Just before pulling into Halifax for the Fleet Review, several international navies trained during a massive NATO exercise off the coast.

More than 70 ships, submarines and aircrafts from across the globe participated in Halcyon RV, a simulated mission to train and prepare crews, said Commodore Mark Norman, who conducted the exercise from ashore.

Over 10 days, missions were executed in piracy and terrorism, humanitarian relief, and search and rescue off the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. He said the British navy even ran a number of live bombings.

“We’re quite pleased that the exercise has come off very well from our perspective and has achieved all the objectives of all the nations represented here,” he told media aboard the Danish ship HDMS Absalon on Thursday.

The exercise wrapped up on Wednesday.

This was the largest joint exercise hosted by Canada since 1998, he said.

The mission was based in a fictitious region and sailors dealt with a significant conflict between nations creating a humanitarian crisis, said Norman.

“We enjoy a richness and a diversity of participants, which adds to the quality of the exercise,” he said. “That’s what makes this type of thing such a powerful opportunity to train our sailors, our soldiers, our airmen, our marines.”

Norman said though it was always inherently possible, no one was injured during the exercise.
“Safety is the number 1 priority,” he said.

“Everything is scripted ... Those events which are unscripted, which tend to produce the best training value, are planned in such a way that every possible safety precaution has been taken to reduce the risk of injury.”

Planning for Halcyon RV began more than one year ago, and has a total price tag of around $2 million.