by Darren Scannell
Photos by Darren Scannell and Jonathan Evans
The destroyers of the Iroquois Class were commissioned in the early 1970's and they were the first western naval ships to use all gas turbine propulsion. The four ships were originally designated as the Tribal class and are also known as the 280 class. As designed they were primarily an anti-submarine warfare platform. In order to meet changing operational requirements and extend their useful lifecycle, all four ships have been upgraded extensively under a refit program called the TRibal Update and Modernization Project (TRUMP). The TRUMP refit has changed the main role from ASW to that of command and control ships with a significant area air defence capability while still keeping their ASW capability.
As built the ships carried a 5 inch OTO Melara gun, 2 quadruple Sea Sparrow launchers that came out the side of the forward housing structure on a horizontal arm, reminiscent of a Gerry Anderson futuristic weapons system, and a British Limbo ASW forward throwing ASW mortar launcher. Radar systems included a Dutch LW-03 long range antenna coupled with US SPS-12 electronics, designated SPS-501, an Italian SPQ-2D air search radar and two WM-22 fire control radar's. Sonar was the Canadian designed SQS-505 with VDS and SQS-501.
One of the most distinctive characteristics of the original design were the outboard raked twinned funnels that were referred to as bunny ears. This was done for fear that funnel gases might interfere with helicopter operations immediately aft on the flight deck. This hazard never materialized so during the TRUMP refit, they were transformed into a more conventional, single funnel with infra red signature suppression. The IRSS is based on the Boundary Layer Induced Stack Suppressor, or BLISS, as used in the US Navy Ticonderoga class. In short, the DRES (Defence Research Establishment,Suffield) ball diffusor was mated to a lobed nozzle eductor and called an Eductor/Diffusor or E/D. The E/D is used to add large volumes of cooling air though a mixing tube to the hot gases while a film cooled diffuser cools the stack surfaces themselves. The result is a very low IR signature from the stack and its exhaust.
The Iroquois' received significant improvements during the TRUMP program to weapons and sensor systems. Martin Marietta MK41 vertical launch missile systems, a 76mm OTO Melara rapid fire gun and a PHALANX close-in weapon system were installed, as well as state-of-the-art radar and electronic systems. HMCS Algonquin was the first ship to receive the changes and was tested as the flagship for the Commander of NATO's Standing Naval Force Atlantic in the Adriatic Sea, supporting the UN resolution against the former Yugoslavia.
The Iroquois class ships are powered by two sets of gas turbine engines. One set is a fuel efficient cruise turbine with a cruising range of 7250 kilometres at 20 knots and the other set is for high speed operations with a maximum speed in excess of 30 knots. The complement of each ship is nominally around 255, including 23 officers, plus 30 aircrew. Each ship is capable of embarking two maritime helicopters for ASW and other roles.
Another interesting feature is the water- displaced fuel system. As fuel is consumed by the engines, water is pumped in to fill the void thus maintaining relatively constant displacement and stability making the ships a good overall sea platform.
The four destroyers are split between the two coasts of Canada with 2 ships on each coast. There are significant differences between the ships. The West coast vessels have a little over 30 antennae for the various electronic equipment, while the east coast ships carry more than 70 antennae. The extra equipment is needed for the Command role that the east coast ships play within the NATO Standing Naval Force Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT). The most identifiable items on the east coast vessels are the Marconi antenna domes mounted on the hangar roof as shown in the photos of HMCS Athabaskan (affectionately referred to as the tits).
These 2 ships are based at HMC Dockyard Halifax, Nova Scotia, under the command of MARITIME FORCES ATLANTIC and carry the extra communication equipment and antennae:
DDH280 - HMCS
DDH282 - HMCS ATHABASKAN
These 2 ships are based at HMC Dockyard Esquimalt, British Columbia, under the command of MARITIME FORCES PACIFIC:
DDH281 - HMCS HURON - Decommissioned 2004
DDH283 - HMCS ALGONQUIN
When in port, each ship is usually stripped of all live ammunition and maintenance is carried out on board. Most of the photos below have been taken at the dockyard and show areas of the ships that have items removed for repair or servicing. I have tried to include views that are unique to the ship class and kept the common items that are well documented in other places, to a minimum. There are two sets of photos, one of the HMCS Huron, a west coast ship and the other of HMCS Athabaskan, an east coast ship.
Length: 129 metres (423')
Beam: 15 metres (50')
Draught: 4.4 metres (keel) (14.5') 5.3m (sonar dome)
5,100 tonnes (full load)
Crew: 280 -290
1 Martin Marietta MK41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for 29 standard SM-2MR missiles
1 76mm/62 OTO Melara (Super Rapid) DP gun, 120 rounds/min
1 GE/GDC 20mm Vulcan Phalanx Mk15 Mod 1 CIWS
6 50cal machine guns
14 Honeywell Mk 46 Mod 5 Torpedoes with 2, 324mm Mk 32 triple tube launchers
Propulsion - COGOG with:
2 P&W FT12AH3 boost gas turbines
2 GM Allison 570 KF cruise gas turbines
2 variable pitch propellers
Single centerline rudder
4500 nautical mile range at 20 knots
Top speed: +30 knots
1 Signaal DA-08 E/F band medium range air/surface search radar
1 Signaal LW-08 L band long range air search radar
2 Signaal VM25 STIR 1.8 I/J band fire control radar's
CDC AN/SQS-510 hull mounted sonar
CDC AN/SQS-510 Variable Depth towed Sonar (VDS)
Canews SLQ-501 and radar jammer SLQ-503
SLQ-25 Nixie towed acoustic torpedo decoy
4 6-barrelled Plessy SHIELD Chaff/Infra Red decoy launchers
2 CH-124 Sea Kings