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.

Naval Chaff Launcher

This launcher fires "chaff" (bundled strips of aluminum foil), a simple but effective defence against radar-guided missiles.

The bundles of chaff fired from the launcher's barrels explode in the air. The resulting clouds of aluminum strips create radar echoes to confuse the guidance system of the oncoming missile, causing it to divert or explode prematurely. Radar-guided missiles, launched by aircraft, ships, or submarines, posed an increasing threat to surface ships throughout the Cold War. While anti-aircraft guns and missiles could attempt to shoot down incoming missiles, countermeasures like chaff were also an important part of a ship's defences.

Launcher, Naval Chaff
CWM 19990208-001