POLITICS

Sub HMCS Victoria Fires 1st Torpedoes In Test

03/16/2012 04:59 EDT | Updated 05/16/2012 05:12 EDT
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The Royal Canadian Navy says one of its troubled submarines has finally managed to fire torpedoes in a test exercise.

The navy said HMCS Victoria, its only active submarine, fired the torpedoes in waters off Nanoose Bay, B.C., this week.

"As the submarine fleet achieves steady state it will be ready to act decisively at sea in defence of Canada, when and where needed, Capt. Luc Cassivi, director of the Canadian Submarine Force, said in a news release.

"These trials represent a major milestone for the Victoria-class submarine program as Victoria is the first submarine in the fleet to fire a MK48 heavyweight exercise torpedo."

The four used submarines Canada owns were purchased in 1998 and until now, none of them was able to carry or fire its American-built torpedoes.

The torpedoes Victoria fired didn't have an explosive warhead, but carried an electronics package used to gather data.

Additional weapons system trials are scheduled for the spring, the navy said.

Equipment and crew trials will continue throughout March as part of Victoria's program to be declared fully operational later this summer, according to the release.

When Canada bought the submarines it opted not to buy the British torpedoes the submarines were designed to carry.

That decision has cost the navy millions of dollars. All of the submarines' torpedo tubes have to be modified and the fire control systems removed and replaced.

News of the torpedo firing comes after a British MP told CBC News Thursday that Canada got a bad deal on the submarines purchased from Britain.

Mike Hancock, the Liberal Democrat MP for Portsmouth South, said the submarine deal was an embarrassment and should be investigated.

The navy's other three submarines are not in the water and are still not capable of firing torpedoes.

The navy hopes to have three of the submarines operational by 2013.