Generally i was pretty happy with fleet week, for a first event. The ship selection could have been better, and it would have been better if the week, was actually a week, and not just 4 days.
The American Ship had a not so long line, that took forever to get through, and some signage indicating it was the line for the US Ship only would have been Helpful. (also there was no shade, and the line looked to be around waste containers, and a transformer vent made part of the line quite loud.
Beyond that, Freddy was disorganized, and the Moncton’s gang plank was way to steep.
With the first ever fleet week taking place later this week, we have some updates. Yesterday saw the arrival of HMS Portland to the dockyard. USS Porter is due tomorrow.
The Halifax Fleet week tour schedule has been Released, with ships open 9-4 Friday and Saturday. Note that HMS Portland is currently scheduled to only be open Friday. Access to the dockyard is via HMCS Scotian, next to the Casino
HMCS Fredericton @ Tall Ships Quay. HMCS Moncton @ Sackville Landing HMCS Glace Bay @ Alderney Landing USS Porter @ HMC Dockyard HMS Portland @ HMC Dockyard HMCS Margaret Brooke @ HMC Dockyard.
I suspect there will be more then 2 foreign vessels participating in the Cutlass Fury exercise, as the original release indicated French and German vessels, as well as USS James E. Williams. If the Tour list is expanded, I will keep this post updated.
Sunday Noon to 1300 is the Sail Past as the ships head out for Cutlass Fury.
UPDATE: Additional Cutlass Fury arrivals Friday morning 0830-0900 at Pilot station: Destroyer USS James E Williams and Supply ship USNS William Mclean, both heading for the dockyard. An unnamed USN nuclear submarine is also due for shearwater.
the USNS William Mclean (Above) is a Lewis and Clark dry supply ship, and is named after the Navy Physicist who developed the sidewinder missile.
The exercise will conclude on the 22nd, and some ships will return to Halifax then.
USS Oscar Austin put in for a Port visit this morning tieing up at the dockyard jetty NB next to the Casino. The ship is the 29th Arligh Burke class destroyer, and the first of the Flight IIA variant. She was commissioned in August 2000.
USS Oscar Austin is homeported in Norfolk. ship was named after Pfc. Oscar P. Austin, U.S. Marine Corps, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Vietnam War.
Yesterday it was announced that the first Halifax Fleet week would be taking place Sept 7-10, coinciding with the biannual Cutlass Fury Exercise.
The week will feature a number of ships open to the public on Friday and Saturday Including an AOPS, HMCS Margaret Brooke as well as Naval vessels from the US (USS Porter and USS James E. Williams both Arleigh Burke Class Destroyers), UK, France and Germany.
The event will end on Sunday at noon with a Parade out to sea to mark the start of the Exercise.
More Details can be found at hfxfleetweek.ca
** why does the fleet week logo use a Battle Ship? UPDATE: I spotted this Amazing Fleet week patch on IG. so much better.
The latest Freedom class LCS, USS Cooperstown (LCS 23) stopped in Halifax yesterday for about 8 hours. the ship arrived in the morning and sailed from the dockyard at 4:30.
The freedom class LCS program has been beset by a number of issues, including problems with the combining gear that connect the diesel engines and the turbines to the shafts, given the location of that combining gear, the navy has mothballed many of the early ships of the class, as the repair is too costly.
The USS Gerald R. Ford offered a media availability yesterday, which i had the privilege to attend. All manner of tour boats, and a Halifax transit ferry were pressed into service to move people form the carrier to shore and back, including tour vessels from Oak Island and Lunenburg – sort of a mini Dunkirk.
The carrier is designed for stern boarding, and a barge was used as a floating dock. from there, its up two flights to the hanger deck.
Those doors lead to the hanger deck.
The flight deck is several flights of stairs up from the hanger deck.
(below) the view form vultures alley, the lowest balcony on the tower.
Most of the Air wing looked to be on deck, and was made up up of F-18 hornets. This one had a kill; a SU-22 in 2017.
(above) E-2 Hawkeye (below) SH-60 seahawk (which is the naval variant of a blackhawk)
As Part of the Media availability, various officials spoke of the the importance of the deployment, both to test the Ford, but also to hone interoperability between navies, and show that nato can work together as a unified force.
The Ford has on board a liaison officer from each of the participating navies. (Denmark, Netherlands, Germany and Spain. These officers also spoke to the importance of the work
HMS Prince of Wales, the UK’s second aircraft carrier sailed for a North American Deployment a couple of days ago. On the way out of Portsmouth, it appears the ship may have struck bottom, and suffered an issue with her Starboard shaft or propeller. She is now at anchor, undergoing inspections.
HMS Prince of Wales was reportedly due to visit Halifax this fall, and under go some exercises with a US Carrier Group.
This brings us to the C-2 greyhound, the US Navy’s carrier capable cargo plane, a variant of the E-2 Hawkeye, the plane features a bigger body, but same engines, tail and wings. This particular plane arrived at YHZ yesterday from Norfolk, and returned this afternoon. Flying as Rawhd75, the plane belongs to VRC-40 rawhides squadron.
USS Minneapolis-Saint Paul, LCS-21 arrived Sunday for a port visit. The ship is Due to sail tomorrow morning. Like most LCS built at Fincantieri’s Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, the ship stopped in Halifax on her way to her home port.
USS St Louis Bypassed Halifax during Covid in 2020. Early ships faced issues with the Combining Gear – the Gear box that transfers power to the shafts form either the diesel engines or the turbines. Because of these issues, Completed ships were not accepted by the navy untill alterations could be made, which led to 3 visits in November 2019.
Due to the location of the combining gear, it was determined to not be cost effective to repair early ships. USS Freedom was Decommissioned in Sept 2021, and Fort Worth, Detroit and Little Rock are set to be decommissioned this year. 5 Additional ships are currently under construction.