Conducting its second round of Operation Reassurance, HMCS Fredericton deployed to the Mediterranean Sea earlier this month. The ship replaced HMCS Winnipeg, which was deployed to the region since July 2015.
Setting sail with a crew of 250 and an embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment, HMCS Fredericton left Canadian shores on Jan. 5. The ship is joining Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Mediterranean Sea as part of NATO’s assurance measures to promote security and stability in Central and Eastern Europe.
“I wish the crew of HMCS Fredericton well as they set sail towards Eastern and Central Europe to support Standing NATO Maritime Forces efforts to help bring security and stability to the region. Canada is proud to contribute to these assurance measures, demonstrating our nation’s steadfast support to NATO,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
HMCS Fredericton will represent Canada in helping to conduct a range of missions in the region including surveillance and monitoring, regional defence and diplomatic efforts and capacity building.
NATO first announced and began implementing its commitment in the region in April 2014. The measures are in an effort to display allied strength and solidarity especially in light of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. Canada committed its capabilities to the effort that same month.
In the past two years, the CAF have supported NATO efforts through the provision of military capabilities for training, exercises, demonstrations and fulfilling assigned NATO tasks.
This is HMCS Fredericton’s second deployment in Operation Reassurance. The ship has a unique standing as it was the first modernized frigate to deploy in support of the Government of Canada’s objectives in 2014.
“The deployment of our modernized Halifax-class frigates and their world-class capabilities on Operation REASSURANCE demonstrates the Royal Canadian Navy`s continued readiness to respond to the security objectives set forth by the Government of Canada and the interoperability we share with our NATO allies,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy in a press release.
The Halifax-class modernization/frigate life extension (HCM/FELEX) is a $4.3 billion program that includes a new Combat Management System, new radar capabilities, new electronic warfare system upgrade, upgraded communications and missiles and a new Integrated Platform Management System.
Seven Halifax-class frigates have completed their modernization. An example of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, the HCM/FELEX project overall is on budget and remains on schedule to be completed by 2018.