Electronic transfers

Wings of the Fleet: Maritime Helicopter in Operation with HMCS Winnipeg: Pacific Navy News

Members of the Helicopter Air Detachment deployed the blades of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) WINNIPEG CH-148 Cyclone helicopter on November 13 in the East China Sea during Operation NEON. Photo by MCpl Andre Maillet, Maritime Forces Pacific Imaging Services

Capt John Jacob
HMCS Winnipeg

An Airborne Helicopter Detachment (HELAIRDET) is a force multiplier for any Royal Canadian Navy vessel that goes to sea.

The CH-148 Cyclone features a range of modern suites of surface and submarine sensors and an integrated mission data management system that enables this maritime helicopter to excel in the modern battlespace. . Much like the multipurpose maritime patrol aircraft, the CP-140 Aurora, it has the ability to conduct anti-surface, anti-submarine and search and rescue missions with trained crews who can switch between these roles. seamlessly in-plane travel.

HMCS Winnipeg benefited from the flexibility and capacity of their on-board Cyclone, call sign Guardian, during their deployment in the South Pacific on Operation Projection and Neon.

During Operation Neon, partner countries in conjunction with the Japan Law Enforcement Coordination Center conducted operations to detect and deter illegal ship-to-ship transfers in the South and East China Seas. This is in support of UN Security Council Resolutions 2375 and 2397, observing the sanctions against North Korea.

Operating in waters densely populated with maritime traffic, it is a concerted effort by all the crews on board to deal with the hundreds of ships in the region, eliminating a few that require further investigation.

The use of the 360 ​​degree reverse synthetic aperture radar allows the crew to regularly identify fishing vessels from cargo ships up to nearly 80 nautical miles. The electro-optical and infrared turret then highlights the visual references that limit identification to bulk cargoes, containers or tankers. For the remaining vessels, closing to within a few miles allows their name, port of registry and IMO number to be clearly seen, allowing the crew to compare them to a list of established vessels of interest.

After finding a vessel of interest, especially a vessel making a ship-to-ship transfer, the crew performs a photographic circuit a few hundred meters from the target, acquires information from radio communications, and takes careful note of the findings. characteristics and characteristics of the vessel – forwarding all of this to the Law Enforcement Coordination Center upon its return to Winnipeg.

Following this process, Guardian was able to locate vessels of interest more than 80 miles from Winnipeg, expanding the effectiveness of the collective mission and contributions to this United Nations effort.

Guardian, Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) WINNIPEG, the ship's CH148 Cyclone helicopter, takes off over the Pacific Ocean on September 15 in support of Operation NEON.  Photo by MCpl Andre Maillet, Maritime Forces Pacific Imaging Services

Guardian, Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) WINNIPEG, the ship’s CH148 Cyclone helicopter, takes off over the Pacific Ocean on September 15 in support of Operation NEON. Photo by MCpl Andre Maillet, Maritime Forces Pacific Imaging Services

Guardian also joined a multinational flight program involving dozens of aircraft once Winnipeg joined the UK Carrier Strike Group. Contribution of nearly 50 hours of flight time to the working group, Guardian used the skills learned during Op Neon to provide surface research and compilation results well beyond the fleet horizon. This provided an early warning to consorts of important ships in the region – both civilians and warships.

The electronic warfare capability aboard the Cyclone is a major plus as it allows the helicopter crew to passively detect unique electromagnetic emissions nearly 100 miles away. With this information, the crew can quickly process and identify distant targets.

They are trained to handle in-flight mission re-tasks, and on several occasions have been transferred to the anti-submarine warfare role, providing scouting capability to the fleet for submarine contacts outside of their reach. detection.

The Cyclone regularly carries a standard load of passive and active sonobuoys with the capacity to process up to 16 at a time. It also has a powerful low-frequency active captive sonar deployable in hover. This allows the crew to seamlessly transition from an SSC mission to an anti-submarine warfare mission when needed.

A maritime helicopter rarely functions as an individual entity and, when on board, acts as an extension of the vessel’s force projection. Guardian is greatly facilitated throughout this deployment by highly skilled sensor operators and war officers on board Winnipeg. Provide the ability to relay real-time intelligence updates, process raw electronic warfare data and reassure operations on the horizon through its strong operational presence, Winnipeg strengthens regularly of the keeper tactical effects in flight.