September 14, 2016 - HMS Monmouth faced two weeks of submarine hunting in some of the most challenging waters on the Seven Seas.
The Devonport-based frigate is Britain’s input to the largest exercise the Royal Canadian Navy in more than two decades around Halifax and Nova Scotia, waters often plagued by mist and fog.
Some 3,000 sailors from the host nation, plus France, Spain, the USA and the UK, 11 warships, three submarines and more than two-dozen aircraft are committed to Exercise Cutlass Fury (where there are no cutlasses and shouldn’t be any fury).
Its focus is on submarine hunting – among Monmouth’s foes is HMCS Windsor, the former HMS Unicorn, one of the last traditional diesel boats built for the Royal Navy. For good measure there are boarding operations and air attacks to contend with.
Cutlass Fury began at a relatively gentle pace in Halifax – the Royal Canadian Navy’s Atlantic home – with conferences, talks, presentations, an industry day where Monmouth showcased much of the kit installed during her refit last year, such as the Artisan radar and automatic 30mm gun (both of which will be fitted to the successor class of Type 26 frigates).
The ship’s company managed to sample some of the delights of Halifax, tried their hand at sea kayaking and watched the local ice hockey team, the Halifax Mooseheads, in action.
And under glorious clear skies, and with the waterfront crammed with Haligonians, all 11 surface ships taking part in the exercise sailed into the Atlantic in procession.
Dressed in their tropical white uniforms, Monmouth’s sailors lined the frigate’s upper deck to salute and cheer the Governor General of Nova Scotia aboard veteran supply ship HMCS Preserver, which acts as a floating ‘petrol station’ for warships in Halifax Harbour.
“The visit to Halifax served a number of useful purposes, not least aiding co-operation with our international partners whilst demonstrating the ship’s top war-fighting pedigree across a wide spectrum of capabilities,” said Commander Phil Tilden, Monmouth’s Commanding Officer.
“My team and I look forward to meeting the challenges of Cutlass Fury and harnessing every opportunity to build on our ability to work with our NATO partners – which will be crucial to our success when we embark on a nine-month deployment next year.”