By Captain Chelsea Dubeau
The morning of August 31, 2020, was a hot one in the Hawaiian sun. The Combat Systems Engineering (CSE) Officer aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg stood on the flight deck, ready to give a safety brief. Another successful Exercise RIM of the PACIFIC (RIMPAC) had just wrapped, and Winnipeg’s CSE department figured significantly in the many gunnery exercises – including missile and torpedo firings – that took place.
For Lieutenant (Navy) (Lt(N)) Julien St-Aubin, the CSE evolution had been months in the making and was unlike any other he had done before. In fact, on the day in question, his team did something that hadn’t been done in many years: it lead the transfer of two empty Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) canisters and one spare Telemetric ESSM from HMCS Winnipeg, and the embarking of three Warshot ESSMs from HMCS Regina. The ammunition transfer was part of HMCS Winnipeg’s preparations in advance of its deployment on Operations PROJECTION and NEON.
Ammunition safety protocols — including regulating procurement, storage, transportation, inspection, maintenance, authorized modification, issue, use and disposal of all ammunition and explosives with the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) — are managed through the Director Ammunition and Explosives Regulation (DAER). What this means is that under normal circumstances, Winnipeg’s CSE team would have played a supporting role…