RCN takes command role at TRIDENT JUNCTURE 18

Navy News / November 9, 2018

In the largest NATO-led military exercise since the end of the Cold War, over 50,000 personnel, 10,000 vehicles, 150 aircraft and 65 ships are participating in TRIDENT JUNCTURE 18 in Norway.

The exercise, which ran from October 25 until November 7, 2018, was the Canadian Armed Forces’ main joint training effort for 2018. The Canadian contingent consisted of approximately 2,000 personnel, along with maritime, land and air assets.

The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) alone sent more than 600 personnel, including two frigates, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Halifax and Ville de Québec, and two Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, HMC Ships Summerside and Glace Bay.

TRIDENT JUNCTURE aims to demonstrate NATO’s ability to plan and conduct major joint operations. Members operate together along with partner nations, including Sweden and Finland, in a collective defence readiness scenario based on the triggering of Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Article 5 is the principle of collective defence, meaning an attack against one ally is considered an attack against all allies.

The RCN’s Commodore (Cmdre) Craig Skjerpen had a key leadership role in TRIDENT JUNCTURE, leading the Sea Combat Command Task Group for Joint Task Force North. The Task Group includes HMCS Halifax; two British frigates, Her Majesty’s Ships (HMS) Westminster and Northumberland; a Danish frigate, HDMS Hvidbjoernen; French frigate FS Bretagne; and Polish frigate ORP General Kazimierz Pulaski.

Cmdre Skjerpen was responsible for the conduct of the Task Group, providing guidance on movements, navigation and operations. He worked with American Vice-Admiral Lisa Franchetti, Commander U.S. 6th Fleet, ensuring that the Task Group worked seamlessly with a Norwegian-led Task Group during the exercise.

HMC Ships Glace Bay and Summerside, with their embarked explosive ordinance disposal and remotely operated vehicles, provided key capabilities in clearing approaches and landing sites during the exercise.

“Ready to help, ready to lead, ready to fight is what drives us as members of the RCN. TRIDENT JUNCTURE gives us the opportunity to work seamlessly with our closest allies and partners as a unified team. It will ensure that our forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction,” said Cmdre Skjerpen.

RCN’s participation in TRIDENT JUNCTURE contributes to NATO maritime force readiness objectives by conducting a wide range of sea warfare activities, including interdiction operations, mine countermeasure operations and replenishments at sea. 

“NATO is important to Canada, and Canada is important to NATO. Since its creation in 1949, we have played a strong and active role in missions to advance peace and security around the world. Today, Canada continues to take a leadership role within the Alliance by providing contributions to NATO missions, operations and activities,” said the Honorable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.