HMCS Fraser, St Laurent class DDH

HMCS Fraser, St Laurent class DDH

Lazarus S.
The need for the St. Laurent class came about in 1949 when Canada joined NATO and the Cold War was in its infancy, and the RCN was assigned responsibility for anti-submarine warfare and controlling sea space in the western North Atlantic. The St Laurent class were built to an operational requirement much like that which produced the British Type 12, and powered by the same machinery plant, though she was strikingly different, designed to operate in harsh Canadian and North Atlantic conditions, with attention paid to icing and arctic operational environments. Built to counter nuclear, biological and chemical attack conditions, this lead to a design with a rounded hull, a continuous weather deck and the addition of a NBC washdown system. The living spaces on the ship were part of a "citadel" which could be sealed off in nuclear conditions. The ships were sometimes referred to as 'Cadillacs' for their relatively luxurious crew compartments; these were the first Canadian warships to have a bunk for every crew member, previous warship designs had used hammocks and open mess decks. Other innovative features not found on other ships of its time included an operations room ( combat information center ) separate from the bridge, 12 separate internal telephone systems, air conditioning, and the latest advances in radar and sonar technology. The weapon systems were optimized for anti-submarine warfare rather than general purpose duties, and were quite advanced and highly automated for the day. As Soviet diesel-electric boats were supplanted by faster nuclear boats, the St. Laurent's were taken in hand for conversion to DDH platforms. The RCN pioneered helicopter operations from small platforms, the revolutionary 'Beartrap' RAST (recovery and secure traverse) allowed launch and recovery of the highly advanced and capable Seaking ASW helicopter in sea states that would stop flying off aboard large deck carriers. By the early 1960's, the St Laurent class DDH's and her half sister Mackenzie class DDH's and Restigouche DDE's were some of the most capable ASW warships available to STANAVFORLANT. The ships gave magnificent service on shoe-string liberal defense budgets, though thirty odd years of hard service and the rust out Trudeau years of neglect found the ships in tough shape and generally obsolescent by the late 1980's, though still gallantly serving on. Updated DDH version, more St. Laurenty shape hull, fumduckers fixed, ruthless back face control. #AntiSubmarine #bear_trap #Canada #cold_war #DDE #DDH #Destroyer #Escort #HMCS #NATO #Navy #RAST #RCN #Sea_King #Ship #St_Laurent_class #warship
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