HMCS Ville de Québec and RCAF helicopter air detachment complete NATO deployment

News Article / January 21, 2019

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Canadian Armed Forces

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ville de Québec and its Royal Canadian Air Force helicopter air detachment (HELAIRDET) have completed their six-month deployment with Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG2).

The ship returned today to its home port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

On January 19, HMCS Toronto left Halifax to replace HMCS Ville de Quebec, taking its place as the maritime component of Operation Reassurance, Canada’s contribution to NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.

HMCS Ville de Québec, a Halifax-class frigate, has a crew of approximately 240 personnel of all ranks. This includes an enhanced naval boarding party and a CH-148 Cyclone HELAIRDET. This was the first operational deployment for the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter and the first time that HMCS Ville de Québec had deployed on Operation Reassurance.

“The deployment of HMCS Ville de Québec on Operation Reassurance marked an important milestone for the Royal Canadian Air Force: the first operational deployment of the new CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter,” said Major-General Christian Drouin, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division and combined/joint forces air component commander for the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

“Operated and maintained by a highly capable helicopter air detachment, the Cyclone’s performance on this deployment has proven it to be a state-of-the-art, combat-capable aircraft, which will do great service as the ‘Wings for the Fleet’ for the Royal Canadian Navy for years to come. I have no doubt that the CH-148 detachment deploying on HMCS Toronto will continue to make the RCAF proud.”

The HELAIRDET and its CH-148 Cyclone helicopter flew more than 500 hours during 170 sorties, 54 of which were Maritime Security Awareness surveillance patrols in support of NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian. The HELAIRDET was able to improve existing shipborne helicopter operating procedures, refine tactics to fit the Cyclone’s advanced capabilities, develop a robust integration of the aircraft  with the modernized Halifax-class frigate, and validate the interoperability of the Cyclone with NATO Allies and partners.

The deployment of a Halifax-class frigate and CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures provides Canada with the flexibility to execute a range of missions across a broad spectrum of operations. The ship and aircraft support the international efforts in the region, including surveillance and monitoring, regional defence and diplomatic engagement, and capacity building.

“I am incredibly proud of the hard work and accomplishments of the crew of HMCS Ville de Québec over the past six months. Since deploying in July 2018 as part of Operation Reassurance, we conducted highly effective patrols and participated in key NATO exercises in the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Norwegian and North Seas,” said Commander Scott Robinson, commanding officer of HMCS Ville de Québec.

“This deployment marks a historic moment for both the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force as we sailed with the highly capable CH-148 Cyclone helicopter on its first operational deployment. On behalf of the entire crew, I extend a heartfelt thank you to the families of all our sailors, soldiers and aviators who supported us during this six-month deployment. I also wish fair winds and following seas to HMCS Toronto as they replace us.”

Since 2014, the Canadian Armed Forces have deployed a maritime task force with a frigate on a rotational basis on Operation Reassurance. HMCS  Ville de Québec began its  support to NATO assurance and deterrence measures on July 19, 2018, and joined SNMG2 on its way to the Mediterranean Sea. SNMG2 is a naval task force made up of ships from various allied countries that work together for a common purpose.

HMCS Ville de Québec deployed for 190 days, sailing more than 32,800 nautical miles. The ship conducted 14 operational ports of call in 12 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. During Operation Reassurance, the ship participated in Exercise Trident Juncture 2018, a multinational exercise consisting of approximately 50,000 personnel, 250 aircraft and 65 vessels from 31 NATO Allies and partner nations.

HMCS Ville de Québec also participated in five cooperative deployments with ships of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and Tunisian, Algerian, Turkish and Egyptian Navies. The ship hosted events onboard on behalf of the Canadian Ambassadors to Tunisia, Algeria and Israel, helping to strengthen Canada’s ties with the international community.

This deployment marks HMCS Toronto’s second deployment as part of Operation Reassurance; the first was from August 2014 to January 2015.


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