Vanguard Magazine

Oct/Nov 2014

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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for Arctic ops John Newton A ARCTIC pAtrol 26 octoBer/noVeMBer 2014 by Chris Thatcher for Arctic ops A NEW ERA T he discovery in September of HMS Erebus in the frigid waters of the Queen Maud Gulf was a public relations bonanza for the government of Canada. But it was also a small triumph for the Royal Canadian Navy and a reminder of the sort of capa- bility required for its new fl eet of Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS). Erebus, one of the lost ships of the Franklin Expedition, was detected in her shallow grave by a search party involving four ships, including the Canadian Coast Guard's Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the navy's HMCS Kingston. Rear-Admiral John Newton, command- er of Maritime Forces Atlantic and Joint Task Force Atlantic, was aboard Kingston for periods of her search. As the point person for generating the RCN's warfare and competencies readiness, his command has a role in defi ning the technology and capabilities of every new class of ship and understanding and refi ning the skills, training and education required to deliver that ship for operations. "Science" might not be the fi rst word that comes to mind when con- sidering the needs of a warship like the recently named Harry deWolf-class of patrol ships, but its scientifi c role is a key consideration for Newton. "This year's voyage of Kingston into the deeper archipelago ostensibly looking for the Franklin's lost ships was actually about the cooperation of a series of fed- eral departments that typically don't work together," he explained on a foggy morn- ing in Halifax just days after the Franklin discovery was made. "The Canadian Hydrographic Service was looking for ships of opportunity to generate survey-quality data for mapping and charting purposes for the corridors through which the Coast Guard wants to fl ow all shipping in the North. So although we were building new relationships as a result of the expedition, what we were re- ally generating was mapping and charting. In fact, when Kingston couldn't get to the search area because of bad ice, she was al- ready fi tted with her Hydrographic Service survey equipment and just continued map- ping the sea channels." Consequently, a "science package" and the ability to support other agencies has been factored into the design. That in- cludes capacity for launching and recover- ing unmanned systems, carrying contain- erized labs, and dedicating connectivity and bandwidth for teams from other de- partments such as Fisheries, Border Ser- vices, Transport, the RCMP or Health to plug into their own networks. "We are moving from an era of hav- ing a dedicated research ship for the navy – Quest – to a model like the AOPS which has the modular capacity, the cranes with the lifting capacity and the boom reach to do more than just launch a boat. The ISO footprint for containerized packages are being designed into the ship so that we can get a multi-purpose science capability onto the ship," Newton said. Each iteration of Operation Nanook, an annual Canadian Armed Forces and whole-of-government exercise, reinforces the challenges of operating from Arctic waters. Whether it is complex systems such as SATCOM or straightforward equipment like ATVs and landing craft,

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