CFB Esquimalt warships to play hide and seek with U.S. submarines

Three CFB Esquimalt warships will soon play a serious game of hide and seek with U.S. submarines off the Hawaiian coast.

HMCS Vancouver, Winnipeg and the supply ship Protecteur leave Thursday to take part in a two-week exercise during which Canadian sailors, as part of a coalition effort, will simultaneously hunt for and evade submarines and protect shipping.

The frigates and supply vessel will each carry a Sea King helicopter from 443 squadron at Patricia Bay, and an Aurora long-range maritime patrol plane from CFB Comox.

The exercise will allow the Canadian Navy to determine how effective its ships and crew work together detecting, classifying, tracking and engaging or evading submarines. During the upcoming scenarios, the ships will fire exercise torpedoes.

At the same time, prospective U.S. Navy submarine commanders and executive officers will undergo extensive training from Feb. 14 to 24.

An estimated 40 countries have 400 submarines in their arsenals, and, as such, the upcoming exercise is essential for Canada’s sovereignty.

“Training in anti-submarine warfare is essential if we are to retain the ability to control our own waters and operate elsewhere in the world safely and effectively in support of Canadian Forces operations and objectives,” Commodore Peter Ellis, commander of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, said in a release.

emccracken@vicnews.com