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NAVY NEWS, NOVEMBER 2008 7
Djibouti calls
for ’land
THE most notorious waters
on the planet are currently
the domain of HMS
Northumberland, patrolling
‘Pirate alley’ and the sea off the
eastern seaboard of Africa.
The Type 23 is on the first leg
of an extremely varied winter
deployment (she’ll visit the
Falklands and the Pacific before
● In the line of fi re... HMS Ark Royal as seen through a composite periscope photograph captured by HMS Talent’s award-winning team
eventually returning to Blighty in
2009).
And that deployment has
opened in the Red Sea-Horn
of Africa region, with the eyes
of shipping companies firmly
fixed on the ongoing problem
Talent reaps rewards
of Somali pirates – as you might
have read in the national media.
Before beginning her security
patrol in earnest, the Devonport-
NO vessel in the Senior
She wasn’t done there,re, The end result is T line operation capability.”
based frigate headed to Djibouti
Service pushed the limits
however. After Perisher her thathat the manual for the That earned the submarine
for supplies; the port is one of in the past 12 months
came a deployment east east sonar’sona s use will be far more the MBDA Trophy for Warfare
the key inlets – and outlets – for
of Suez – the fi rst time me comprehensivc e and Development – sponsored by the
more than HMS Talent.
trade in eastern Africa, especially
a submarine fi tted accurate. defence fi rm of the same name.
And so it was that men of
the landlocked nations.
with Sonar 2076 had And the net result Rear Admiral Cooke presented
Talent earned the coveted
It is also “an interesting
headed that way. from all of Talent’s the trophy with Capt Rupert Best,
award for broadening the RN’s
place to do business,”
The sonar is fi tted activities, said the director of the Maritime Warfare
understanding of modern warfare
Northumberland’s CO Cdr
to some T-boats RN’s Commander Centre, and representatives of
– and the technology behind it.
Martin Simpson explained.
Operations Rear MBDA to Talent’s CO Cdr David
Her impressive year began with
and all the Astute
“The logistics officer soon
a Submarine Command Course
class and allows Admiral David Lightfoot aboard the boat in
became familiar with the phrase
(better known as Perisher), testing
submariners to track Cooke, was that the Devonport.
TIA – This Is Africa – to explain
Plume with
not merely the mettle of budding
potential targets at even n boabo t had “set a standard “The crew embraced the
the ever-changing timescales and
nuclear boat commanders, but
greater ranges. in tactical support which is changes and, as a result, have
disappearing (and reappearing)
also testing digital cameras for her
The sonar operators on beyond that experienced from a made a real difference in the way
facilities and stores.”
periscope.
Talent provided hour after hour submarine-sized unit in any one we and the Royal Navy operate,” a view
Upon leaving Djibouti, the
Team Talent found some fl aws
of recordings from 2076 to allow calendar year. Cdr Lightfoot added.
warship topped up with fuel from
with the new camera system,
scientists and experts back home He continued: “Many “To stay at the forefront A GIANT plume of water
a US tanker then knuckled down
offered advice and feedback to
to better understand the relatively- programmes have been as varied of maritime warfare we must (pictured above, just in case
to her mission alongside other
the experts and, as a result, led
new system, while their shipmates and busy as Talent’s, but few have develop, trial and exploit the you were wondering) signalled
Allied warships: deterring and
to better periscope photography provided every possible tactical produced the tangible contributions
latest technology. The importance the end of one of the Germans’
disrupting all illegal activity on
throughout the entire Silent opportunity to test the sonar to its to tactical development that have of conducting trials cannot be
biggest wartime weapons
the high seas – drug smuggling
Service. limits. had such a direct impact on front- understated.”
unearthed after more than six
and people trafficking are every decades.
bit as important as piracy, if not
as widely covered by the media.
“There has been much –
generally inaccurate – speculation
...as does Brocklesby/Chiddingfold
A fi shing boat snared the
1,800lb ‘GC’ mine off the coast
of Sheerness while trawling –
and immediately called for the
about us in the UK press, we assistance of the Royal Navy.
continue our patrol in the hope of
TIS’ the season to win
Having trialed the underwater the fi rm behind Seafox – a 360 contacts thanks to their Sonar
Enter a four-man team from
providing much-needed stability,”
awards. For it is not only
device during a Neptune Warrior presentation which coincided with 2193, sent Seafox out on ten
Southern Diving Unit 2 on
said Cdr Simpson.
HMS Talent which is at the
war game in Scottish waters, an even more prestigious award. runs and the dive team out on 30
Horsea Island near Portsmouth.
“If current levels of piracy
cutting edge of warfare
and extensive tests in less-than- The James Acton Mine Warfare occasions.
They inspected the aging
continue, then ultimate prices in
beneath the sea – so too is
charitable autumnal weather Effi ciency Trophy – named
The task reached its climax
explosive before carrying it
the UK – and around the world – at the Butec ranges off the he in honour of a lieutenant in
HMS Brocklesby.
in the particularly challenging
safely to an area off the North
will rise to pay for it, and that can Isle of Skye, Chiddingfold old commander killed by com
waters of the Khawr abd Allah –
Kent coast.
be ill afforded at this time.”
The minehunter snapped
then took Seafox down wn an earan thquake in Turkey
the waterway which leads to Iraq’s
There it was lowered 30ft
Also ill-afforded was the up two mine warfare trophies to Gib to conduct the he in 1999 – perin petuates
principal port, Umm Qasr.
to the seabed, a mile-radius
ship’s water plants packing up thanks to the efforts of her ship’s weapon’s very fi rst live the offit cer’s name and
company… while they were in
The sailors carried out three
exclusion zone was declared
in the Red Sea (until the marine fi ring on a practice his dedication to the
their sister vessel.
comprehensive searches of the
and the team blew the device
engineering department fixed mine. branch of the Service
Until a few weeks ago,
allotted waters, and the divers
up – sending an enormous shaft
them). That honour he loved.
Team Brocklesby were Team
worked in diffi cult waters to
of water rising into the autumnal
“The ship’s company were fell to PO(MW) It was a benchmark
reduced to the ‘submariner Chiddingfold – enjoying the
confi rm by touch that fi ve
sky.
Anthony ‘Pinta’ which Chiddingfold “These mines were the
shower’ rule: ten seconds of delights of the Gulf. Beer, the driver (aka lived up to when she
suspicious contacts on sonar were
biggest the Germans made –
water, then off tap, soap up, 30 And it is for their efforts aboard underwater pilot) of reached the Gulf in
not historic ordnance.
they were designed to destroy
seconds of water to soap off, end the ‘Cheery Chid’ that the sailors – Seafox. “I was very company with HMS
As part of the rotation of Hunt
ships the size of aircraft carriers
of shower,” Cdr Simpson said. offi cially MCM2 Crew 2 – earned proud to be involved d AtherA stone last spring.
crews, Chiddingfold’s sailors
and caused severe damage
“Feel free to try this at home plaudits. with the fi rst live fi ring after The crux of their mission
handed over their ship during the
to British ships during the
and watch your water bills Chiddingfold was the fi rst all the hard work and the long was to eliminate long-standing
summer to another MCM2 team
war,” explained CPO(D) Sid
plummet!” Hunt-class ship to receive Seafox, hours the ship’s company spent ‘mine danger areas’ at the tip of
and returned to Portsmouth to
Lawrence.
And finally... Apologies to the successor to the ‘yellow bringing Seafox into service,” said the Gulf, thus freeing up nautical
take charge of HMS Brocklesby –
“They were very well-made
Northumberland, but your name submarines’ used by Britain’s the senior rate. trade.
which they’re still aboard.
devices – you don’t see many of
won’t squeeze into a headline mine countermeasures forces to And it was Pinta who received a During that mission, the ship’s
And it was in Portsmouth that
them left because most of them
unless the font is really, really small. deal with underwater devices. presentation by Ultra Electronics, company identifi ed more than
Rear Admiral Surface Ships, Rear
went off. This one probably
Admiral Philip Wilcocks, presented
survived so long because it
the trophy to Commanding Offi cer
remained in shallow waters all
Lt Cdr Tom Tredray.
these years.”
A time to be Vigilant
“It is recognition of the hard Apart from the fi shing vessel
work and professionalism that has which originally trawled the
been shown by all on board during device, the mine was exploded
a very successful year,” said a without any disruption to
proud Lt Cdr Tredray. shipping in the Thames Estuary.
THE Vigilant era has begun in Devonport with the arrival of the bomber for a three-year
overhaul.
The nuclear missile submarine has been in service for a dozen years and needs a
major revamp as well as a reactor refuel to keep her on active duties beyond 2020.
The team at Babcock in Devonport have only recently fi nished doing exactly the
same job on her older sister Victorious (she departed in July after £270m of work).
When the work reaches its peak, it will keep around 1,500 people employed.
The yard is half-way through work on the bomber fl eet – the youngest of the V
boats, HMS Vengeance, will follow Vigilant into the specially-constructed facility in
Devonport to complete a project which has cost well over £1bn.
Putting in a new reactor core is the hub of this three-year revamp, but engineers
and shipwrights will carry out a further 80 signifi cant alterations and improvements
throughout the 16,000-ton leviathan.
When designed in the 80s and 90s, the technology of the day did not produce fuel
which would power the submarine for the length of her career – hence the need for
a refuel. The new breed of boats, led by HMS Astute, will not need to be refueled.
● A wave from submariners on the fi n of HMS Vigilant as she arrives
in Plymouth; HMS Ocean can be seen in the background
Picture: LA(Phot) Dave Sterratt, FRPU West
007_NN.indd 1 17/10/08 11:59:50
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