VICTORIA -- Several hundred Canadian navy and air force personnel are taking to the waters off Vancouver Island this week for a joint training exercise with the United States.

Exercise Trident Fury 20 got underway Monday, with events scheduled off Victoria, the southern Gulf Islands and western Vancouver Island until Dec. 13.

The exercise is designed to provide tactical warfare training for offshore threats and improve co-ordination between Canadian and American marine forces.

The events include live-fire training, ship interdiction operations, surface combat and anti-submarine warfare.

Two Canadian frigates – HMCS Regina and HMCS Calgary – and two coastal defence vessels – HMCS Nanaimo and HMCS Whitehorse – are participating in the war games alongside aircraft from Comox, Victoria and Cold Lake, Alta.

American aircraft from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island are also joining the exercise, along with a U.S Coast Guard cutter.

More than 650 Canadian navy and air force members are expected to take part in the two-week exercise, along with roughly 50 military personnel from the U.S.

“The exercise helps to strengthen the communication and coordination between coalition forces, while also helping Canadian sailors maintain the skills required to work in a task group environment during international operations,” says Royal Canadian Navy spokesperson Capt. Christopher Daniel.

Trident Fury 20 will also provide pre-deployment training for sailors aboard HMCS Calgary, which is scheduled to depart for overseas counter-terrorism operations in early 2021.