April 23, 2018

Keeping up with the Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigates (Live)

"Canadian Navy HMCS St John's FFH-340 passing Greenock outbound from Glasgow for Joint Warrior"
Photo and caption by Iain Cameron - 2018-04-22
The Royal Canadian Navy deploy their fleet of Halifax-class frigates globally, but only some of their deployments are noticed and picked up on on the press. This isn't from the military's lack of trying; there are multiple cases where a story has been floated by DND's official social media accounts, but gets no press coverage. Thanks to the magic of AIS transponders, installed on the whole fleet, but only activated with the consent of the ship's command, we can skip all the middle management at DND and get the ships' coordinates directly from the the ship itself, over marine VHF (~162MHz), and the Automatic Identification System (AIS).

To many people it seems concerning that we would be able to follow a military deployment with live location data, as it beacons every few minutes. Thankfully, Canada and NATO's adversaries don't rely on AIS to target or find Canadian ships worldwide. They know NATO procedures and understand in a time of conflict or operations the AIS transponder is set to receive only, turned off for our purposes, and does not transmit, so as to not give away their location either through ELINT, or reading the AIS data for free from MarineTraffic.com. Here are the twelve Halifax-class frigates of the Royal Canadian Navy, and the locations they last beaconed from using terrestrial based AIS (AIS-T) .


ship namemmsi
HMCS HalifaxFFH330316138000
HMCS VancouverFFH331316160000
HMCS Ville de QuebecFFH332316127000
HMCS TorontoFFH333316135000
HMCS ReginaFFH334316148000
HMCS CalgaryFFH335316158000
HMCS MontrealFFH336316129000
HMCS FredrictonFFH337316143000
HMCS WinnipegFFH338316147000
HMCS CharlottetownFFH339316130000
HMCS St JohnsFFH340316196000
HMCS OttawaFFH341316195000
(click on any of the hot MMSIs above for ship & location details)

(Click the "minus" to zoom out if you don't see the whole map)



(Illustration of locations recently identified by AIS transponder; data collected and displayed by MarineTraffic.com)



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