Canada’s top soldier says the military’s ability to keep funding a “persistent presence” of warships in the western Pacific is facing challenges on the current budget.
Gen. Wayne Eyre was speaking during the Halifax International Security Forum Saturday during a panel discussion focused on China’s emergence as a military superpower.
The chief of defence staff said Canada currently has three frigates operating in the region on joint naval exercises with Japan and the United States.
He noted, however, that those ships are reaching the end of their 30-year lifespan.
Eyre said while Canada is committed to keeping ships operating in the area, sustaining the frigates is “going to be a challenge … as we balance resources around the world.”
He added the Halifax-class frigates are in what he called desperate need of maintenance.
“If we take a look at the trajectory of our maintenance funding over the next few years, we’re going to have a very, very hard time given the current path,” Eyre said.
He also said he’s concerned about keeping the country’s maritime patrol aircraft flying, saying “serviceability” is below 50 percent and they are in urgent need of replacement.
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