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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.

HMCS Athabaskan

The Canadian destroyer HMCS Athabaskan was one of four Iroquois class anti-submarine destroyers that entered Canadian service in the early 1970s.

The photograph highlights one of the ship's main anti-submarine systems: the landing deck and hangar for two Sea King helicopters (centre). Thanks to the Canadian-developed "bear trap" system that allowed large helicopters like the Sea King to land on small warships, even in rough seas, Athabaskan and other helicopter-equipped Canadian ships could carry out anti-submarine warfare operations in virtually all types of weather, a critical military advantage.

George Metcalf Archival Collection
CWM 19910109-164