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The Kingston class of minesweepers was built in Canada for the Canadian Navy (Maritime Command of the Canadian Forces) between 1995 and 1998. Although it is classified as a mechanical minesweeper (MM) due to the use of removable payload modules it is can be employed in a variety of tasks. Most commonly, members of the Kingston class are employed in coastal and fisheries patrols, having replaced the Halifax Class Frigates in these roles. As such, the Kingston class minesweepers are referred to as Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, or MCDVs.

The ships were originally conceived as training ships for Canada's Naval Reserve and are, with the exception of a Naval Electronics Technician and two Electrical Technicians, entirely manned by reservists employed on contracts ranging from three years to a few days.

Type: MM - Mechanical Minesweeper
Propulsion: Diesel/Electric
Speed: 15+ knots
Range: 5000nm @ 8 kts (most commonly: 4500nm @ 11 kts)
Complement: 31 officers and men, though this depends on the mission (I've never been on ship with fewer than 40 embarked)
Armament:
Bofors 40mm Mk 5C Automatic Cannon (Range ~6nm, Rate ~70 rnds/min)
2 .50-calibre machine guns.
Sensors:
KELVIN-HUGHES 6000 I-band Search Radar (~24nm in good conditions)
KELVIN-HUGHES 6000 J-band Navigation Radar (~16nm)
Length: 55.3m
Beam: 11.3m
Draught: 3.2m
Payloads:
Mechanical Minesweeping,
Route Survey side-scan sonar,
Bottom Inspection Remotely-Operated-Vehicle,
Accomodations payload (for embarking trainees)

These ships sail, on average, in excess of 180 days a year in fulfillment of their various duties. Minesweeping is conducted in pairs, with one ship carrying sonar and the other carrying sweep gear. The current slow speed of 15 kts is due to the snubbed shape of the ships' stern, rather than any deficiency in the powerful diesel-alternators. It was originally planned for the final five ships of this class to be extended by 5m to counteract this problem, making the ships faster and more suitable for patrols, but the plan was dropped for financial reasons.

The Bofors guns embarked on the Kingston class are over 50 years old and many had to be salvaged from museums around Canada. They are notoriously inaccurate and undergo near-constant maintenance to keep them operational. The ammunition is no longer manufactured for these guns, but there is enough in stockpile (purchased shortly after the Korean war) for each ship to fire 10 rounds a day for the next 15 years. Rumours persist that a modern radar-aimed system may be purchased within the next few years, but these are uncorroborated and more than a little optimistic.

The twelve ships of this class are based in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Esquimalt, British Columbia (near Victoria). One ship on each coast is currently always out of routine due to shortages in naval reserve funding and this ship is rotated bi-annually into service.

Halifax, NS
HMCS KINGSTON
HMCS GOOSE BAY
HMCS SUMMERSIDE
HMCS GLACE BAY
HMCS MONCTON
HMCS SHAWINIGAN

Esquimalt, BC
HMCS YELLOWKNIFE
HMCS BRANDON
HMCS WHITEHORSE
HMCS SASKATOON
HMCS NANAIMO
HMCS EDMONTON

This information was obtained from the Canadian Navy's webpage, http://www.navy.dnd.ca/

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