HMCS Charlottetown in the Baltic

Crew members from HMCS Charlottetown prepare to deploy a floating target to be used as target practice for Allied NATO vessels during Operation REASSURANCE on August 28, 2017.
Photo: Corporal J.W.S. Houck, FIS Halifax

HMCS Charlottetown trains in gunnery warfare and submarine tracking in the Baltic Sea

By Lt (N) Meghan Jacques,
Operation REASSURANCE Maritime Task Force UPAR

Since HMCS Charlottetown joined Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) in mid-August 2017, it has been keeping busy. Charlottetown’s crew of 240 personnel has been honing its skills by taking part in in task group training exercises. These include naval communications exercises, warfare drills, and practice maneuvering for replenishments-at-sea.

Recently the training continued to intensify with the introduction of multi-ship gunnery and submarine tracking exercises in the Baltic Sea.

On August 28, Charlottetown, with His Majesty’s Norwegian Ship (HNoMS) Otto Sverdrup, Federal German Ship (FGS) Rhön, and Navio da República Portuguesa (NRP) Francisco de Almeida, conducted live gunnery firing in concert with Finnish Naval Ship (FNS) Hanko.

During this exercise, Charlottetown launched a high speed inflatable towed target used for the basic firing serial, which ships can track and shoot for training. Charlottetown fired 32 rounds with its 57mm main armament before Finnish ship FNS Hanko ultimately succeeded in destroying the simulated target. The gunnery serial was an opportunity for interoperability training and internal team training, building on the earlier integration exercises of the task group.

A couple days later, SNMG1 conducted a simulated submarine tracking exercise. The focus was on underwater warfare to follow-up the surface warfare training from the beginning of the week. The serial included launching Vadar, the Super Lynx combat helicopter on NRP Francisco de Almeida. Vadar landed on Charlottetown to lift the exercise targets and deposit them in the water so that the training serial could start.

Using sensors, each ship tracked the mechanical target and trained their sensor operators in effective communication. Participating crews focused on maintaining clear and coordinated tracking of the exercise target and coordinating each ship’s position to maintain the tactical picture and defend the other ships in the task group. The exercise improved overall task group cooperation and was effective training for all involved.                                                                

The increased exercise tempo is helping the task group prepare for exercise NORTHERN COAST, which will promote interoperability and cooperation between participating NATO and Partner for Peace countries.