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At least we could (probably) invade New Zealand: How small is the Royal Canadian Navy, really?

Tristin Hopper | September 8, 2016 1:17 PM ET

n 2017, Canada’s last destroyer, HMCS Athabaskan, will be retired, forcing the Royal Canadian Navy to lean on the U.S. to protect its ships from air attack. Last year, the vessel, flagship of the Atlantic fleet, twice broke down while at sea. Meanwhile, even Canada’s newly renovated submarines won’t last more than a few years without a few billion dollars in upgrades.

Critics have called the Royal Canadian Navy “decayed,” “neglected” and “embarrassing.” But how small is our once-mighty navy, really? The National Post called up naval experts and defence thinkers and dug through troves of international naval data to find out just how the Royal Canadian Navy stacks up on the high seas.

Canada has a grand total of 29 warships
One (soon-to-be-retired) destroyer, 12 frigates, 12 coastal defence vessels and four submarines. That’s every single ship in the Royal Canadian Navy designed to break things (which is to say, a ship with guns, torpedoes and missiles on it). The Navy has other ships, of course, but they’re for training, research or harbour work. Naval type often hasten to mention that Canada has a very large coast guard that does navy-esque things on occasion, but none of those ships have guns or are under naval command. And if one is really pushing it in calculations of Canada’s naval strength, they can mention that Canada is home to dozens of commercial vessels that can team up with the navy when things get bad.

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