Submariners Assocation of Canada Easti

HMCS Onondaga

History of HMCS Onondaga


HMCS Onondaga is an Oberon Class Patrol Submarine built at Chatham for the Royal Canadian Navy. She was the 2nd of 3 boats of the class ordered by the Canadians and was the penultimate Chatham-built submarine. HMCS Onondaga was laid down on No 7 slip on 18th June 1964. She was launched into the Medway on 25th September 1965. After fitting out, she commissioned into the Royal Canadian Navy at Chatham on 22nd June 1967.  On completion, HMCS Onondaga was 295 ft long and 26ft 6″ wide across the beam. She displaced 1610 tons surfaced and 2410 tons dived. She was armed with 8 21″ torpedo tubes, 6 in the bow and 2 in the stern. She carried 18 reload torpedoes. After commissioning, she was assigned to the Canadian Maritime Forces Atlantic and spent her entire career with the Canadian Navy in the North Atlantic. Like all submarines of the period, HMCS Onondaga’s career details are still shrouded in secrecy. The Canadian Navy’s Oberon Class submarines were fitted out differently from their British cousins. The differences included an ‘open concept’ control room, the radar office was located under the control room, they had an inboard battery ventilation system, they had better air conditioning and their communications equipment was of Canadian manufacture. During the 1980s, all three Canadian Oberon class boats went through ‘SOUP’ (Submarine Operational Upgrade Program) refits. These major upgrades saw their Sonar equipment and weapon control systems replaced with new, state-of-the-art equipment. Their stern torpedo tubes were removed and the boats were fitted to carry the American supplied Mk48 smart torpedoes, which are more advanced, faster and deeper operating than the Mk36 torpedoes they replaced.

HMCS Onondaga was eventually decommissioned from the Royal Canadian Navy on 28th July 2000. By the time she decommissioned, she was the longest-serving of all the Canadian Oberon class submarines. She had been in service for 33 years, the longest serving submarine in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy and was the last of the Canadian Oberon class submarines in service. In her time, she had travelled more than 500,000 miles, half of which was submerged. She visited 53 ports in 12 countries.


Come aboard the only submarine open to the public in Canada. Discover the lifestyle of submarine crew members confined within a 90 meter ship for months. The audio guided tour will take you into a fascinating journey. Visit the ONONDAGA at her final resting place at Project Onondaga.


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