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HMCS Ottawa and Vancouver Deploy to Indo-Pacific Region

Operation NEON

Image: HMCS Vancouver at the Port of Busan during Operation NEON Credit: Master-Corporal Matthieu Racette, Combat Camera

His Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Ottawa and Vancouver, alongside Naval Replenishment Unit Motor Vessel (MV) Asterix – also known as Combat Support Ship (CSS) Astertix – departed from Esquimalt for the Indo-Pacific Region. HMCS Ottawa and Vancouver are the second and third Royal Canadian Navy warships to deploy to the Indo-Pacific Region in 2023. This delivers on Canada’s commitment to increase the number of warships annually deployed to the Indo-Pacific Region from two to three, starting this year.

Halifax-class frigates have a crew of approximately 240 personnel each, comprised of Royal Canadian Navy sailors, and a Royal Canadian Air Force detachment to support the ship’s embarked CH-148 helicopter. MV Asterix is crewed by approximately 150 civilian and military personnel and possesses aerial, naval, medical, and replenishment capabilities that enable a wide range of at-sea support for both military operations and support to allied and partner activities.

Canada is committed to reinforcing its military presence in the region – and this deployment will increase, diversify, and sustain Canada’s military footprint in support of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. In particular, by augmenting the number of warships deployed to the region on an annual basis from two to three, Canada is enhancing its ability to conduct operations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

During their near five-months at sea, the ships will conduct a series of bilateral and multinational exercises and engagements with regional militaries and security partners. HMCS Ottawa will focus on Southeast Asia, while HMCS Vancouver will focus on Northeast Asia. During its deployment, HMCS Vancouver will also contribute to the monitoring of the United Nations sanctions against North Korea, through Op NEON.

“The Indo-Pacific Region is vital to global security, and its importance will only increase in the coming years. Through our Indo-Pacific Strategy, Canada is significantly increasing its military presence in the region to support a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific where international rules prevail. I thank our Canadian Armed Forces personnel for their dedication and service, and I wish them success on this mission.” The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence

“Greater security in the Indo-Pacific can only be forged by years of consistent collaboration with military and defence partners to build interoperability and trust between like-minded nations. Canada’s expanded defence presence in the region demonstrates that we can be counted on to be an engaged and reliable partner in the Indo-Pacific now, and in the years to come.” General Wayne Eyre, Chief of the Defence Staff



• In 2022, Canada launched its Indo-Pacific Strategy, which significantly increases Canada’s military presence in the region.

• At the 2023 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, Defence Minister Anita Anand announced that Operation PROJECTION (Indo-Pacific) will be renamed Operation HORIZON, to reflect Canada’s significantly-enhanced military presence in the region, under Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy.

• 2023 marks the first year that Canada is deploying three warships to the Indo-Pacific Region, delivering on the commitment that Canada made when it launched its Indo-Pacific Strategy in fall 2022.

• In March of 2023, HMCS Montréal was the first warship to deploy from the East Coast to the Indo-Pacific, with a particular focus on boosting Canada’s presence in the Indian Ocean. It is set to return to Halifax next month.

• Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy addresses five interconnected priorities, with the DND/CAF focused on promoting peace, resilience and security. This includes increased CAF/DND participation in bilateral and multinational regional exercises, new capacity building programs, the creation new civilian defence positions across the Indo-Pacific, as well as the launch of new cyber initiatives.

• Op NEON is the CAF contribution to multinational efforts to support the monitoring of United Nations Security Council sanctions imposed against North Korea.


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