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Monday, June 6, 2016

HMCS Windsor recalled to Port following engine problems

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

HMCS Windsor is expected to return to Halifax sometime on Monday, Royal Canadian Navy officers tell Defence Watch.

Canada’s only submarine currently at sea has to return to port to deal with mechanical problems.

After a week of sea training work-ups off the eastern seaboard, HMCS Windsor experienced a mechanical issue June 3 involving a component associated with one of the submarine’s two diesel engines, the Royal Canadian Navy says.

“What broke is a super-charger,” Navy Capt. Jamie Clarke, commander Canadian Submarine Force, told Defence Watch.

The sub has two engines and two super-chargers.

“What a super-charger does is that it blows air into the engine to make it more powerful,” Clarke explained. “With more air you can put in more fuel and you get more power and more efficiency.”

“As a matter of precaution that engine isn’t being used,” he added. “The submarine is returning to Halifax so the experts can look at it and fix it. The intention is to fix it as soon as possible and get back to sea.”

Clarke said the navy won’t have a timeline on the repairs until specialists can look at the system.

The sub was on its way to Norway for a NATO exercise. Once fixed, it will return to sea and continue to the exercise as planned.

“It’s unfortunate,” Clarke said of the mechanical issue. “We’re getting her fixed and will get her back to sea.”

“They (the crew) operate a complex machine in an unforgiving environment and they do it really well,” he added. “I’m incredibly proud of the team on board Windsor.”

Fleet Maintenance Facility personnel will conduct an inspection and repairs, the navy noted.

HMCS Windsor has sailed over 200 days over the past year conducting surveillance operations and other missions.

Engineers and technicians aboard HMCS Windsor have addressed the immediate issue and the submarine is able to continue sailing, the RCN noted.

The RCN’s other three submarines are in various stages of maintenance.

In February, Defence Watch reported that HMCS Windsor docked at the Norfolk naval base in Virginia after it ran into mechanical issues while at sea.

The submarine was heading towards Halifax when an issue emerged with its battery. Royal Canadian Navy officers ordered the sub to Norfolk.

The RCN noted the problem started when crew members found that a battery cell was leaking. The submarine’s battery is around five years old and has an expected lifespan of up to six years, according to the RCN.

The batteries were to be replaced by the end of the year.

In December 2012, a defect was identified with one of HMCS Windsor’s two diesel generators during sea trials, according to the RCN. These diesel generators are part of the main submarine battery-charging system.