IROQUOIS (Tribal) Class
(DDH) ASW destroyer
|IROQUOIS (Tribal) Class Destroyers|
ATHABASKAN carried a Phalanx 20mm CIWS mounted over the Limbo well and shoulder launched Blowpipe and Javelin missiles while serving in the Gulf War. The Limbo mortar was removed or inoperative.
These four ships were the first warships in the world to depend entirely on gas turbine propulsion (COGOG). Economical cruising power was provided by two efficient cruise gas turbines, while high speeds of up to 29 knots or greater could be reached with two boost turbines. When commissioned, they were excellent ASW platforms, and were the first Canadian destroyers to carry two helicopters. Based upon the hull design of the cancelled 1960s era General Purpose frigates, they were instantly recognizable due to their infamous 'playboy bunny' funnels. Command facilities were included in the ships. This class of ship influenced the design of the USN's SPRUANCE class destroyers.
As built, they were armed with a quick-firing OTO Melara 5"/54 forward, which provided them with good anti-surface and naval gunfire support capability, as well as close-ranged anti-aircraft defence. Point anti-aircraft defence was provided by NATO Sea Sparrow missiles, launched via a one-of-a-kind twin quad launcher situated just forward of the bridge. No other ships, in any navy, used this system. The missiles would be trained outboard of the launcher (in the deckhouse forward of the bridge) on launcher arms port and starboard, with four missiles to an arm. The arms would be brought back inboard for reloading. Anti-submarine capacbility was provided by two Mk.32 triple torpedo launchers, port and starboard, in addition to helicopter launched torpedoes. As well, a single Mk.NC 10 Limbo ASW mortar was provided in a well in the quarterdeck, aft of the helicopter deck.
At the time, much was made of the fact that these ships tied together, in a viable package, an Italian gun, American missiles, with a Dutch radar and fire control system.
During the Gulf War of 1990/91, ATHABASKAN was sent to the Persian Gulf along with two other ships. She was quickly upgraded with a new mine-avoidance sonar, along with a Phalanx 20mm CIWS (mounted over the Limbo mortar well) and shoulder launched Blowpipe and Javelin missiles. When USS PRINCETON was disabled after hitting a mine in the northern Gulf, ATHABASKAN escorted a tug to her rescue and escorted both ships back out through the minefield.
In the late 1980s / early 1990s, these ships were modified under the TRUMP program. This refit program saw the installation of new anti-aircraft missiles, main gun, radars, fire control system, and the addition of a CIWS gun system. With the exception of HURON, these ships are still in service today as the IROQUOIS class air defence destroyers (see Current ship listing).
(click on thumbnail for bigger image)
Back to the Canadian Navy - Postwar Fleet