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Round, round,
Data days for
we get around
WITH the exception of university
boat HMS Archer, visits to the
Chiddingfold is fi nally back home
‘Granite City’ by ships under the
in Pompey after a busy 2007
White Ensign are relatively few.
testing Britain’s latest anti-mine
Aberdeen’s harbour could be
found bristling with battleship
Most of the year has been
grey last month as half a dozen
devoted to perfecting the use of
minehunters berthed at Regent
SeaFox, the next-generation robot
and Trinity Quays.
undersea vehicle used by mine
Admittedly, only one flew the
warfare forces to fi nd and destroy
White Ensign, HMS Middleton.
ordnance on or tethered to the
The rest of the force comprised
Belgian, Dutch, German,
SeaFox is replacing the ‘yellow
Norwegian and Lithuanian
submarines’ currently used by
ships – NATO’s Standing Mine
Sandown and Hunt-class mine
Countermeasures Group 1.
countermeasures vessels and trials
The group has been scouring
with the system by Cheery Chid
northern waters for the detritus
(a new nickname on us but we
of a century of war at sea, as well
quite like it) have shown what a
as conducting exercises dealing
step forward it is from the existing
with the present-day mine threat.
remote-controlled craft.
The task force spent ten days
Use of SeaFox still needs
in the Bay de la Seine in search
to be perfected, however, and
of wartime ordnance.
Chiddingfold embarked a team of
Given the importance of the
boffi ns behind the piece of kit for
Calvados coastline, the waters
two weeks of trials and tests off
were heavily mined and once
the Isle of Skye.
the Allies landed in Normandy,
Conditions were ‘challenging’
the Germans made numerous
at times, but SeaFox was
attempts to attack the invasion
nevertheless launched almost 50
times against a number of training
Half a dozen wartime pieces
mines laid on the seabed.
of ordnance, including a German
The data gathered during these
torpedo were found – and
test runs allowed the engineers to
destroyed – by the NATO force.
tweak the software which drives
More recently, the task group
SeaFox ahead of a live fi ring
has been conducting sweeps
of the weapon in the coming
of the North Sea searching for
● Sea of fl ame... A Sea Dart roars away from its launcher on HMS Liverpool bound for its Mirach drone target
discarded ordnance off Britain’s
Picture: LA(Phot) Jannine Hartmann, FRPU Whale Island
After Christmas in Portsmouth,
east coast.
Cheery Chid sails east of Suez in
The team from another British
the new year accompanied by her
warship could also be found sister HMS Atherstone.
north of the border.
Cdr Paul Romney and three
shipmates left HMS Sutherland
Grimsby’s back
behind in Devonport on a two-
day visit to the Scottish region
Bangs for your buck
ALMOST two years after her
which bears the same name,
encounter with the side of a
reaffirming ties with the local
Norwegian fjord (the fjord came
community. SOME £4m of naval
The £200,000 drones in the Mediterranean. Missile System – has not been
off better), HMS Grimsby returns
The quartet handed over £500
hardware disintegrated in
can be recovered by Longbow served as the done yet, hence the series of trials
to the water this month.
to Rosehall Primary School
The Sandown-class
following fund-raising efforts
the Western Approaches
parachute – but in this trials barge for Seawolf in the Mediterranean.
instance Sea Dart missiles, used by Type 22 Longbow will be moored at sea
minehunter was seriously
aboard Sutherland.
as two sisters tested their impacted with the and 23 frigates for close while PAAMS’ ability to track –
damaged during exercises north
Older children grilled Cdr missile systems.
Mirachs with a aerial defence, back in and eventually destroy – multiple
of Bergen in February 2006 and
Romney during a presentation HMS Edinburgh and Liverpool
combined collision the 1970s. supersonic and sub-sonic targets is
had to be piggy-backed home on
and Q&A session to sixth formers both fi red three Sea Darts apiece
speed around three But six years ago, tested to the limit.
a specialist transporter vessel.
at Farr High School. during a ‘high seas fi ring’ trial to
times the speed of BMT Marine Projects In theory, the missile should
Since then she has been in
After that the sailors were ensure the anti-air missile which
sound, ensuring began transforming be able to destroy a cricket ball
a shed at Rosyth where a team
probably glad of a tour of the vessels are built around did
nothing was left of it to accommodate travelling at Mach 3.
from Babcock have been refitting
Clynelish Distillery, before they what it was supposed to do.
either hunter or prey. Sampson radar (a The PAAMS system is at the
Grimsby so she can rejoin Mine
headed to the Royal Dornoch Targets for the £500,000
“This was a hugely- spinning spiky egg for heart of the Type 45 destroyer, the
Countermeasures Squadron
clubhouse for an official reception missiles were provided by the
important test of both want of a better analogy) successor to the Type 42.
No 1.
hosted by the Highland Council. experts of 792 Naval Air Squadron,
Liverpool’s and Edinburgh’s on top of a 80ft mast and to The first Type 45, HMS Daring,
The ship’s company promise
The ship herself was unable to a specialist unit which operates
equipment and people,” said hold Aster missiles in its silo. is due to enter service in two
that the vessel emerging from that
visit her namesake region as she’s Mirach drones which simulate an
Cdr Craig Wood, Liverpool’s Aster itself has been fi red years’ time.
shed will make Grimsby “look
currently undergoing a multi- incoming aircraft or missile.
Commanding Offi cer. successfully at targets on Aerial warfare has been at the
like new”.
million-pound refit. The 792 team joined the ships,
“The success of these ranges in southern France, heart of Edinburgh’s autumn: the
Initial trials will be conducted
On the opposite side of the
setting up the Mirach on the fi rings is a resounding while Longbow has been ship hosted a dozen trainee Lynx
this month before the ship’s
country, Sandown-class mine
fl ight deck, then launching the endorsement.” conducting radar trials off navigators and observers as 702
company (currently living ashore)
countermeasures ship HMS
robot aircraft into the Atlantic Sea Dart is a proven the Isle of Wight for most NAS took the fliers to sea to
file back on board in the new
Bangor could be found for four
sky, controlling them from heights weapon; its successor, of the summer and earn the necessary qualifications
year, led by new CO Lt Cdr
days in Liverpool’s Canning
ranging from 10ft above the waves however, is not – yet. autumn. to operate the helicopter on the
Adam Parnell.
to 40,000ft at sub-sonic speeds. But over the winter, But marrying deck of a warship at sea.
Once the ship receives her
The ship’s company have
Loosing Sea Darts is not the missile which will the Sampson radar Then the Royal Air Force
sea safety certificates and a
endured a fairly demanding
something you want to do in range be the backbone of the with the computer got involved for Exercise Swift
team from the Flag Officer Sea
autumn as they prepare to fly out
of commercial air traffi c. An RAF Fleet’s air defence for software and the Panther, during which Britain’s
Training is satisfied the sailors
to the Gulf and replace the crew
Nimrod patrolled the skies to keep the next three decades Aster – the whole latest jet, the Eurofighter Typhoon,
can handle every eventuality,
of HMS Ramsey, stationed in
any aircraft or shipping away from will undergo extensive package comprises came under the control of the
front-line training begins in
Bahrain for three years with sister
the test areas. trials from a test barge the Principal Anti-Air destroyer’s fighter controllers.
earnest. 2008 will be devoured
HMS Blyth.
largely by that training and by
All Sandown-class crews are
visits around the UK.
being rotated through the Gulf
duo to sustain operations in the
region, rather than spend months
transiting to and from the Middle
The magnifi cent seven (weeks)
Tyne’s fi ne time
FISHERY protection ship HMS
During four days on the
Tyne has been working with her
Mersey, the ship hosted scores
READY for anything... That’s the verdict on launched a series of raids from Bulwark against
of local school children and
assault ship HMS Bulwark after seven intensive ‘targets’ in Cornwall and Dorset, either via landing
Dutch counterpart on a sweep of
dignitaries, offered guided tours
autumn weeks. craft or via the Junglie Sea Kings of 845 and 846
the North Sea to catch trawlers
to the nautical buffs from the
The Devonport-based vessel’s long road back NAS, during the final stage of training: Exercise
breaking the law.
Mersey Naval and Maritime
to the front line following an overhaul reached its South-west Sabre.
Tyne sailed out of Den Helder
Society and the World Ship
climax in south western waters and shores. With training completed, the ship went on a
with the Dutch Coastguard vessel
Society, while Bangor’s football
As a capital ship with unique capabilities (well, mini tour of the UK, including a visit to London
Barend Biesheuval for Operation
team challenged the Over the Hill
unique if you discount her sister Albion – Ed), to launch the autumn programme by the RN
Shark, a week-long swoop upon
Mob to a match.
Bulwark ‘enjoys’ specially-adapted training to Presentation Team and fly the flag for the Senior
vessels suspected of illegal fi shing
Far to the south HMS
test her assault ship function, as well as all the Service in the capital.
activities in the North Sea.
Shoreham was on home ‘soil’ –
usual shenanigans organised by Flag Officer This month Bulwark picks up the baton of the
The Tyne team used the
as was her Commanding Officer.
Sea Training such as fire and flood. Amphibious Fleet Flagship, handed on to her by
Netherlanders’ comprehensive
Lt Cdr Nick Borbone attended
One hundred and fifty Royal Marines Albion – a title which means she must be ready
intelligence picture to strike at
Durrington High School in
of 42 Commando and the Commando to sail anywhere in the world if needed at short
dawn, sending boarding parties
nearby Worthing and lives in West
Logistics Regiment, plus gunners notice – ahead of winter war games in northern
at long range to inspect fi shing
Sussex to this day.
of 29 Regiment Royal Artillery, Norway.
These dawn raids proved
So it was a particularly successful with various illegal
warm homecoming for him as activities reported – and illegal
he brought the Faslane-based fi shing gear found.
minehunter into the Sussex port Tyne handed over to HMS
after which his ship is named. Quorn for the second week of
The Sandown-class warship Shark while she headed to the
spent four days alongside on a North East for a break from
goodwill visit, hosting Worthing’s fi shery protection – and a visit to
Sea Cadet unit TS Vanguard, her affi liates.
students from Brighton and Hove Those included the children’s
College, Durrington Sea Scouts, ward of North Tyneside General
and local bigwigs. Hospital where the sailors handed
The ship also carried 15 over £750, proceeds from bingo
students from a ‘military and other fund-raising events, to
● Assaulting we will go... LCU and LCVP landing craft leave HMS Bulwark carrying Royal Marines bound for shore
preparation course’ from
Picture: LA(Phot) Pepe Hogan, HMS Bulwark
allow the ward to buy a second
Portsmouth back to the city. ‘child-friendly’ wheelchair.
006_NN_Dec.indd 1 20/11/07 10:20:41
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