Explore History

The Later Cold War
A Changing Fleet

Canada's navy changed and shrank in the latter part of the Cold War, but continued to face threats and meet alliance obligations. Despite the addition of some newer vessels, by the late 1970s it faced "rust-out" due to the gradual deterioration of ships and equipment.

Soviet Naval Aircraft
Soviet Naval Aircraft

Members of Soviet Naval Aviation - the Soviet Navy's air branch - parade their unit's flags (right) in front of their aircraft.

The Soviet Union used a variety of long-range aircraft like these Ilyushin Il-38s to search for and track surface vessels and submarines belonging to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which included Canada. Had a war broken out between NATO and the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact, Soviet submarines and aircraft would have used this tracking information to attack NATO warships and merchant vessels carrying supplies, equipment and personnel to the fighting in Europe.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19820577-001_12

HMCS Iroquois, Artist's Concept
HMCS Athabaskan
Model, HMCS Bras d'Or
HMCS Bras d'Or
HMCS Ojibwa
HMCS Ojibwa Model
Uniform, Lieutenant Commander Edward Ross Murray
Model, HMCS Assiniboine
HMCS Gatineau
HMCS Gatineau
Model, HMCS Nipigon
Naval Chaff Launcher
The Watch Below – Engine Room – HMCS Yukon
Hands to Supper – Galley and Steamline – HMCS Yukon
FN C1D Rifle
Diving Knife
Soviet Naval Aircraft
Soviet Aircraft Carrier and Bombers
HMCS Huron and HMCS Kootenay, 1990
Baltic Patrol