Monday, February 20, 2006
Five Canadian warships were set to leave Halifax on Monday for an intense, three-week training exercise that will see them working with the U.S. Navy. The vessels were to join three U.S. destroyers, along with Canadian fighter jets and land forces. Canada's only operational submarine, HMCS Windsor, was also set to take part. HMCS Montreal, the flagship of the exercise, was to be joined by HMCS Ville de Quebec, Summerside, Moncton and Preserver. About 1,000 personnel were expected to participate in the exercise, set to take place in waters off Nova Scotia, Norfolk, Va., and Boston, Mass.
HMCS Montréal (FFH 336)Navy spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Ken MacKillop said two such training exercises are typically scheduled each year. "This one is an excellent chance to exercise the Joint Task Force Atlantic command and control concept, so they will be working more jointly out there using the headquarters here to run the operation," he said. Joint Task Force Atlantic is one of several regional command centres responsible for conducting domestic operations under Canada Command. The centres were announced last year to focus on disasters at home. MacKillop said this week's exercises will also allow Canadian and American units to work as a cohesive unit. Combat capabilities will be tested in the areas of anti-submarine warfare, electronic warfare and boarding operations. It's the first time Preserver has conducted fleet operations since its $40-million refit last year.