Frontline Defence News
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will participate in Exercise Tradewinds 16, a United States-led multinational and interagency maritime interdiction, disaster response, and ground security exercise taking place in the Caribbean from June 5th to 28th.
“International exercises like Tradewinds enhance, maintain and build the defence relationships Canada has with partnering nations," said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. "Participation in collective security exercises is key to keeping Canada prepared to assist our friends and neighbours.”
As part of their contribution, the CAF is deploying both maritime and land assets in a training and support role to this year’s exercise, which involves ships, aircraft and personnel from 20 nations.
Multinational exercises like Tradewinds are important for developing skills and procedures that enhance interoperability, readiness, crisis response capabilities, and communications between partner nations.
“Our soldiers and sailors are among the best in the world and can easily integrate in multinational exercises," said Lieutenant-General Steve Bowes, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command. "Just as they are professional in their instruction and skill, they are also keen to learn from and exchange knowledge with our Caribbean partners and allies.”
Led by U.S. Southern Command, Exercise Tradewinds provides an important opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to strengthen defence support between partner nations for civilian government-led disaster response efforts. Participation in the exercise also strengthens the defence capacity of regional partners to address threats to security and stability in the Caribbean.
Canadian Armed Forces personnel will both lead and participate in various land and maritime training serials throughout the duration of the exercise.
Additional personnel will also participate in an observer/trainer capacity to assist regional organizations in the evaluation of current plans, enabling the success of this year’s exercise and aiding in the development of future iterations.
The Royal Canadian Navy’s contribution to Exercise Tradewinds 16 will consist of one Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel (HMCS Shawinigan), with a crew of 40, as well as a diver training team from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) and Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific). HMCS Shawinigan will focus on areas such as firefighting, suspect vessel tracking and boarding procedures, and weapons handling. The team of divers will lead training in areas including nighttime diving operations, hull search techniques and evidence site contamination prevention.
The Canadian Army will provide a contingent of approximately 30 personnel, primarily from The 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton, Alberta. In partnership with the U.S. Armed Forces and the Jamaica Defence Force, the Canadian Army helped design and will co-lead training in conducting a firing range, urban operations, command and control mentorship in a joint operational headquarters, and Counter-Illicit Trafficking.
Tradewinds 16 will mark the first operational activation of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Operational Support Hub (OSH) Latin America and the Caribbean. The Hub serves as the in-theatre support platform for CAF personnel participating in the largest component of the exercise, in Jamaica.