Canadian sub fires torpedo in historic war games off Hawaii
Published Wednesday, July 18, 2012 3:01PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, July 18, 2012 7:41PM EDT
Canadian sailors aboard the submarine HMCS Victoria made history by successfully firing a torpedo during international military exercises off Hawaii.
More than 1,400 Canadian soldiers, sailors and air personnel are taking part in the U.S.-led Rim of the Pacific Exercises 2012 (RIMPAC) which began June 29 and run for six weeks.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who just wrapped up a visit to the exercises, told CTV News Channel the contingent marks the largest contribution Canada has ever made to the military war games, which take place every two years.
He said the submarine crew's successful attempt at destroying a target with a torpedo marked a "benchmark for the Canadian Navy that we're very proud of."
Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy, also lauded the accomplishment by the submarine and her crew. One of several subs purchased from the U.K. in 1998, HMCS Victoria has spent much of her time in Canada undergoing repairs and was only released for service earlier this year.
“This is a clear demonstration of the full weapons capability of the Victoria-class and marks a significant achievement in HMCS Victoria’s return to operations,” said Vice-Admiral Maddison in a release Wednesday.
“This platform provides Canada with a unique strategic capability unrivalled in stealth, persistence and lethality that can act decisively on and below the surface of the sea at a time and place of the government’s choosing.”
The RIMPAC exercises included participation from the following countries:
Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Philippines, South Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the U.K. and the U.S.
MacKay said the exercises help Canada's military personnel prepare for real-life situations protecting trade, combating piracy and providing relief during humanitarian crises.
"As a Pacific nation it's important Canada continues to work with our defence partners," MacKay said.
"This is an enormous exercise, the largest on the planet, in the Pacific Rim area and it's a chance to become more inter-operable, more confident working with our partners on the threats that exist in such things as piracy and other things that would interrupt trade in the water."
Canadian submarines have not fared so well in the past.
Four subs purchased from Britain in 1998 have been plagued by problems, including reports of cracked valves and corroded pipes on HMCS Victoria.
In 2004, fire broke out aboard the HMCS Chicoutimi on its voyage to Canada, leaving one person dead and eight injured.
HMCS Corner Brook struck the ocean floor off Vancouver Island in June 2011, causing extensive damage to its bow.
Meanwhile, it took several years to retrofit HMCS Windsor, which was only recently lowered into the Halifax harbour in preparation for sea trials.
With files from The Canadian Press