The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) His Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Montréal, a Halifax-class frigate, departed its homeport of Halifax and is now en route to the Indo-Pacific region – delivering on the commitment in Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy to annually deploy an additional frigate to the region from Canadian Forces Base Halifax. As Minister Anand announced in November 2022, Canada is increasing its annual naval deployments in the region from two to three frigates, and the deployment of this additional frigate from the East Coast will boost Royal Canadian Navy presence, particularly in the Indian Ocean. During Operation PROJECTION, HMCS Montréal and MV Asterix will participate in international naval exercises with partner nations throughout the Indo-Pacific.
During its deployment, HMCS Montréal will be supported by Naval Replenishment Unit Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix, also based in Halifax. Two other Canadian frigates are set to deploy to the region on later dates. HMCS Montréal, with an embarked CH-148 Cyclone helicopter detachment, is the first East Coast frigate to deploy on Operation PROJECTION in the Indo-Pacific region. During the deployment, the ship will work in close coordination with partner and allied nations maritime forces, promoting peace and stability in support of the rules-based international order. In addition to Operation PROJECTION, HMCS Montréal will also participate in Operation NEON, Canada’s contribution to multinational efforts to monitor sanctions imposed on North Korea by the United Nations Security Council.
HMCS Montréal is a Halifax-class frigate that has served in the Canadian Forces since 1993. The vessel is designated as a Bilingual Language Unit in the Royal Canadian Navy. The Halifax class underwent a modernization program, known as the Halifax Class Modernization (HCM) program, in order to update the frigates’ capabilities in combatting modern smaller, faster and more mobile threats. This involved upgrading the command and control, radar, communications, electronic warfare and armament systems. The existing 57 mm Mk 2 guns were upgraded to the Mk 3 standard and the Harpoon missiles were improved to Block II levels, the Phalanx was upgraded to Block 1B and the obsolete Sea Sparrow system was replaced by the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile.
MV Asterix (formerly MS Asterix, MS Amorito, MS Neermoor and MS Cynthia) is a Canadian commercial container ship. It was purchased by Federal Fleet Services as part of Project Resolve, and was later converted into a supply ship for the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). She is intended to act as an interim replacement between the out of service Protecteur-class replenishment oiler and the future Protecteur-class auxiliary vessel. Originally launched in Germany in 2010 as Cynthia, the ship was converted and delivered to the RCN in December 2017 when she will be leased to the navy with a merchant navy crew, complemented by RCN personnel. Asterix will be in Canadian service well into the 2020s.