On July 18, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Ville de Québec left Halifax, Nova Scotia in making its way to the Mediterranean Sea to aid in Operation REASSURANCE. This mission is part of Canada’s support of NATO’s assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe, which Canada has participated in since 2014.
The Halifax-class frigate with a crew of about 240 personnel of all ranks will engage in the Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2), which is one of NATO’s maritime immediate reaction forces. A CH-148 Cyclone helicopter is also a part of this operation, the first operational deployment of such a helicopter, which is a significant milestone for the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Canadian Navy.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that the participation of HMCS Ville de Québec and the new CH-148 Cyclone helicopter demonstrates Canada’s contribution to NATO priorities.
This is HMCS Ville de Québec’s first deployment under Op REASSURANCE, and will replace HMCS St. John, which will arrive back in Halifax later this month after a six-month stint.
“The deployment of HMCS Ville de Quebec, with the first-ever Cyclone helicopter air detachment embarked, is an exciting moment and an important milestone for the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force,” said Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. “Together the team will continue to work closely with our NATO allies and partner nations to enhance regional maritime security and stability by delivering effects on, above and below the sea.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month announced that Canada would renew its contribution to NATO through Operation REASSURANCE until March 2023. Additionally, the number of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia will increase from 455 to 540. Canada will also continue to provide air surveillance, air policing, training, and maritime forces.