Approximately 90 personnel from the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army have been deployed to the Caribbean to participate in Exercise TRADEWINDS 17.
Taking place from June 6 to June 17, Exercise TRADEWINDS 17 is a 19-nation exercise aimed at practicing regional responses to natural disasters, terrorism and transnational organized crime.
“The Canadian Armed Forces play an important role in the Government of Canada’s efforts in the Caribbean region through efforts like Exercise TRADEWINDS and Operation CARIBBE. Participation in Exercise TRADEWINDS allows our personnel to make a meaningful contribution in capacity-building with regional partners and gives the Canadian Armed Forces the opportunity to work with important allies in response to a variety of challenges,” said Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
TRADEWINDS 17 is a US-led exercise that will take place on the island nations of Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
Other nations taking part in the exercise include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, France, Mexico, and the United Kingdom.
The exercise gives CAF members a chance to strengthen defence relationships between partner nations for civilian government-led disaster response efforts and strengthen regional defence capacities to address threats to the region.
“Exercise TRADEWINDS is a great opportunity for the CAF to share our expertise and assist our Caribbean partners in building their capacity. Whether through exercises like TRADEWINDS or on counter-drug operations, we remain committed to promoting security cooperation in the region,” said LGen. Steve Bowes, Commander, Canadian Joint Operations Command.
Besides personnel, the Royal Canadian Navy will contribute one Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel (Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Kingston) and a diver training team from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic). Additional support includes a Maritime Tactical Operations Group training team.
HMCS Kingston will support various naval tasks including employing the Hammerhead Unmanned Surface Vehicle target as part of the exercise.
The Fleet Dive Unit (Atlantic) will lead training to divers from ten partner nations in areas including search patterns, hull and jetty search techniques, evidence recovery, and nighttime diving operations. They will also partner with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to teach underwater recover techniques.
The Canadian Army is providing two six-person contingents from the 2nd and 5th Canadian Army Divisions. These soldiers will serve as advisors and mentors to staff from partner nations during the exercise and will provide essential training in operation planning prior to the start of TRADEWINDS 17.
The Canadian Disaster Assessment Team (CDAT) will also deploy in response to a simulated humanitarian crisis during the exercise.
Also during this deployment, Canada will partner with Trinidad and Tobago to practice a scenario under the Proliferation Security Initiative. The scenario will simulate the interception of a merchant ship suspected of carrying illegal WMD-related materials.