|Builder:||Cammell Laird, Birkenhead|
|Laid down:||13 March 1990|
|Launched:||16 April 1992|
|Commissioned:||25 June 1993|
|Decommissioned:||16 October 1994|
|Fate:||Transferred to Canada|
|Acquired:||6 August 2001|
|Commissioned:||29 September 2001|
|Status:||in active service|
|Notes:||Colours: Gold and Blue|
|Class and type:||Upholder/Victoria-class submarine|
|Length:||70.26 m (230 ft 6 in)|
|Beam:||7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)|
|Draught:||5.5 m (18 ft 1 in)|
|Range:||10,000 nautical miles (19,000 km) at 12 knots (22 km/h)|
|Test depth:||200 m (660 ft)|
|Complement:||53 officers and crew|
HMCS Windsor (SSK 877) is a long-range hunter-killer (SSK) submarine of the Royal Canadian Navy, the second ship of the Victoria class. She is named after the city of Windsor, Ontario. Built for the Royal Navy as the Upholder class submarine HMS Unicorn (pennant number S43) she was purchased by Canada when the United Kingdom decided to move to an all-nuclear power fleet.
HMCS Windsor's displacement is approximately 2,200 tons surfaced and 2,400 tons submerged. Covered in anechoic tiles to reduce her detection by active sonar, the submarine is 70.3 metres long, 7.6 metres across the beam and has a deep diving depth in excess of 200 metres. The main hull is constructed of high tensile steel sections stiffened by circular internal frames. Equipment located outside the main hull is covered by the casing, which also gives the crew a safe walkway when the submarine is surfaced. The fin, which helps support the masts, serves as a kind of keel and provides a raised conning position.
HMCS Windsor has six torpedo tubes and can carry up to eighteen Mark 48 Mod 4 heavyweight torpedoes for use against surface and sub-surface targets.
HMCS Windsor's sonar sets allow her to locate and track ships and other submarines “passively”, that is without transmitting on active sonar and thus giving away her location. She is fitted with radar for general navigation, attack and search periscopes (incorporating video recording and thermal imaging), and an electronic support measures suite. The ship has two diesel generators, each capable of producing up to 1,410 kilowatts, and one main motor. The generators are used to charge two main batteries, each consisting of 240 battery cells. These batteries are used to power the submarine, which can reach a submerged speed of up to 20 knots (37 km/h).
The submarine was laid down as HMS Unicorn at Cammell Laird's Birkenhead yard on 13 March 1990. She was launched on 16 April 1992, and commissioned into the Royal Navy on 25 June 1993. She was the last ship built at Cammell Laird until construction began on HMS Queen Elizabeth in June 2010.
Looking to discontinue the operation of diesel-electric boats, the British government offered to sell Unicorn and her sister submarines to Canada in 1993. The offer was accepted in 1998. The four boats were leased to the Canadians for US$427 million (plus US$98 million for upgrades and alteration to Canadian standards), with the lease to run for eight years; after this, the submarines would be sold for £1.
Problems were discovered with the piping welds on all four submarines, which delayed the reactivation of Unicorn and her three sisters. Unicorn was handed over to the Royal Canadian Navy on 6 August 2001, and was commissioned as HMCS Windsor on 4 October 2003.
From September 27 to 30 2004, Windsor took reporters and photographers from Halifax and Windsor newspapers to document life aboard a submarine.
During April 2006, the submarine was involved in Exercise Joint Express.
In 2007 the submarine entered Halifax for refit. Originally scheduled for completion in two years, the refit was still not complete as of early 2011. During the refit, rust was discovered which will restrict the maximum depth to which the submarine can safely dive.
According to reports, a number of unexpected problems have led to delays and cost overruns. These include bad welds in the hull, broken torpedo tubes, a faulty rudder and tiles on the side of the sub that continually fall off. In the year 2010 alone, the Royal Canadian Navy spent $45 million on repairs to HMCS Windsor for which it had budgeted $17 million. The refit of Windsor took much longer to complete than anticipated. The refit began in 2007 and was scheduled to be completed in 2009. However it was indicated that Windsor would not be fully operational until almost 2013. She was relaunched on 11 April 2012. Due to the length of time in drydock in Halifax for so long, the navy had had to spend thousands of dollars just trying to keep the pigeons from roosting in the vessel.
On 11 April 2012, after being out of the water for 5 years, Windsor was lowered back into the water. The submarine was then guided out of the lift area to a nearby dock where it was to remain for more testing until its three to five month sea trials, which were scheduled to begin at the end of April 2012.
Shortly afterwards one of the engines was declared unusable, and Windsor was drydocked in March 2014. Work is scheduled to be completed in September at a projected cost of $1.5 million. Windsor is the only Canadian submarine deployed in the Atlantic. The work was expanded in June 2014 to incorporate other maintenance needs on the submarine as well as a main sonar system upgrade for a total cost of $18 million. These upgrades are expected to be completed in October 2014. On 8 October 2014, HMCS Windsor completed her dry-dock maintenance and upgrade cycle and was re-floated.
In Fall 2015, Windsor deployed for large NATO naval exercises Joint Warrior and Trident Venture with Athabaskan, Halifax, Montréal, Goose Bay and Summerside, returning on 17 December. On 15 February 2016, while operating off the US East coast, one of her batteries was found leaking a discharge. The submarine put into Norfolk, Virginia where she awaited specialists from Canada to arrive. After repairs were performed at Norfolk, Windsor returned to Halifax in March 2016.
- "Volume 2: Volume 2, Part 1: Extant Commissioned Ships". Official Lineages. National Defence and the Canadian Forces. 7 July 2006. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Wertheim, Eric, ed. (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (15th ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. pp. 77–78. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. OCLC 140283156.
- Ferguson, Julie H. (2000). Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium. Beacon Publishing. p. 152. ISBN 0-9689857-0-X.
- "Image Gallery". Royal Canadian Navy. Canadian Forces. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011.
- "Ex Joint Express". Royal Canadian Navy. Canadian Forces. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011.
- "Submarine refit wildly over budget". CBC News. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Tutton, Michael (31 July 2011). "Rust will restrict Canadian submarine's diving range". Toronto Star (Torstar). Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Ware, Beverley (10 April 2012). "Sub in refit to get wet for first time in 5 years". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Troubled sub hits water after lengthy refit". CBC News. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- "Submarine refit wildly over budget". CBC News. 23 February 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2012.
- Fairclough, Ian (11 April 2012). "HMCS Windsor lands safely in Halifax Harbour". The Chronicle Herald. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
- "Submarine HMCS Windsor shore bound after engine failure". CBC News. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
- Pugliese, David (11 June 2014). "HMCS Windsor gets $18 million overhaul – new generator, sonar upgrade and more maintenance". Defence Watch. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- Pugliese, David (10 October 2014). "HMCS Windsor to begin equipment tests and trials in harbour and at sea". Defence Watch. Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
- "HMCS Windsor returning to Halifax port after NATO exercises". CBC News. 16 December 2015. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
- Ward, Rachel (4 March 2016). "HMCS Windsor submarine back in Halifax after battery malfunction". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Ward, Rachel (19 February 2016). "HMCS Windsor battery malfunction delays submarine's return to Halifax". CBC News. Retrieved 5 March 2016.