HMCS Vancouver Successfully Completes Joltex 2016

HMCS Vancouver Successfully Completes Joltex 2016

HMCS Vancouver Successfully Completes Joltex 2016

SLt Sean Catterall, HMCS Vancovuer ~

HMCS Vancouver made history during JoLTEX 16 by becoming the first Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) ship to fire the Harpoon Block II missile in Coastal Target Suppression (CTS) mode in the Southern California Operating Areas.

Operators positioned ashore directed the firing of three Harpoon missiles from Vancouver, which used GPS waypoint-guidance to follow an ordered flight path prior to impact with sea container targets located on San Nicolas Island, located in operating area.

While the firing only took a forenoon watch, JoLTEX 16 was the culmination of months of preparation.

The Canadian Forces Maritime Warfare Centre led the planning, which started in 2015. For Vancouver, the first introduction to the project came late last year during a series of meetings to determine the technical and training requirements, as well as the timelines for JOLTEX 16. 

With technical inspections complete, Vancouver departed Esquimalt in February, deployed to South America with a mission to support the RCN engagement strategy and enhance relationships with several South American navies.

However, in the background Vancouver continued preparing for the final objective of the deployment – the missile firing.

At the end of March, while visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Vancouver embarked a team whose role was to put the final touches on the ship’s preparations. Equipment was tested, the operations team’s procedures were refined, and Vancouver was declared ready to proceed.

After embarking the Commander of the Canadian Fleet Pacific, the Test Director, and a data collection team, the ship sailed to the range to conduct the firing.  

Following an early “wakey-wakey” on April 1, Vancouver came to action stations, closed up section base teams, and assumed damage control condition ZB. After receiving fire missions from operators who had been landed ashore, Vancouver conducted the three harpoon engagements which found their targets with pinpoint accuracy.

While the data collected from the shoot must still be analyzed, from Vancouver’s perspective, JoLTEX 16 was a huge success. 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. 

Ship and crew are now on the way home to Esquimalt to commence a short work period prior to participating in Rimpac 2016, and a deployment to South East Asia. 

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