Hundreds of kilometres off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canadian military personnel are putting their warzone skills to the test.
It’s all part of Cutlass Fury 2021, which sees NATO-allied countries work in a simulated environment to train task groups on how to handle complex situations at sea.
“It’s a series of exercises we do every year,” said Commodore Christopher Robinson. “It’s about training task groups, collections of ships and aircrafts, to work together and it has a primary focus of anti-submarine warfare.”
As part of the exercise, submarines and surface ships face realistic tactical scenarios to test their respective defences against both surface and sub-surface threats. It requires the crew to work together to overcome potentially real-life risks.
“What you saw was a missle coming inbound, the ship detecting it at a very short range, closing up, bracing for the actual impact, and then dealing with the aftermath,” said Commodore Robinson, speaking to one of the scenarios.
“The ship is at action stations, which means everyone is in their assigned position. We have the A-Team wearing all their anti-flash gear so they’re prepared for any flash fires.”
The naval exercise takes years to plan and involves thousands of navy personnel. Commodore Robinson says the real value of the exercises are the building blocks that are put together.
“It’s not so much the technical details of the fight as much as being faced with a set of circumstances, working together, and collaborating across ships and aircraft to come up with a solution,” he said.
Sights and sounds of Cutlass Fury aboard HMCS Toronto
Global News was invited on board HMCS Toronto on Monday to receive a first-hand glimpse of the training exercises that took place. Speaking with sailors on deck, they’re calling it an unparalleled opportunity to hone their skills.
“It’s always very important for us to practice our proficiencies with our allied nations and make sure we’re always ready to go and we can perform tasks as a group,” said Dane Oaks, a fire control technician aboard HMCS Toronto.
It is a little tiresome at times, but the more we do it them more muscle memory we have with that,” said Christopher Foulton, a senior communications technician.
With newly-minted technology, Commodore Robinson feels they’re more than ready to take on any situation they’re faced with.
“I think we’re a fairly collaborative group and we work together to make things better.”
Cutlass Fury is currently in its second week of operation. So far, the exercises have been fairly serialized, but injects will soon be coming from the controlling staff ashore, which will evolve into a free-play scenario where no one aboard knows what will happen.
Not even Commodore Robinson.
“We’ll see how that goes,” he said, with a laugh.
Cutlass Fury 2021 is scheduled to conclude on Friday.
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