Canada Expands Indo-Pacific Deployment with Two Additional Frigates

HMCS Ottawa
HMCS Ottawa was part of the new deployment departing forthe Indo-China region (RCN)

Published Aug 17, 2023 8:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Canada has deployed two additional warships in the Indo-Pacific in line with its pledge to step up military cooperation in the region. On Monday, the Royal Canadian Navy frigates HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Vancouver, alongside Naval Replenishment Unit MV Asterix, departed from Esquimalt for the Indo-Pacific region. This brings the total number of Canadian warships in the Indo-Pacific to three after HMCS Montreal was deployed earlier in March, becoming the country’s first warship in the region.

HMCS Montreal is almost completing its tour of duty in the Indo-Pacific and is expected to return to Halifax next month. The frigate has been operating along the East Coast of the Indo-Pacific region, with a focus on boosting Canada’s presence in the Indian Ocean. The Montreal was conducting training with the U.S. Navy this year when the Chinese vessel approached the American destroyer Chung-Hoon and provided the first video of the incident.

HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Vancouver have a crew of approximately 240 personnel each, comprised of Royal Canadian Navy sailors and an Air Force detachment to support the ship’s embarked CH-148 helicopter. Both vessels will be on deployment for nearly five months, with HMCS Ottawa focusing on Southeast Asia while HMCS Vancouver focusing on Northeast Asia. During the deployment, HMCS Vancouver will also contribute to the monitoring of the United Nations sanctions against North Korea, through Op NEON.

“Greater security in the Indo-Pacific can only be forged by years of consistent collaboration with military and defense partners to build interoperability and trust between like-minded nations. Canada is significantly increasing its military presence in the region to support a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific where international rules prevail,” commented Bill Blair, Canada’s Minister of National Defense.

Through its 2022 Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada committed to fostering the region’s peace and prosperity through an expanded military presence. This saw Canada announce an investment of nearly $1.7 billion over the next five years to forge closer ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific rim. Part of the funding includes $365 million to increase the number of Canadian Royal Navy frigates operating in the Indo-Pacific.