The Canadian frigate HMCS Halifax set sail on Saturday, March 19, for a six-month deployment to the North Atlantic and Baltic as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) on Operation REASSURANCE, in support of NATO assurance and deterrence measures in Central and Eastern Europe.
According to the Canadian Ministry of Defence, this is HMCS Halifax‘s third deployment on Operation REASSURANCE. The ship will join HMCS Montreal, which departed its homeport of Halifax, N.S. on January 19, 2022.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s increased presence in Europe will bolster NATO’s capability in the area and further demonstrate Canada’s commitment to promoting security and stability.
HMCS Halifax will deploy with an embedded Air Detachment, operating a CH-148 Cyclone helicopter from 12 Wing Shearwater.
During a brief official farewell in Halifax harbour, Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand said the Canadian ship would take part in the NATO operation to “help Europe maintain its strength and sovereignty” in the wake of Russia’s “illegal attack”.
– You are making a difference. Your presence in Europe will help Canada meet its NATO commitments and show our friends that we are there for them in good times and bad. In tough times we are with them – Anita Anand said.
“At this time, it is so important for us all to be united, stand together, stand against unwarranted and illegal Russian aggression, and stand up for peace, deterrence, and the defensive posture on which NATO is built,” Anand added.
Cmdr Dale St Croix told public broadcaster CBC that the ship he commands will be “a defence aid if the need arises” because countries such as Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland are close to the conflict area.
– We’re ready, willing, eager, and able to proceed overseas, conduct whatever mission the government of Canada has for us – St Croix said during the Saturday event.
The Halifax-class frigates have been in service since the early 1990s. HMCS Halifax was the first ship of the class to be built.