NATO warships converge on Halifax for military exercises
HMCS Fredericton leaves Halifax on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2009. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, September 10, 2016 1:56PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, September 10, 2016 2:41PM EDT
HALIFAX -- Warships from NATO countries will be in Halifax this week for a Canadian-led military exercise aimed at bolstering anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
The Defence Department said six countries are participating in the exercise dubbed Cutlass Fury, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain, France and Germany.
The 13-day exercise -- which includes 11 ships, three submarines and 26 aircraft -- will begin on Monday with a sail past in Halifax harbour.
The department said the mission includes anti-submarine exercises and will take place in waters off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
Royal Canadian Navy Commodore Craig Baines said Cutlass Fury is the largest anti-submarine warfare exercise to be conducted on Canada's East Coast in the last 20 years.
"It's an opportunity for us to bring like-minded NATO countries together to hone a very difficult skill set which is not only anti-submarine warfare but also working in the surface domain, the air domain and also doing a lot of work in boarding operations," said Baines in a statement.
"It's very important for Canada to work in this type of exercise because not only will we take a leadership role, but we'll also be working with six very keen NATO allies using real life assets in a live environment so we can increase our cooperation, increase our communication and make sure that all of our units are ready for any eventualities that might come our way."
The Canadian warships taking part include HMCS Fredericton, HMCS Athabaskan, HMCS Goose Bay, HMCS Summerside and HMCS Windsor.
The Halifax-based Windsor is currently Canada's only operational submarine, one of four purchased from Britain in the late 1990s.
The second-hand vessels have been plagued with various mechanical problems, including a fire on board the HMCS Chicoutimi that killed one crew member in 2004.
Royal Canadian Air Force units from Shearwater, Greenwood, Bagotville and Ottawa will also be taking part in Cutlass Fury.
They will be joined by U.S., British, French, and Spanish surface ships and an American and a French submarine.
Air base 14 Wing Greenwood, located roughly 140 kilometres northwest of Halifax, will also be hosting about six aircraft from the U.S. and French navies.