Cutlass Fury 19 rides out hurricane

Sailors practice refueling at sea during the opening days of the exercise. Photo: MARLANT PA

Sailors practice refueling at sea during the opening days of the exercise. Photo: MARLANT PA

Ryan Melanson, Trident Newspaper ~

Communities across Nova Scotia were impacted when the destructive post-tropical storm Dorian made landfall Sept. 7, and the Canadian Armed Forces community was no exception.

The storm came at a particularly inopportune time for Maritime Forces Atlantic, with NATO partners from seven nations arriving just days ahead of Exercise Cutlass Fury, a joint multinational maritime engagement taking place off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

Public events planned for the weekend, including ship tours and a soccer match, were called off as 15 ships headed to sea to ride out the storm in sheltered waters. Damage to the Halifax boardwalk and the scale of power restoration efforts meant the planned sail past and fly past on Sept. 9 was also called off.

“There was disappointment on all sides. The staff I worked with had been preparing for this exercise for more than a year now, and everyone was very much looking forward to this part of it, welcoming the public to the dockyard to see these ships,” said Capt(N) Matthew Bowen, Exercise Director for Cutlass Fury 19. He added the changes to the schedule and cancellation of some activities were necessary to protect naval equipment, the sailors themselves, and members of the public.

The bulk of Cutlass Fury, however, continued as planned.

The exercise task group sailed out on the afternoon of Sept. 9 to begin exercising off the coast of Nova Scotia. HMC Ships Fredericton, Ville de Quebec, St. John’s, Shawinigan, and Glace Bay participated, along with MV Asterix, and RCAF aircraft including CP-140 Auroras, CC130T Hercules, CC-150T Polaris air-to-air refuellers, CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopters, and CF-18 Hornet fighter jets.

Visiting ships included members of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 from the Dutch, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Belgian Navies, as well as others from the United States Navy, Royal Navy, and Royal Danish Navy. In total, the exercise included 2,800 participants, 20 ships, and 36 aircraft.

Scenarios were based around a multi-threat environment, with a strong emphasis on air elements, air-maritime integration and support, anti-air defence, air coordination, and air-on-air warfare, including participation in a NORAD exercise called Amalgam Dart 19-2.

Capt(N) Bowen said exercises at sea focused on sailors’ and ships’ ability to work with their counterparts from other countries.

“It was an opportunity to go to sea and practice not-only warfare skills and interoperability with our NATO partners, but also making sure all our procedures are aligned, making sure all our crew were prepared to work together, talk to each other, and understand each other, despite language barriers or potential differences in how different navies do things.”

Cutlass Fury concluded on Sept. 20 when participating ships came alongside in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.