Underwater testing on horizon for HMCS Victoria

Submarine could be fully operational by next spring

HMCS Victoria is seen here in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just before arriving at CFB Esquimalt in 2003.

HMCS Victoria is seen here in the Strait of Juan de Fuca just before arriving at CFB Esquimalt in 2003.

Submariners with Canada’s flagship submarine, HMCS Victoria, will likely be called to diving stations this fall for the boat’s first test dive.

That could happen in September or October, said Canadian Navy spokesperson Gerry Pash.

If everything goes according to plan, Victoria will be fully operational by next spring and ready to participate next summer in Exercise Rim of the Pacific, the world’s largest multinational maritime training mission staged every two years off Hawaii.

Victoria was tugged from dry dock to a jetty at CFB Esquimalt on April 17, the first time it touched water since it was placed in dry dock for maintenance and upgrades in 2005.

There is still a lot of work to do before the boat is submerged.

“She’s now alongside, she’s now in the water and now they’re doing systems integration and the cabling required to put back equipment,” Pash said. “Basically, they’re putting it back together again in terms of all the internal systems.

“The idea was to get her out of dry dock and alongside (the jetty) to do work that could be done alongside, and free up the dry dock for other things. She’s not going off the wall for a while.”

Following a successful dive, Victoria will face months of testing at sea.

“With the understanding that all the systems are certified, all the paperwork is signed off and she has a safe-to-operate certification, (the crew) will start their three-tiered (sea) trials and readiness and begin operations,” Pash said.

emccracken@vicnews.com