HMCS Vancouver prepares to deploy

HMCS Vancouver

HMCS Vancouver

The road to high readiness is both exciting and challenging, just ask the crew of HMCS Vancouver. 

Vancouver just finished their Intermediate Multi-Ship Readiness Training (IMSRT) programme with Sea Training (Pacific) and went straight into exercising with the United States Navy Submarine Commander Course off the coast of Hawaii.

Throughout Readiness Training the crew was assessed by Sea Training on the full range of operational capabilities. 

“It was difficult at times, but ultimately it was a hugely beneficial experience,” says SLt Christopher McFarlane, bridge watchkeeper.

Vancouver’s crew were tested on their ability to respond to a person overboard, search and rescue taskings, fires, and floods. Other capabilities tested included the Naval Boarding Party, the ship’s towing ability, and helicopter operations. 

Readiness Training concluded with a 48-hour combat scenario. 

“Those final 48 hours were intense,” says SLt McFarlane.  “We were bringing the ship to action stations multiple times a day, trying to defend ourselves against simulated surface, subsurface, and aerial threats. Sea Training aimed to make the exercise as realistic as possible. As the ship sustained simulated battle damage, areas in the ship would be placed out of bounds – some for the entire two-day period and always requiring the crew to adjust in order to maintain effectiveness. If you became a casualty, you were stuck with your simulated injury until the end of the programme.” 

Despite the difficulty of the training programme, Vancouver’s crew came out strong, impressing Sea Training with their ability to adapt and overcome challenges that were thrown their way.  Ultimately, Vancouver got the green light for having passed its Readiness Training from the Canadian Fleet Pacific Commodore and Sea Training. 

This was another step towards high readiness status as the ship and crew prepare for an operational deployment later in the year. 

The crew of Vancouver – or the Battle Cats as they like to call themselves after the ship’s gun art – a Cougar pouncing on a Second World War U-boat- weren’t about to stop training. 

After successful completion of the readiness training programme, the ship went straight on to participate in the USN’s Submarine Commander Course with USN submarines. The Canadian warship evaded, tracked, and engaged the submarines. The value of participating in the Submarine Commander Course was two-fold. The Battle Cats gained great experience conducting torpedo evasion and tracking submarines, and USN submarine commanders were able to enhance their own skills by training with a highly capable anti-submarine platform. 

It was certainly a busy time at sea for the Battle Cats, but they lived up to their reputation: Battle Cats Don’t Stop.

HMCS Vancouver


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