HMCS Montréal participates in multinational missile defence exercise

Navy News / October 28, 2015

Evolved Sea Sparrow surface to air missiles launch from HMCS Montréal during ASD 2015 off the coast of Scotland.

By SLt Sean Wilson, HMCS Montréal Unit Public Affairs Representative

It was certainly no ordinary day for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Montréal, one of several warships steaming on the dark waters off the west coast of Scotland in precise formation. Connected by the latest communication technologies, coalition ships shared a common picture of over 14.7 million square kilometres of the North Atlantic, an area approximately one and a half times the size of Canada.

HMCS Montréal’s sailors were primed for action when drones, simulating cruise missile threats, launched from ashore. The “missiles” were immediately detected by coalition radars and the information was shared instantly throughout the fleet. The modernised Canadian frigate’s improved combat management system gathered and processed the information, allowing the operators to make precise assessments on the threat. The “missiles” were headed straight for Montréal. The operations team briefed the Captain, who gave the order to “take” the targets. Moments later, the distinct whoosh of the frigate’s Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM) missiles reverberated throughout the ship as they blasted off towards the incoming threat. 

HMCS Montréal was participating in “At Sea Demonstration 2015” (ASD 2015), a multinational exercise that took place off the Hebrides Islands of Scotland in October 2015. The exercise was conducted under the Maritime Theater Missile Defence Forum (MTMD), an international group that aims to improve maritime integrated air and missile defence capabilities within a coalition context.  Participants included navies from Canada, France, Italy, Norway, Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. The exercise is the product of several years of planning and coordination between MTMD navies.

Hosted by the Royal Navy, ASD 2015 is a sea-based missile defence exercise, intended to assess and evaluate network interoperability between coalition partners. The exercise marks the first time integrated air and missile defence was used in a scenario involving simultaneous attack from a variety of missiles originating from multiple locations. Participants maintained situational awareness over the area of operation and relayed information over a total of 14.7 million square kilometres using a variety of platforms from different countries to identify, track and engage the targets.

“It was very exciting to see the months of hard work and preparation come together for my team,” remarked Montréal’s Commanding Officer, Commander Kristjan Monaghan. “I’m particularly proud of my crew; we couldn’t have achieved the success we did without the work of every person aboard. It was a tremendous opportunity for me to see the team come together to experience the split-second decision-making it takes for the team to react upon the detection of an inbound missile threat and then go through the process of launching our own missiles to intercept and neutralize it. Our success demonstrated Montréal’s ability, capability and readiness to counter such attacks in the maritime environment while integrated in a coalition naval force at sea.”  

HMCS Montréal, based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, deployed on 14 September, 2015 and is expected to return to Halifax in late November.