The Royal Canadian Navy has selected Halifax-class frigate HMCS St. John’s as the next RCN ship to deploy on NATO’s operation Reassurance in early 2017.
The frigate will support the standing NATO maritime group 2 (SNMG 2) in the Mediterranean Sea contributing to regional security and stability.
HMCS St. John’s will depart Halifax in mid-January, replacing HMCS Charlottetown which has been serving with SNMG 2 since July 2016.
St. John’s is the sixth Royal Canadian Navy ship and the fourth modernized Halifax-class frigate to deploy in support of NATO assurance measures in Europe since April 2014.
The ship’s last international deployment was in March 2012 when the ship deployed on operation Caribbe Canada’s contribution to operation Martillo, a multinational campaign to counter transnational criminal organizations in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
“As Captain of HMCS St. John’s I am incredibly proud of the team that has pulled together to make this hull come to life,” HMCS St.John’s commanding officer, Commander Sheldon Gills, said. “Over the last number of months we have honed our skills and with the fantastic support of the civilian and military staffs that make up Maritime Forces Atlantic I know that St. John’s is in all respects ready for the challenges of operation Reassurance.”
HMCS St. John’s completed the Halifax-class modernization/ frigate life extension program in October 2015 during which the ship was fitted with a new combat management system, new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system upgrade, upgraded communications and missiles, as well as a new integrated platform management system.
The frigate conducted high readiness training as part of Spartan Warrior 16. The ship then conducted a successful Evolved Sea Sparrow missile shoot in late November as part of high readiness preparations for operation Reassurance.
Standing NATO maritime groups are multinational, integrated maritime task groups made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from exercises to operational missions. They also help to establish alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support partner engagement, and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.