MONS, Belgium – Canada’s HMCS Charlottetown, joined by its embarked CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter, departed the country on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 and is headed across the Atlantic to participate in NATO exercise Steadfast Defender 2024.
Approximately 1,000 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sailors, soldiers, aviators, and special forces members, will demonstrate NATO’s ability to conduct sustained, multi-domain defensive operations over a period of several months, simulating an Article 5 attack by an adversary with similar capabilities.
“Canada’s participation in Exercise Steadfast Defender sends a strong message about our ability to operate with NATO Allies and our continued contribution to the defence of Europe. Canada remains unwavering in its commitments to defend our shared values and interests, and to be a reliable partner in peace and security,”said The Honourable Bill Blair, Canadian Minister of National Defence.
Canada’s HMCS Charlottetown, joined by its embarked CH-148 Cyclone Helicopter, departed the country on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024 and is headed across the Atlantic to participate in NATO exercise Steadfast Defender 2024. - Photos by the Canadian Department of Defence
The exercise will run from the end of January until the end of May 2024, and is divided into two main parts. The first part will be largely maritime based and will focus on defence of the North Atlantic and Arctic waters, while the second part will test NATO’s ability to rapidly deploy reinforcements across all domains in defence of Central and Eastern Europe.
Additional CAF assets that will be participating include the Canadian-led enhanced Forward Presence Battlegroup in Latvia, including for the first time, a Canadian Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank squadron.
The exercise will also serve as an important milestone for the Canadian Army’s future Forward Land Forces Multinational Brigade Latvia, as the second part of the exercise will see the future command team integrate with their higher NATO command in the planning and execution of defensive combat operations.
NATO is a cornerstone of Canada’s Defence Policy, and Canada has been contributing to NATO’s enhanced defence and deterrence measures in Europe since the invasion of Crimea in 2014. This exercise will provide a valuable opportunity to strengthen the CAF’s ability to project, integrate, and sustain operations within the NATO command and control structure.