New military helicopters join HMCS Toronto as it departs on six-month tour

WATCH: CH-148 Cyclone Helicopters embark on their second operational deployment ever as part of HMCS Toronto's six-month mission. Jeremy Keefe reports

HMCS Toronto has shipped out of Halifax to begin six months at sea as part of Operation: Reassurance in the Mediterranean Sea.

The mission marks the second operational deployment of the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter which recently replaced the Sea King after several decades of service.

“It flies faster, it can fly further, it’s got better sensors,” Col. Sid Connor explained before the ship left the port. “It gives the ship’s captain the ability to see further.”

“Their sensors, whether above water or below water, sense what’s out there and give the captain the information that they need about potential adversary much sooner than otherwise they would’ve been able to.”

HMCS Toronto was accompanied by six CH 148 Cyclones.
HMCS Toronto was accompanied by six CH 148 Cyclones. Screen grab/Jeremy Keefe

READ MORE: HMCS St. John’s, Sea King return to Halifax port after overseas mission

The mission will see the Toronto integrate with NATO’s fleet, conducting exercises with Canada’s allies overseas.

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The ship’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Martin Fluet, says taking part in excursions such as this have a number of benefits, namely supporting our international partners.

“Our mere presence and showing the flag, people see that Canada is there in Europe, present with the allies,” he explained.

It’s a necessary endeavor, but one that can be difficult for those on and off the ship.

William Cox and his fiance Chanell Chorney understand both sides of the equation. Both are sailors who have left on lengthy journeys, but have also stayed home while the other is shipped out.

“It’s extremely difficult to be apart and I think about her all the time when she’s gone,” said Cox.

“I just wish her safe travels.”

HMCS Toronto was accompanied by six CH 148 Cyclones.
HMCS Toronto was accompanied by six CH 148 Cyclones. Screen grab/Jeremy Keefe

Lt.-Cmdr. Anton Korets said while he’s looking forward to the mission getting underway, leaving his wife Gwyneth and dog Hickory is bittersweet. Having been shipped out on a few occasions in the past he says it’s becoming more normal to him although this half-year trip will be twice as long as any he’s been on.

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“I wouldn’t say it gets easier but you get a little bit used to the routine,” he explained.

“There’s phones on the ship, satellite phones, we have Wi-Fi when we’re in port so we can use our devices and FaceTime that way,” he said.

Follow @Jeremy_Keefe

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