April 10, 2016

Royal Canadian Navy marks first-ever missile test against shore-based targets

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Vancouver made history recently as it became the first modernized Canadian frigate to successfully test surface-to-surface missiles against a shore-based target.

Utilizing Harpoon Block II surface-to-surface missiles, this is the first time the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) has exercised such a surface-to-surface missile launch capability. The launches were a part of a Joint Littoral Training Exercise (JoLTEX) recently completed by the RCN at a United States Navy missile firing range off the coast of California. The exercise was held in late March and early April.

“This successful launch test serves not only as a testament to the professionalism of the sailors on board HMCS Vancouver, it also serves to usher in a renewed capability for the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Commodore Jeff Zwick, Commander Maritime Fleet Pacific. “Years of work and innovation have led us to this point, and our sailors now have one more reason to hold their heads high. The success of JoLTEX 16 clearly demonstrates the navy’s commitment to providing a modern, flexible and combat capable maritime force not only above, on, and below the seas, but one that is now also capable of striking from sea to shore.”

The success of this exercise symbolizes a significant step toward reinstituting a crucial RCN capability that will support the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) and its allies’ combat operations ashore.

“This was a great navy morning, as the hard work of the past several years culminated in the delivery of a new capability in support of the broader CAF mission,” said Captain (Navy) Darren Garnier, Commander Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre. “The successful execution of JoLTEX 16 resulted from the coming together of RCN, Special Forces, the materiel group and our evaluation teams to achieve several firsts for the CAF, including the delivery of combat effect by the RCN in a joint littoral environment. As the Test Director, I offer my appreciation to all involved, but specifically to the crew of HMCS Vancouver who were ‘all in’ in terms of making this happen.”

The successful firing of these missiles in the CTS mode is the first time Harpoon Block II missiles and the new Combat Management System on board the RCN’s modernized frigates have been coupled for this purpose.

“From Vancouver’s perspective, JoLTEX 16 was a huge success,” said Commander Clive Butler, Commander HMCS Vancouver. “The missiles left the rails when ordered to do so, they followed the ordered path to the target, and they impacted the targets with precision. Vancouver’s team finished the exercise confident in the capability and excited to have contributed to the development of joint tactical doctrine.”

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