By Captain Christopher Daniel and Sub-Lieutenant Derek Frank
Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) St. John’s participated in a series of passing exercises (PASSEX) with NATO Allies in the Baltic Sea from March 14 to 22, 2018.
Participating ships from other nations in the Alliance included HDMS Niels Juel from Denmark; FGS Erfurt from Germany; P15 Selis from Lithuania; LNS Skrunda and LNS Versaitis from Latvia; and ORP Generał Kazimierz Pułaski, ORP Generał Tadeusz Kościuszko, ORP Kaszub and ORP Bałtyk from Poland.
PASSEX is an exercise conducted by two or more navies to ensure that they are able to communicate and cooperate while operating at sea. The drills can be as basic as communication via flashing light, radio procedure drills, or tactical and formation maneuvering. It also includes more advanced electronic and digital cooperation including using electronic communications and target acquisition.
“You have to be adaptable,” said Leading Seaman Nicole Fabella, a naval communicator aboard St. John’s. “Although we use the same codebook, the way in which countries train their communicators can be different, especially when operating with navies that speak languages other than English. It is more about different styles than anything else.”
The PASSEX further enhanced the robust relationships between the participating navies. The series provided an opportunity for NATO allies to continue building their strengths in working together in the areas of…