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NATO allies welcomed to Halifax for multinational naval exercise

Click to play video: 'A multinational naval exercise is being led by the Royal Canadian Navy' A multinational naval exercise is being led by the Royal Canadian Navy
WATCH ABOVE: For the first time in over 20 years a primarily anti-submarine exercise will happen over several days off the east coast of Nova Scotia. The operation is called "Cutlass Fury' and involves five NATO navies including Canada – Sep 9, 2016

The East Coast’s navy base will be home to a lot of international company this week, as CFB Halifax hosts four NATO allies for a multinational naval exercise led by the Atlantic Fleet.

Maritime Forces Atlantic is the brain child of a combined, joint operation called “Cutlass Fury,” or CF 16.

“Cutlass Fury will be an opportunity for us to build trust and confidence among a multinational group of NATO partners that, in addition to Canada, include Spain, France, the United Kingdom and the United States,” said Commodore Craig Baines, commander of Canadian Fleet Atlantic.

READ MORE: Hugs, tears and lots of love: HMCS Fredericton comes home to Halifax

The primary focus of the entire operation is anti-submarine warfare. HMCS Windsor is sending a crew of approximately 48 personnel.

“It’s a challenging sort of cat and mouse game for sure, whether we’re going up against the surface ships or we’re going against the aircraft or we’re going against other submarines. There’s a definite area where we’re playing a very significant role,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Peter Chu, Commanding Officer of HMCS Windsor.

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Commodore Baines welcomed the visiting NATO allies during the official announcement of CF 16 Friday.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us. We’re bringing together 11 ships, three submarines, over 25 aircraft and 3,000 people to really take advantage of having live assets in a real environment,” he said.

The joint fleets will depart on Monday, Sept. 12 for the at-sea phase of the mission.

From there they’ll head towards the seaward approaches of St. John’s, Newfoundland, where they’ll complete CF 16 on Monday, Sept. 26.

“To come somewhere different with a different environment, different assets, it tests your teams a little bit more and it builds you towards operations,” said Cmdr. Philip Tilden, Captain of U.K. naval frigate HMS Monmouth.

READ MORE: Life at sea: an inside look into the world of a Royal Canadian Navy sailor

Training at sea will progress from basic to advanced level scenarios that simulate real combat environments.

The finale will involve a large scale, open ocean free-play phase that challenges the participants to utilize the skills they’ve learned.

The entire fleet will link up for an official CF 16 sail past of the Halifax waterfront at noon on Monday, Sept. 12.

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