‘Good life’ still left in Canada’s submarines, says Navy commander

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OTTAWA — Canada’s top sailor says there is still “good life” left in the navy’s submarines and that he expects them to be able to operate until the 2030s.

Royal Canadian Navy commander Vice-Admiral Art McDonald says this can be done with some modest investments, an assertion that comes as the four subs have spent most of the year being docked for extended maintenance.

McDonald says there have already been some upgrades to the vessels as part of normal maintenance and that the navy is now looking at larger improvements to boost their lifespan and make them more accommodating to crew members.

Officials have previously pegged the cost of upgrading the submarines at around $2 billion.

The Conservatives and some experts have been calling on the federal government to buy new submarines to replace the Victoria-class vessels, which Canada purchased secondhand from Britain in 1998.

McDonald also says he is “comfortable” with having only one temporary supply ship to support naval operations overseas, despite another slip in the scheduled delivery of two permanent supply vessels that are being built in Vancouver.