HMCS Regina conducts missile firing

HMCS Regina fires two Harpoon Surface to Surface missiles in the Pacific Range Facility Barking Sands, off the coast of Hawaii while participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. Photo by MS Dan Bard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

HMCS Regina fires two Harpoon Surface to Surface missiles in the Pacific Range Facility Barking Sands, off the coast of Hawaii while participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020. Photo by MS Dan Bard, Canadian Forces Combat Camera

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Regina and Winnipeg were off the coast of Hawaii last week, participating in Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2020, the largest maritime exercise in the world. The purpose of this exercise was to provide an opportunity for sailors to gain experience working with international forces, practicing group and task force tactics, and using important equipment and weaponry.

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As part of the finale for RIMPAC, HMCS Regina participated in a sinking exercise, or SINKEX. A SINKEX occurs when an environmentally clean, decommissioned hulk is purposefully sunk to provide a unique opportunity to improve coalition partners’ warfare readiness. It this case it was ex-USS Durham, a decommissioned amphibious cargo ship.

“With an ever-changing and complex global environment, inter-operability with partner nations is essential to maintain the rules-based international order,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Mike Vanderveer, Weapons Officer on board Regina. “This engagement not only proved the technical readiness of Regina and the Royal Canadian Navy, but provided an opportunity to focus on the application of force in coordinated kinetic action with partner nations.”

The weapons system Regina used for this exercise was the RGM-84 Harpoon Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM), which is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile used by most NATO member states.

The missile  launched from a platform situated on the ship. It has the ability to travel at high subsonic speeds and skims across the surface of the water to lower the chances of interception by air defence systems.

“It is a difficult and perishable skill, so any opportunity to plan and execute exercises with combined forces increases our skills, proficiency, and overall capability,” says Lt(N) Vanderveer.

This is the latest Sink Exercise conducted by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) at RIMPAC. At RIMPAC 2018, HMCS Ottawa participated in a SINKEX using the same weapon system with great success.

Proficiency with this system is imperative for RCN frigates as it provides the ship’s commanding officer the ability to address threats from over the horizon, while maintaining a distance that provides increased safety for the ship and crew.

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