Regardless, taken together, all of these missile options represent major, multi-purpose firepower for a frigate-type warship. It’s not entirely clear how big the CSCs will be compared to the British Type 26s, but the general size of the two designs will be very similar. The Type 26s are expected to displace around 7,000 tons, which is more than existing variants of the Franco-Italian Fregata Europea Multi-Missione (FREMM), or European Multi-Mission Frigate, on which the U.S. Navy’s future Constellation class frigates will be based. Those forthcoming American warships, also referred to as FFG(X), are also set to be armed with ESSM, SM-2 Block IIIC, and NSM, as well as the SeaRAM close-in weapon system, but there are no plans to add a weapon like Tomahawk to their arsenal at present.
Canada’s plans for its CSCs, at least as they are understood now, would make them very similar capability-wise to the U.K. Royal Navy’s future Type 26s, as well as France’s FREMM variants, known as the Aquitaine class. Those French warships also have a long-range land-attack cruise missile capability in the form of MBDA’s Missile de Croisière Naval (MdCN), or Naval Cruise missile. The Aquitaine class frigate Languedoc actually fired some of those weapons in anger in 2018 as part of a U.S.-led missile barrage against chemical weapon-related sites in Syria, underscoring the kind of capability that could become available in the future to the RCN if it does ultimately acquire Tomahawks.
The CSCs had already looked set to usher in a new era for the Royal Canadian Navy. Armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles, together with the various other missiles they will be able to employ, the ships now look set to offer Canada an entirely new form of maritime power projection.
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