Royal Canadian Navy strengthens interoperability with French Navy Carrier Strike Group

Members of the French Navy NH90 helicopter detachment from Task Force 473 meet with members of HMCS Regina’s Cyclone helicopter detachment on the ship’s flight deck. Photo by Cpl Stuart Evans

Members of the French Navy NH90 helicopter detachment from Task Force 473 meet with members of HMCS Regina’s Cyclone helicopter detachment on the ship’s flight deck. Photo by Cpl Stuart Evans

Lt(N) Linda Coleman, HMCS Regina Public Affairs Officer ~

Last Tuesday, HMCS Regina conducted a cooperative deployment with French Task Force (TF) 473, a Carrier Strike Group with nuclear-powered French Navy aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle as its centerpiece.

The cooperation took place in the Arabian Sea with the goal of enhancing interoperability and improving communications.

The day started with an Air Defence Exercise (ADEX), which saw French Navy Rafale M Fighter jets take off from Charles de Gaulles aircraft carrier to conduct maneuvers over Regina.

As the jets flew over the warship as low as 200 feet, Regina’s operations room was buzzing with activity. The aim was to exercise Above Water Warfare capabilities by practicing detect to engage, warnings, self defence against unknown strike / fighter bomber aircraft, and air to surface missiles.

“The ADEX was a lot of fun for our Above Water Warfare team to track and locate French fighter jets,” said Lt(N) Adam Ness, Regina’s Above Water Warfare Officer. “The opportunity to work with an aircraft carrier and its fighter jets doesn’t come around very often, so it was a unique opportunity for us to exercise these skills. Happy to say that we rose to the challenge resulting in a successful exercise.”

The afternoon saw TF 473’s NH90 Helicopter conduct deck evolutions with Regina, including hoisting, slinging, and landings. For Regina’s embarked Cyclone helicopter detachment, it was an opportunity to conduct joint training.

“The deck evolutions went very well with the French Navy. It’s great professional development for us to work with other countries, see how they operate and perform these procedures, which is a bit different from ours,” said Captain Ryan Clarke of 443 Maritime Helicopter Squadron.

Concurrently, Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix conducted a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) with French Ship (FS) Latouche-Tréville and FS Provence, demonstrating Asterix’s abilities to support our partners and allies.

The day concluded with Regina conducting close quarter sailing with the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as the Rafale M Fighter jets exercised landings and take-offs.

“This was a unique opportunity for a Maritime Forces Pacific-based warship to operate with a French Task Force and other NATO warships,” said Commander Jake French, Commanding Officer of Regina. “I’m very proud of my ship’s company for successfully integrating into a multinational task group, highlighting the operational effects of cooperative deployments.”

In the vicinity of Regina were U.S. Navy ship USS McFaul, Danish warship HDMS Niels Juel, and Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Ballarat. The warships were all operating off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea with the Task Force 473.

Regina is currently deployed on Operation Artemis, the Canadian Armed Forces’ ongoing contribution to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations in the Middle Eastern and East African waters. 

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