HMCS Winnipeg replaces HMCS Fredericton in support of NATO-led maritime assurance activities

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Navy News / July 14, 2015

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) frigate Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg officially joined Standing NATO Maritime Forces in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean July 7, 2015 as part of Operation REASSURANCE, Canada’s response to the Putin regime’s aggression in Central and Eastern Europe.

HMCS Winnipeg replaces HMCS Fredericton which had been conducting maritime security operations and joint NATO training exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, North Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) since January 2015.

“Globally-deployed HMC Ships like Winnipeg provide the Government of Canada with diverse and robust capabilities in response to developing and ongoing crises in the region and around the world,” said Lieutenant-General Stephen Bowes, Commander Canadian Joint Operations Command. “I am confident that HMCS Winnipeg’s Op REASSURANCE deployment will build upon the achievements of HMCS Fredericton, which consistently provided outstanding support to NATO-led assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe throughout the last six months.”

HMCS Winnipeg is the first HMC Ship to deploy an Enhanced Naval Boarding Party (ENBP) on an operational mission. The ENBP is a new capability for the RCN that will be used in support of maritime interdiction operations. This new ENBP team is better trained and equipped to provide HMC Ships with enhanced agility, flexibility and tactical expertise to confront and deter a variety of threats in high-risk operational environments.

HMCS Winnipeg is the second modernized high readiness frigate to deploy overseas in support of Government of Canada objectives, having recently completed its modernization/frigate equipment life extension refit. The ship has a new Combat Management System, new radar capability, a new electronic warfare system, upgraded communications, and more advanced missiles. The ship now also boasts a new Integrated Platform Management system offering better damage control, as well as more modern electrical and machinery control.

The ship joins SNMG2, which is currently engaged in NATO counter-terrorism patrols and related activities in the Mediterranean Sea. Standing NATO Maritime Groups are multinational, integrated maritime forces 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.

HMCS Winnipeg participated in Operation CARIBBE for approximately three weeks while en route to replace HMCS Fredericton. Operation CARIBBE is Canada’s participation in the multinational campaign against illicit trafficking by transnational organized crime in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean.

HMC Ships Winnipeg and Fredericton are both Halifax-class frigates with a crew of approximately 250 personnel of all ranks, including a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment.

“A job well done to the ship’s company of HMCS Fredericton on the successful completion of their Op REASSURANCE deployment,” said Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, Commander RCN. “I now look forward to seeing our next modernized frigate, HMCS Winnipeg, including its new Enhanced Naval Boarding Party, continue the close cooperation with our NATO allies and partner nations to help bring security and stability to the region. The Royal Canadian Navy continues to be ready to deploy anywhere in the world, providing excellence at sea on behalf of the Government of Canada.”

HMCS Fredericton arrived in its homeport of Halifax on July 12, 2015.