Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Winnipeg (FFH 338) is currently off the coast of Hawaii participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, the largest maritime exercise in the world. The purpose of this exercise is to provide an opportunity for sailors to gain experience working with international forces, practice tactics and task force integration, and train with allied navies on equipment and weaponry. RIMPAC provides a unique and invaluable training opportunity for the Royal Canadian Navy. It supports advanced team training in a complex, multinational maritime environment and is an opportunity to prove high-level combat capabilities through live-fire exercises using world-class weapon ranges.
“As the Surface Action Group Commander for this evolution, Winnipeg and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) proved how we were able to integrate effectively with partner nations to conduct coordinated strike engagements, scoring a mission kill on the target.” said Petty Officer First Class Kevin Granger, the above water warfare director onboard HMCS Winnipeg.
“Winnipeg spent countless hours training to safely and efficiently execute this firing event. It was great opportunity to showcase what the team has accomplished during our pre-deployment readiness training this year, and to prove that we are fully prepared to represent the Government of Canada anywhere in the world.,” said Lieutenant(N) Bucky Branscombe, Winnipeg’s operations officer.
On July 12, the crew of Winnipeg participated in a sinking exercise (SINKEX). During a SINKEX, an environmentally clean, decommissioned hull, in this case the decommissioned ex-USS Rodney M. Davis, is purposefully sunk to provide a unique opportunity to improve our coalition partner’s readiness. The weapons system Winnipeg 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 utilized by many NATO member states. While HMC Ships have fired Harpoon missiles in past RIMPAC exercises, this was the first time that an RCN ship worked with MQ-9 Reaper drones and its embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter in a coordinated surface engagement.
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 safe distance. With both Harpoon missiles striking the target, this SINKEX proved the capability of both the ship and the crew. Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29- Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.