, were providing employment to almost 6,000 Canadians.

1989 for HMCS Eagle was taken up for the first part by a refit that gave it a new electrical distribution system that allowed greater control of power movement, and upgraded electrical generators. Fitted as such and with one its new escorts in tow, Eagle left Halifax on August 9, 1989, for a NATO exercise in the Carribbean. Eagle arrived at Kingston, Jamaica, on August 18 and was visited by the Jamaican Prime Minister along with other dignitaries, before sailing out to begin the exercise on the evening of August 19. The next morning, HMCS Newfoundland picked up a pair of vessels moving very rapidly on the water, headed for the United States. Newfoundland requested the vessels identify themselves, and when they didn't respond, dispatched its Sea King to track it down. The helicopter noted that the vessels looked to be lengthened speedboats, so-called "gofast" boats commonly used by drug smugglers. Realizing this, HMCS Halifax and two Sea Kings, one form the Halifax and the other from HMCS Terra Nova, chased the boats down. One of the men on the boats fired on the helicopter, and a crewman on the Sea King shot back, disabling the boat. A boarding crew from HMCS Newfoundland boarded the vessel, discovering over 1300 pounds of cocaine in the vessel's hull.

The "Takedown on the High Seas" got a lot of press, both in Canada and the United States. The crew of the helicopter from Terra Nova was awarded a Citation for their work, and the supporters of the much-grown forces got to claim a point, showing that the Canadian Forces could do job other than fight wars.

The NATO exercise had a surprise for Eagle - its sister, HMS Ark Royal, which recommissioned in Britain on March 29, 1989 after an extensive five-year refit, was in it. The Brits had also bought Hornets for air defense, but the real sledgehammer for the carrier was a number of navalized Panavia Tornado attack aircraft, which clearly had the edge on Eagle's much-smaller CF-187 Corsair attack fighters. Canuck ASW work still topped all, as one of Eagle's CP-121 Trackers caught and shot at brand-new British nuclear sub HMS Trenchant and also picked off American sub USS Houston, with the observers both noting that the subs had done nothing wrong - the Canucks knew their business.

1990 - A good year for the Forces began, sadly, with a tragedy. On January 23, 1990, A CF-184 Hornet on maneuvers suffered a massive engine failure as it exercised over Edmonton, Alberta, causing it to plummet into a residential neighborhood. Both crewmen ejected safely, but the crashing plane landed in the yard of an elementary school, killing nine school children. The investigation crash was caused when one of the Pratt and Whitney engines flamed out, causing the pilot to lose control of his aircraft.

The Forces, which had been studying the upgrades made to US Navy F-14s, asked the government to get the funds to replace the Pratt and Whitney engines. After the disaster in Edmonton, the order was quickly approved. The first Canuck Tomcat to get the new General Electric engines was refitted in July 1990, and all of the aircraft would cycle through the process in 1990 and 1991.

Late in the year, the news for the Forces was dominated by the initial launch of HMCS Superior, Canada's first nuclear sub. The sub was launched on October 26, 1990, though it was not ready for delivery until April 1991. At a cost of $1.1 Billion to be completed, the nuclear-powered sub was the most expensive vessel the Canadian Forces had ever purchased. The high cost of the vessels led to the plan for six such subs to be scrapped - they were simply too expensive. The plan was officially narrowed to three in November 1990, though the Forces amended the plan in 1991 to plan for six to eight SSKs to complement the nuclear boats.

The second of the Halifax-class frigates, HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) was launched on December 10, 1990, though it still needed fitting out. But as the class was quite effective at its job, the government in November 1990 made the decision to build two more of the Halifax class frigates, Regina and Calgary. The success of the Navy during the Gulf War would ensure that the full fleet of Halifax-class vessels was built.

Gulf War (August 2, 1990 - February 28, 1991) - After years of tension, Iraq invaded its small neighbor Kuwait on August 2, 1990, kicking off the first Gulf War. The Iraqi initial victory was very swift, and so was an American response. On August 7, the Americans began moving forces into Saudi Arabia to protect against an Iraqi attack into Saudi territory. Canada quickly followed suit, and deployed HMCS Eagle in her first real conflict since the violence on Cyprus in 1977. Eagle and its battle group - including escorts Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba, Huron, Halifax and Terra Nova and supply ships Protecteur and Provider - arrived on station in the Red Sea on September 16, 1990, having also escorted four of the United States' eight fast sealift ships from the Mid-Atlantic all the way to Saudi Arabia. The 1st Canadian Mechanized Group was also deployed to Saudi Arabia as part of the buildup.

The war began in earnest on January 15, 1991, with Operation Instant Thunder. The Canadian Forces joined in the massive bombing of Iraq's infrastructure, and a Canadian Forces Hornet shot down two Iraqi fighters trying to engage coalition forces. This same battle saw Canada's first aircraft loss, a Hornet hit by an Iraqi SAM. The Canadian contingent also proved effective in land combat, the Iraqi's Soviet tank fleet being little match for the Canadian Leopard C1s and their 105mm guns, not to mention far better training. But the Leos were outgunned by the American M1 Abrams, leading many Canuck commanders to mutter about "if we had those Abrams....." The land forces, however, held their own.

A Canadian Forces' CF-187 was shot down over Khafji on January 29 while trying to attack Iraqi positions in Khafji, one of only three aircraft losses suffered by the Forces in the Gulf War. The raid was successful, but a Iraqi SAM struck the aircraft from behind on its way out. The Princess Patricia's Light Infantry joined the US Marine Corps and Saudi, British and Kuwaiti forces on the battle into Kuwait on February 23, the Patricia's armored group also getting a piece of the action, killing nineteen Iraqi tanks while taking two losses. Canadian Troops also assisted the French forces during the Attack into Iraq itself on February 24th, helping secure the force's left flank. Iraq was defeated on February 28th, when a cease-fire was declared.

The Canadian Forces suffered 23 dead and 55 wounded, smaller numbers than what was lost in Turkey against a much stronger foe. Canadian public opinion, already moderately pro-military to begin with, grew stronger as time went on. The troops began arriving home in March 1991, to considerable fanfare. The Infantry's arrive-home ceremonies included a parade through Halifax, which was met by almost 25,000 supporters. Saudi Arabia paid Canada a $2.1 Billion sum for its actions during the war, though this was not demanded by Canada. HMCS Eagle and her battle group arrived in Halifax on April 25, 1991, to a crowd of nearly 40,000 people.
Hmm, they could possibly be spares, or perhaps they were written off in acidents?

You nailed it with the second option. Canada has lost 16 Hornets since 1988 IRL. Crashes happen, and generally you can't repair an aircraft that's been crashed, ya know. ;)
This is more related to general recruitment...but currently to serve you must be a Canadian citizen expect for rare exceptions. If Canada retains the organic structure of 45 and 46 Commando could there be a change where greater troop transfer options exist?

i.e. British soldier at end of his term in the British Army in good standing wishes to transfer to the Canadian Army. Cross transfer in allowed with a requirement for 4? 10? years honorable service upon which the soldier must declare a nationality...Canadian or British. Could also be a transfer from say Commando 40 to Commando 45 (null strength) which is then transfered to say 2 PPCLI (in honor of MacCauley).

This could also be expanded upon for the rest of NATO as a means of helping offset the changes in Canadian demographics.

I hadn't thought of this idea, but you know, I might have to steal it for the Marine Corps. I've been thinking on how to make a real Canadian Marine Corps and have it be halfway effective early on, but this might do it. I'm also planning out a Canadian SAS - none of this "Joint Task Force Two" bullshit. (Not that JTF2 ain't effective - just Canadian SAS sounds more menacing.)
1991 - Even with the Gulf War raging, the Canadian Forces are still making progress. The first big deals of the year happen within five days of each other, the first deals in a year that would wind up being full of them.

The first was the commissioning of Canada's second Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Vancouver, which is commissioned in Montreal on February 15, 1991. Vancouver is the second of the highly-impressive class of warships, which was at that point doing impressively well with its work in the Red Sea. Vancouver immediately heads out, along with Alberta, Newfoundland, Iroquois and Terry Fox, to relieve the vessels on station in the Red Sea, but the ships are just past Italy when they receive news of the end of the War, and return home escorting the ships of other nations on the way.

Five days later, the first CC-150AEW "Polaris" rolls out of the workshop at Downsview. All six of the AEW aircraft ordered are completed in 1991, and the squadron stands-to on November 19, 1991. The six aircraft, operated by 455 Squadron, are based at CFB Cold Lake in Alberta, through they frequently move around the country and around the world as circumstances require them to.

The Gulf War taught a number of lessons to the Forces, both good and bad. The good was that the Forces' training was both well-done and useful. The Forces did well with its Leopard C1 tanks, though it was clear they needed to get something better in that regard - they had been dramatically outgunned by American M1 Abrams and British Challenger 1 tanks. The effectiveness of the Iraqi SAMs was a surprise to the Canadians, and convinced them to get a system of their own. The September 1991 display of Oerlikon's ADATS project shows the Canucks exactly what they are looking for. Also learned was the usefulness of fast sealift ships such as the American Fast Sealift Ships, and that the Navy needed more dedicated supply ships if the force was to be sustained a long ways from home.

The final CF-184 to get its new engines is returned to the CF in June 1991, though many of its pilots are visibly sad that they did not get to take on the Iraqis in the Gulf War, and the Air Command makes a request to test the Tomcat on HMCS Eagle. This happens in late 1991, and while Eagle proves to be able to handle the big interceptor, it is deemed too large to be well-suited for the carrier.

On April 27, 1991, the Mulroney Government shows off its plan for a major military rework for the 1990s. The plan, a heavily amended version of the plan showed off in 1983, includes a number of major changes, and also lays out a large set of procurements for the 1990s:

- Eight Halifax-class frigates, to make a total of fourteen;
- An Amphibious Assault Ship;
- A fast sealift ship;
- Six to Eight support ships;
- Several cheaper diesel-electric submarines, to complement the small number of nuclear submarines;
- A replacement for the CH-124 Sea King anti-submarine Helicopter fleet;
- A mobile surface to air missile system;
- A new main battle tank to replace the Leopard C1;
- A dedicated attack aircraft, to assist in close air support and destroying tanks;
- Additional transport aircraft, to allow fast movement of goods and troops;
- Additional commercial off the shelf helicopters, for transport purposes;
- A replacement for the aging CC-137s being used for aerial refueling and transport purposes;
- An aircraft for conducting sovereignty patrols over the Arctic;
- New utility transport vehicles, to replace the expensive Volkswagen Iltis in utility duties.

Also included in this is a growth of the Canadian Forces' highly mobile units, able to deploy all over the world for both civilian and military purposes. One of the plans is to return the Black Watch, the legendary Highlanders, back to being an active unit. By the end of the year, the RFIs for the programs were going out, and companies around the world were responding......
Funny, I also had a Canadian SAS for the same reason - it sounds good.

Indeed, it does. :cool:

So what does this mean in general for the rest of NATO? The somewhat massive Canadian military buildup is going to have a knock-on effect elsewhere, especially in Britain. I doubt that the U.K. would be willing to be outclassed by a nation that was until fairly recently, subordinate to it.

The UK isn't outclassed by Canada in any stretch. Here, after seeing how good Eagle is and that an old warhorse can be made a monster again, did order Eagle's sister ship (HMS Ark Royal) in for a rebuild of its own. Britain has a angled-deck CV now, and has Hornets like Canada, as well as a naval variant of the Tornado. Britain has nuclear weaponss, a fleet of SSNs (Canada is only buying three) and an army that is twice as large. NATO I would imagine is quite happy to see the Canucks powering up, it's more resources in the event of a fight.

Also, what of this Anglo-Canadian technology sharing? Certainly America may be getting a large share of the imput too but Britain has certainly been a big contributer.

How is all of this affecting their relations?

At the height of the Cold War, both the United States and Britain rather like having a powerful Canada, because they know, especially after proving the point in Cyprus and Iraq, that the Canucks are no pushovers. In the 1990s IRL, the Canadian Forces sank to such a point that the Americans and British wrote off the Canadian Forces as being unable or unwilling to carry weight, a perception that only got smoked when Canada went into the fight in Afghanistan with eyes wide open. Here, that's somewhat different, of course. I don't imagine a much stronger Canadian Forces will be anything but a positive for relations between Canada and NATO.
It is, but most of us it already exists or has been seriously proposed before. Not all of it will happen, mind you.
(OOC: Note that I am changing OTL history here, because I want the 1990s and 2000s to be more interesting. Any suggestions or comments are of course appreciated. :))

1992 - The Soviet Union officially packs it on Christmas Day in 1991, leaving no enemy in the Cold War and leaving NATO increasingly looking like it has no mission. The draw down of the Soviet Armed Forces, which began in 1985-86, became a flood in 1992 as the Soviet Republics, struggling under their own leadership and in many cases fighting bitterly amongst themselves, looked far less powerful than they had even a decade earlier.

With this came demands that Canada, as with most NATO countries, begin its own reduction in the size of the armed forces. Canada's government and all of its major parties realize that many of the excesses of the Cold War were now unnecessary, but Iraq had taught that there was still a need for the armed forces, and the bitter fighting in the ex-Soviet Republics that became open wars through 1992 showed that peacekeeping, a critical Canadian goal and a primary missions of the Canadian Forces, was gonna last long into the future.

On March 24, 1992, Prime Minister Mulroney announced that the six nuclear sub program that had begun in 1988 would be cut to three, much to the disappointment of the Canadian Submarine Solutions, which had been planning on building all six. The three would be complemented by a small handful of much cheaper to buy (and operate) diesel-electric submarines, once again opening bidding. The Submarine guys quickly got into the bidding for this, but that would remain low-key through the 1990s.

In the slowdown of the 1990s, several of Mulroney's 1991 plan aspects began to be viciously debated. The attack aircraft program would ultimately end up being settled by building additional CF-187 Corsair II attack aircraft, and buying a substantial number of ex-US Navy units for parts and training units. The Fast Sealift and Amphibious Assault Ship programs were merged, and efficiencies began to be looked into.

The battles of the year, despite the problems in Eastern Europe, began in Africa, in two widely spaced and very different countries.

In East Africa, Somalia had become a major problem. The death of dictator Siad Barre in 1991 had thrown the country into chaos, and the battles of 1991 and early 1992 had caused vast chaos in the country, and famine gripped millions. Food began being shipped into the nation in early 1992, but the opposing warlord clans fought bitterly and stole everything possible, with both sides trying to use food as a weapon. Eventually, observers were deployed to try and stop the violence and more easily move the food to those who needed it.

But on April 26, 1992, that situation changed dramatically. A bomb blast on South Africa's famed Blue Train caused the train to derail at over 80 mph, killing President Frederik de Klerk and most of his cabinet. Less than a week later on May 1, 1992, a car bomb aimed at ANC leaders killed ANC leaders Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Oliver Tambo. Nelson Mandela is wounded in the attack, but not seriously. Rioting in South Africa is put down, brutally, by the South African government in Pretoria, which after the attack on the Blue Train is in no mood to play nice. But after the attack on the ANC leaders, black protesters are not in any mood to play nice, either. Within weeks race war has gripped South Africa, and when combined with the problems in the former Soviet Union strategic minerals prices explode, causing a big slowdown in the world economy.

Realizing that this couldn't stand, UN Resolution 790 former the UNMISA, the United Nations Mission in South Africa, and began to prepare landings. A big hurry-up happens after reports of mutinies within the once rock-hard SADF appear, and the body count soars into the thousands. On May 28, 1992, the UN authorizes the usage of force to end the violence in South Africa, supported by all five Security Council permanent members and dozens of other nations, Canada included. On June 2, Mulroney orders the Eagle battle group to South Africa, expecting trouble from all sides to the landing of troops.

HMCS Eagle is joined by HMS Ark Royal, HMAS Australia and American carriers Nimitz, George Washington, John F. Kennedy and Independence, along with battleship USS Missouri, whose planned retirement had been halted due to the need for gunfire support. The landing at Cape Town on June 28, 1992, met stiff resistance mostly from SADF units, but shortly after the landings the SADF gave in and ordered a cease-fire, with it going into effect on July 1 at 12:01 am. The ANC, however, does not negotiate a cease-fire and continues fighting, forcing allied forces to separate the two.

UNMISA would turn out to be the largest UN operation ever set up, with over 85,000 troops committed to the operation. UNMISA also committed naval and air forces to the operation, a large undertaking even at the best of times. Separated by UNMISA, cooler heads prevail in South Africa. The new Federal Republic of South Africa began to be hammered out in late 1992, and the agreement to create it was signed on May 22, 1993 in Johannesburg.

Eagle is Replaced......with a Supercarrier

UNMISA operations for the CF Maritime Command come to an abrupt end on August 11, 1992, after a malfunctioning rocket causes a giant explosion on Eagle's flight deck, and subsequent explosions seriously damage her engines and rip open a 25-foot-wide hole in the hull, fortunately well above the waterline. The disaster is by a massive margin the greatest peacetime loss ever for the CF, as 121 sailors and airmen are KIA or MIA from the disaster, and 215 injuries are tallied. Dead in the water, American fleet tug Powhatan tows Eagle home, while her vessels join the other UNMISA forces before themselves being called home on August 24.

The disaster aboard Eagle is a major confidence-shaker for the MARCOM, made worse by the Liberals insisting that the seriously-damaged carrier now has no usage in the post-Cold War era and that she should be decommissioned and scrapped. This, however, does not help the Liberals in the 1993 elections, as this decision comes to haunt the opposition. Mulroney, seeing the opportunity, cranks up a public debate by holding off on a decsion to repair Eagle while she is brought home and damage is assessed. Polls, however, see an aircraft carrier as an indispensable tool to assisting the Canadian Forces in their operations around the world. But Eagle's damage is immense - a massive hole in the flight deck, engines seriously damaged, the hull's integrity being questioned by naval architects.

While the debate rages, ideas come in. The United States Navy offers to transfer USS Forrestal for free, a hard offer to pass up, but the Forrestal requires a crew far larger than Eagle did - Forrestal requires 5,500 crew, a massive increase from Eagle's 1,750. But Forrestal's condition is excellent, as the carrier was at the time planned to be the United States Navy's new training carrier, and computerized engineering controls and other upgrades would cut the crew size down by a huge amount.

Also offered is the half-finished Soviet carrier Varyag, offered by Ukraine to Canada for peanuts. But Varyag's condition is very rough. New carriers are moved off as being too pricey, and it looks for a while that Eagle might not have a replacement.

Realizing the problems with not having a carrier and Eagle's age, along with its wartime build and resulting only medium-quality steel and construction (despite her Canadian rebuild), the Canadian Forces begin seriously looking at designing and building their own carrier of roughly 32,000 tons and 45 aircraft, somewhat smaller than Eagle but still a real fixed-wing carrier.

But Mulroney, seeking to both shut up Chretien and show to the increasingly-influential right that he was no wuss, announced on November 26, 1992, that Eagle would be replaced, no matter what, and that the government would go for the American supercarrier if the Maritime Command could figure out a way for Canada to operate it. The decision makes the Maritime Command cheer and stuns all. The Liberals and NDP are against the outrageous cost of operating the beast, but Mulroney's point holds - he will only go for it if the country can afford to operate it.

The US Navy, surprised at the decision but not displeased themselves, asks Congress to allow Forrestal's transfer on January 16, 1993. Despite a new Congress and a new President in Bill Clinton, passage is all but assured, and passes on February 4, 1993. Forrestal is still technically in commission at this point, but the Navy, realizing the fate of the vessel, does make sure to keep it in good shape.

With a budget to maintain, the plans for Forrestal's changes to allow it to operate with fewer crew become a Canadian mission. AECL's proposal to convert it to nuclear power is too costly, but General Motors of Canada and General Electric propose to remove its steam turbines and replace them with gas turbines, turbodiesel cruise engines and turbo-electric drive, and a little known company in Waterloo called Research in Motion proposes to have it all controlled from an engine control room, fully computerized. The University of Toronto proposes a compressed air catapult as opposed to a steal catapult. Many other ideas are thought up to reduce the needed manpower, and the overall result is the 5,540 crew is brought down to 3,310 fully loaded.

The issue becomes a defining one of the 1993 election. The Liberals say that the immense supercarrier will be too costly to operate, citing a cost of $165 million estimated yearly operating cost, along with the ship's age. The Conservatives, now led by Jean Charest and showing a far stronger electoral position than before, fires back that Canada has grown a maritime tradition that is worthy of renown, pointing out Eagle's work in Cyprus, Iraq and South Africa, and the public perception that the aircraft carrier will become a symbol of Canada.

Canada's industries line up behind the plan, pointing out that acquisition and rebuilding of Eagle gave a new life to the Canadian shipbuilding industry, and that the other options are going to a much smaller carrier, none at all or building one themselves, at far greater costs and only marignally smaller operating cost.

The election very narrowly goes to Charest, but its a minority government. The Bloc Quebecois agrees with the Liberals that its too expensive, but the Reform Party wants it done. The NDP, continuing its history of being pro-military despite its socialist policies, goes with the Conservatives.

On March 18, 1994, Canada agrees to take possession of the Forrestal, which is renamed HMCS Warrior (CV-24). The ship goes again to the massive dry-dock in Saint John, New Brunswick, for its overhaul. Over the next three years, the vessel's hull is stripped to bare metal and coated in a polymer solution to prevent rust, followed by a newly-formulated paint which allows for less drag. The ship is extensively reconfigured, with the Port side forward aircraft elevator deleted and a new elevator built at the back of the vessel on the port side. A new superstructure included a funnel venting gases off to the side of the vessel. The flight deck is expanded by 15 percent, and much of the superstructure is built from aluminum to reduce weight. This allows a dedicated helicopter pad above the flight deck behind the tower. The superstructure is very tall, but it also offers excellent views of the vessel and the area around.

Highly-efficient General Electric LM6000 gas turbines and General Motors H-Model four-stroke diesel cruise engines are installed, which also allows room for greater accomodations. HMCS Warrior is a very roomy vessel after its rebuild, and the vessel's accomodation spaces also gain many amenities, and the vessel's power rises from 260,000 shp to a maximum of 325,000 shp, with the gas turbines able to be turned off entirely when cruising, immensely improving fuel efficiency. At full blast, Warrior is capable of an astounding 35.8 knots, and can handle any carrier aircraft on the planet.

's rebuild is expensive at $932 million, but that is still one-third the cost of building a new carrier and substantially under budget. Further refinements reduce the crew, air crew included, down to 3,165 officers and men.

Completed in the summer of 1996, Warrior leaves its dry-dock for the first time on August 20, 1996, with its first captain, Captain Peter Hamilton, taking it out for testing. The vessel performs so flawlessly that the crew records absolutely no problems during power and systems testing. The aircraft spends the rest of 1996 and early 1997 testing its aircraft abilities - which are exceptional. In a highly publicized March 1997 incident, a US Navy F-14B got into a mock dogfight with a Canadian Forces' CF-18, and the Navy guy, having lost to the agile fighter, called out that he was "going for reinforcements". Warrior heard that call and ordered its whole air wing airborne to surprise the Americans, leading to a six-aircraft formation running into more than 20 CF-18s, leading the American commander to blurt out "where did all these f--king Canucks come from?"

Testing more successful than had even been hoped, HMCS Warrior (CV-24) was commissioned by Prime Minister Jean Charest in Quebec City on June 25, 1997, marking the arrival of Canada's new carrier, which was promptly deployed to support Canadian forces in the Balkans.

HMCS Warrior
(as commissioned)

Rebuilders: Saint John Maritime Shipbuilding, Saint John, New Brunswick
Engineering Contractors: SNC-Lavalin, Maritimes Marine Engineering

Displacement (light): 59,720 tons
Displacement (full load): 82,260 tons

Length: 990 feet (waterline), 1,088 feet (overall)
Beam: 129 ft 4 in (waterline), 256 feet (extreme width)
Draft: 37 feet (full load)

Propulsion: 5 General Electric LM6000NV gas turbines, 8 General Electric H-Model 265 turbodiesel cruise engines, 13 Westinghouse electric generators, 16 Kinova Electronics 15MW geared electric motors, 4 shafts
Power Output: 325,400 shp
Top Speed: 36.5 knots (67 km/h)
Range: 16,500 miles at 15 knots

Complement: 627 officers, 2,537 men (including air wing)

Aircraft Carried: Up to 85
1993 - With South Africa starting to slow down, Africa flared yet again, and it was Somalia, as most expected. This time too, the various sides said one thing and did another, just as both the SADF and ANC had done in South Africa. The most infamous of the leaders was Mohammed Farah Aidid, who had been the most guilty person of taking food from people for political purposes.

A deal was struck between fifteen Somali clans in Addis Adaba in March 1993, but from the get-go several parties, including the clan led by Aidid, showed absolutely no intention of abiding by the deal. The UN in response ordered the deployment of 40,000 troops to Somalia to attempt to restore order and rebuild the nation. UNOSOM II's attempts to disarm various factions went badly, and it ultimately culminated in the first battle of Mogadishu on June 5, where 30 UN soldiers, including two Canadians, were killed in massive street fighting. A week later, the United States attacked a safe house where they believed many of Aidid's clan were, but instead many of the people there were Somali elders. More than 80 of them were killed. A Canadian force called to the scene saw three of its Bison APCs struck by rocket-propelled grenades, killing five soldiers and wounding eleven others.

On October 3, the biggest battle of Mogadishu began when two US helicopters were hit by Somali RPGs and downed as a result as they were deploying US Army Rangers on a mission to capture Aidid's foreign minister, among others. The battle, which lasted sixteen hours, went south in a hurry. The situation was finally fixed in the morning when a convoy, led by five Canadian Forces' Leopard tanks and including a long line of American, Canadian, Malaysian and Pakistani armor, rolled in to rescue the soldiers trapped in the battle. In the night, two Delta Force snipers were inserted by helicopter to protect one of the downed choppers. Hearing this, three Canadians Airborne Regiment members followed them in, against the advice of Commander Rick Hillier, the head Canadian officer in Somalia. The three men, along with the two American snipers, were killed when Somali militia overran the site. The three men - Lieutenant Ryan Petersen, Sargeant Andrew Scott and Master Corporal James Harrison - would be the first three men to be awarded Canada's Victoria Cross, albeit posthumously.

The mission in Somalia, which had become a failure and had sent far too many men home dead, was stopped in the US on October 6th and in Canada the next day. Troops began to be removed from the area, and by February 1994 the last Canadian Forces personnel had come home. They would not be gone long, however.

On the home front, Mulroney's decision to replace Eagle leads to her simply having the damaged fixed, but even that takes months. Eagle is out of action until January 1994, but the final overhaul also ensures that the vessel will be able to survive far into the future - important, as the hope is that Eagle once replaced will become a museum ship. The cost of the rebuild of the carrier is also so high that the plans for the submarines are put on hold - the Oberons are still functioning, and its all that is needed for now for diesel subs, The first Canadian nuclear sub, delayed substantially by difficulties, is finally delivered in January 1993, after spending 18 months testing its systems and training crewmen. HMCS Superior, the first of the three, is commissioned a month later, putting Canada into the SSN world for the first time. It's sister ship, HMCS Lake Huron, is delivered in late 1993 and commissioned in January 1994. The final SSN is delayed by a yard fire, but HMCS Athabaska is commissioned in July 1995.

On the purchases front, demands to level off the budget threaten to slow down the rate of purchases to build the 21st Century Canadian Forces. Jean Chretien in the 1993 election proposes to can Mulroney's plan for financial reasons. This idea backfires in his face, causing a substantial drop in his popularity, causing him to quickly reverse his position - and allowing his rival, Prime Minister Jean Charest (1) to throw it in his face. Charest makes what many figured was an impossible task by managing to keep the government after the massive mistakes of Brian Mulroney's government on domestic policy, though he is only able to get a minority. That minority is only unstable for months, before circumstances at home force unity by the parties.

The Air Command received a proposal in May 1993 by Bombardier and Airbus of France for the aerial refueling and transport aircraft idea. Airbus knew at that point that Europe was working on a transport aircraft project among several European nations (2), and figured that Canada, which possessed at that point one of the ten largest defense budgets on the planet, would likely be a big partner. The proposal would see Canada buy six of Airbus' giant A340 airliners, with four of them being converted for air to air refuelers with one boom and two probe and drogue refueling systems, and would be granted major industrial contracts for the European air transport. One idea here was for the European aircraft to use Pratt and Whitney Canada engines, another was to have Bombardier assemble fuselage components and have Canadian manufacturers make some of the avionics.

This broke in the media in July 1993, and caused a stunned uproar from Boeing, which quickly responded by offering Canada tankers based on the Boeing 737 and 767, and also offering to develop a variant on the then brand-new 777. Boeing, remembering that the Forces' always wanted as much work as possible done in Canada, offered to have the aircraft converted in Canada, at a brand-new facility. Lockheed quickly jumps to support its usual rival, offering Canada the new-build version of the trusty C-130 Hercules, which has served the Canadian Forces quite ably since 1960. The two bids would be big rivals as the battles were fought in the military, the government and the media through 1993 and 1994.

On the other acquisitions front, MARCOM were focused on the Halifax class frigates, which were important as the aging steam-powered warships were being retired over time, and the new carrier program. Several of the Halifax-class vessels, notably the first HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Terry Fox would end their lives as museum ships. By the end of 1993, five of the Halifax-class frigates - Halifax, Vancouver, Ville de Quebec, Toronto and Regina - were in commission, while Calgary and Montreal were either in testing or outfitting. The remaining seven - Fredricton, Winnipeg, Charlottetown, St. Johns, Ottawa, Edmonton and Kelowna - all had names and plans, and all had their assigned shipyards.

The Land Command was taking delivery of some 66 of the Canadian-built Oerliknon ADATS, and it also had a stake, as did the Navy, in the new helicopter programs. On that front, the new helicopter programs were focused on three helicopters - one for anti-submarine duties for the MARCOM, one for search and rescue for both the MARCOM and Air Command, one for utility transport for the Air Command and Army.

(1) Jean Charest was Kim Campbell's chief rivals in the 1993 Conservative leadership race, and Mulroney repreatedly blamed Joe Clark (Mulroney's predecessor) for Charest's loss. I personall think that Charest is more likely to keep the Red Tories alive, so I had him beat Campbell.

(2) This program will create the Airbus A400M, which here is around much sooner than in OTL.
The 1994 Canadian Forces

Maritime Command Vessels

Eagle-class Aircraft Carrier (1)
HMCS Eagle (CV-23)

Ontario-class (Kidd class) Missile Destroyer (4)
HMCS Ontario (DDG 284)
HMCS Quebec (DDG 285)
HMCS British Columbia (DDG 286)
HMCS Alberta (DDG 287)

Manitoba-class (Type 42) Missile Destroyer (2)
HMCS Manitoba (DDG 288)
HMCS Newfoundland (DDG 289)

Iroquois-class Helicopter Destroyer (4)
HMCS Iroquois (DDH 280)
HMCS Huron (DDH 281)
HMCS Athabaskan (DDH 282)
HMCS Algonquin (DDH 283)

Halifax-class Patrol Frigate (5)
HMCS Halifax (FFH 330)
HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331)
HMCS Ville de Quebec (FFH 332)
HMCS Toronto (FFH 333)
HMCS Regina (FFH 334)

Annapolis-class destroyer escort (2)
HMCS Annapolis (DDH 265)
HMCS Nipigon (DDH 266)

Superior-class nuclear attack submarines (2)
HMCS Superior (SSN 876)
HMCS Lake Huron (SSN 877)

Oberon-class diesel-electric submarines (3)
HMCS Ojibwa (SSK 871)
HMCS Okanagan (SSK 872)
HMCS Onondaga (SSK 873)

Protecteur-class auxillary vessel (2)
HMCS Protecteur (AOR 509)
HMCS Preserver (AOR 510)

Provider-class auxillar vessel (1)
HMCS Provider (AOR 508)

Maritime Command Air Wing

32 CF-188 Hornet (multi-role fighter)
53 CF-187 Corsair II (attack aircraft)
80 CP-121 Tracker (carrier-borne ASW aircraft)
7 CE-2C Hawkeye (carrier-borne AEW aircraft)
25 CP-140 Aurora (maritime patrol aircraft)
36 CH-124 Sea King (ASW/utility helicopter)

Canadian Forces Air Command

Active Aircraft

77 CF-184 Tomcat (air defense aircraft)
96 CF-188 Hornet (multi-role fighter)
44 CF-116 Freedom Fighter (light fighter)

6 CE-150AEW Polaris (airborne early warning aircraft)

12 CC-137C Husky (transport/airborne tanker)
32 CC-130 Hercules (transport/airborne tanker)
5 CC-144 Challenger 600 (transport/VIP aircraft)
6 CC-138 Twin Otter (transport aircraft)
2 CC-132 Dash-7 (STOL transport aircraft)
10 CC-109 Cosmopolitan (transport aircraft)
18 CC-129 Dakota (transport aircraft)
6 CC-115 Buffalo (search and rescue)

9 CH-147C Chinook (heavy lift/transport helicopter)
18 CH-113 Sea Knight (Transport helicopter, 6 converted to SAR helicopters)
65 CH-136 Kiowa (light attack/observation helicopter)
44 CH-135 Twin Huey (transport helicopter)

Land Command

75 Leopard C1 (main battle tank)
275 Grizzly AVGP (armored vehicle)
944 M113 (armored personnel carrier)
170 M113 Lynx (command and control vehicle)
76 M109A4+ (self-propelled artillery)
66 ADATS-1 (air defense aircraft)
1,210 Volkswagen Iltis (utility transport)
2,740 MLVW (M35) transport trucks)
78 Bv206 (tracked utility vehicles)
27 Husky AVGP (armored recovery vehicle)
9 AVLB Beaver (bridge-laying vehicle)
16 ARV Taurus (armored recovery vehicle)
Well, IIRC a Tomcat would be a tight fit on an Eagle-class. IOTL even the Rhinos had to be re-engined with Speys instead of their original J79s due to sluggish spool-up, which can make the difference between a successful bolter and pulling the yellow handle.

The Tomcat never operated from HMCS Eagle, for that very reason. It was tested and it worked, but the plane was too big for it to be used safely and regularly. The Hornets are used by Eagle.

Russell, I do see your point, entirely. I agree that Canada would probably be much better served with a smaller 35-40,000 ton carrier. The problem is that building such a carrier would cost at least $4-5 Billion, which is too much for the country's budgets. The Forrestal here got a almost $1 Billion refit, so you've saved $3 Billion on a new one, and with if its extra cost to operate is $75 million over the smaller carrier, you'd need to operate the smaller carrier for 40 years to make up the difference. That's the argument made for buying it. Then you have the fact that the Warrior is a bigger carrier, and as such has more operational capability. Warrior, I should point out, is about the same size as the new Queen Elizabeth class being bought by the UK. Canada's budget here is about 80% of that of the UK, and Canada has not got any nuclear weapons (and has no intewntion of getting them) and a smaller Navy overall.
True, but it doesn't change the fact that the ship is still somewhat unjustifiable and politically prohibative, especially when in countries like Britain and France which both arguably have stronger maratime traditions than Canada (even in this TL, although one could argue that Canada has inherited a strong tradition through the Royal Navy) it has been difficult to justify any carrier in the 50,000-60,0000 tonne range. Especially now in the post cold war climate, while the presence of a carrier is very much justifiable for the Canadians, one of this size is perhaps not. I have no objections to the Canuks operating carriers (indeed I'm working on a TL right now where they recieve from Britain two Centaur Class carriers in the late 1940's) but when compared to the scope of the rest of their military, one or two smaller carriers might make the CN more flexible. Perhaps they could hold on for a few years or even approach the French about buying the Clemencau class from them?

You might be surprised to learn that I agree with you, Russell. But what used mid-sized carriers are available for usage in 1992-93? The American supercarriers and the Ukrainian Varyag, but that's about it. The Clemenceau is smaller, but the French didn't retire those for a few years yet, and the fact that they did retire them when they did is somewhat surprising, considering that Charles de Gaulle, with its endless technical issues, wasn't fully ready for service when Foch was sold to the Brazilians in 2000. In addition, with the Canadian Forces being the size it is, it couldn't easily form two battle groups and still have adequate defense at home.