The Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate, HMCS Charlottetown participated in Exercise Brilliant Mariner 17 in the Mediterranean Sea from September 29 to October 13, 2017.
Charlottetown, currently deployed on Operation Reassurance, was joined by ships from other NATO nations to conduct the exercise.
Exercise Brilliant Mariner is a maritime NATO Response Force (NRF) interoperability exercise conducted just south of France. The exercise focused on training Allied and partner forces to respond together to a maritime crisis situation.
The exercise began with two days of planning in Toulon, France. After that, the ships went to sea for Combat Effectiveness Training and Fleet integration Training (CET/FIT). This included boarding party team training, gunnery exercises, air defense exercises, and anti-submarine warfare exercises.
The final phase of the exercise was dominated by a large-scale, multi-war scenario. Additional elements of the scenario were coordinated by staff from the French Maritime Forces, who were coordinating the exercise.
Although the scenario itself was fictitious, it simulated realistic scenarios and incorporated asymmetric threats and elements of information and cyber warfare. This exercise also served as certification training for the French Maritime Forces to verify their capacity to command NRF missions in the future.
Ships from thirteen different countries participated in the Exercise Brilliant Mariner 17. It also included fast-inshore-attack craft training assets, air-target towing craft, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, and simulated press and journalism teams. All of this combined to provide realistic training for everyone involved.
The final scenario simulated defensive and offensive actions. Training included the proper execution of warning procedures to de-escalate hostilities and determine the intentions of opposition forces, routine maintenance of the recognized maritime picture and merchant pattern-of-life, and processing intelligence reports from multiple units.
As a member of the SNMG1 task force during the exercise, HMCS Charlottetown served as the local anti-submarine warfare commander. The ship conducted regular patrols in order to detect, track, and deter surface and sub-surface contacts from the simulated opposition force.
HMCS Charlottetown effectively shadowed opposition force vessels in order to deter simulated territorial water violations. This preserved civilian vessels’ right to freedom of navigation in international waters in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea. This role mirrors the role HMCS Charlottetown would fulfill as a member of a real-world NRF if it were ever called upon to respond to a crisis situation while deployed.
HMCS Charlottetown joined SNMG1 in August 2017. Since then, it has participated in training and exercises in the Baltic Sea and Northern Atlantic Ocean.
SNMG1 also includes the following vessels: HNoMS Otto Sverdrup (F312) of the Royal Norwegian Navy, FGS Rhön (A1443) of the German Navy, NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334) of Portuguese Navy, HDMS Niels Juel (F363) and HDMS Esbern Snare (L17) of the Danish Royal Navy, SPS Numancia (F83) of Spanish Navy and HNLMS Evertsen (F805) of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
Royal Canadian Navy