RCN ships join USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group for exercises

The USS Gerald R. Ford is seen alongside German navy frigate FGS Hessen during task group exercises in the Atlantic Ocean on November 2. CPL JADIN GAUDETT

RCN ships join USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group for exercises

By Ryan Melanson,
Trident Staff

The Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) says he’s thrilled that ships from the Atlantic Fleet have the opportunity to exercise with the United States Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, along with a number of other NATO allies.

Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee, Commander RCN, was in Halifax to welcome the USS Gerald R.Ford Carrier Strike Group for a port visit that lasted from October 28 to November 1, before the ships sailed out to begin a Task Group Exercise focused on interoperability and cooperation between nations.

The strike group consisted of the the Spanish Armada frigate Alvaro de Bazan, Danish navy frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes, Dutch navy frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provincien, Dutch navy frigate HNLMS Van Amstel , German navy frigate FGS Hessen, and the U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage and guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy, in addition to the USS Gerald R. Ford itself.

“When the Ford task group sails out of Halifax Harbour, it will be accompanied by HMCS Montréal and MV Asterix, which is part of our integration effort to make sure we can operate seamlessly with all of our NATO allies,” VAdm Topshee said.

“Every time we operate with another country, we learn and we gain something from that, so I’m very excited about this.”

The USS Gerald R. Ford is one of the world’s largest aircraft carriers, measuring more than 330 metres in length, and it boasts state of the art weapons and capabilities to support the aircraft that launch from its flight deck.

Admiral Daryl Caudle of U.S. Fleet Forces Command said sending the multinational strike group to sea sends a strong message of deterrence, but noted that this particular deployment and exercise was in the works for more than a year, prior to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“This is business as usual. This is how the United States Navy and our allies have always done things. We practice so we can deter and defend, so we can fight together and win.”