24 NAVY NEWS, JULY 2010
This was their fi nest hour… Fight them on the beaches… Date which will live in infamy… So much owed by so many to so few… End of the beginning… Awaken a sleeping giant…Dunkirk spirit… Keep calm and, er, carry on…. And it’s only right that the most advanced warship Britain has ever sent to sea adopts one of them as her unoffi cial motto. Yup, that’s right. Keep calm and carry
ORLD War 2 has given us its fair share of aphorisms, maxims and quotes.
As British as warm beer, a wet summer and a nice cup of tea.
And do you know what? It sums up perfectly what they’re trying to do on HMS Daring. Take the best bits of the past and blend them with 21st-Century technology. There’s no other way of getting through the futuristic destroyer’s toughest test to date: operational sea training. Type 42s have been passing through FOST since the mid-70s. So too 22s. Carriers since the early 80s. 23s, well you get the picture…
Offi cer Sea Training know the existing fl eet like the back of their hands… … and the ships passing through OST know exactly what to expect. It’s all a well- worn routine.
Type 45 to ‘enjoy’ OST. Step-change in capability. Blah blah. Shoot down a cricket ball travelling at Mach 3. Blah blah. Eighty per cent of the kit is new to the Navy. Blah blah. iPod- generation warship. Blah blah. It all makes things that little bit
more exciting – for FOSTies and ship’s company.
For the FOSTies there’s a shiny new toy to play with. For Daring’s crew there’s the chance to show what they and their ship can do.
Now mix things up a little with the fi rst
element,” explains FOSTie Lt Matt Hulse, “just as a check.”
the Type 45 to the test, he’s an ex-Daring, her former fi ghter controller to be precise. The headphones of his successor Lt Alex Kopsahilis buzz not just with instructions from friendly aircraft but also spoof instructions and jamming from the enemy. That’s nothing new to warfare, but the
three-screen display in front of the young offi cer is.
The display’s full colour (not like the old orange displays in 42s). You can have various ‘windows’ open at any one time – the 4.5in gun camera, CCTV of the fl ig
In short, the ladies and gents of the Flag
ht deck, a display showing the various heights of aircraft in the vicinity. If you’re expecting something X-Box or PlayStation-esque, forget it. It’s blobs and dots on a screen. But they’re coloured blobs (red for enemy, naturally…) and colour, says Lt Hulse, “makes all the difference”.
refer not to the ops room but the ops complex. It’s big. It’s spacious. It’s not pitch-black like traditional ops room. Yes, the team still wear anti-fl ash, headphones and stare at screens, but they can also look across the room at shipmates; they don’t have to strain their necks and look behind them. “Seeing people’s faces, the expressions in their eyes, that’s important,” says Lt Hulse. But other aspects of the ops room will be instantly recognisable to 42, 22 and 23 sailors. You’ll still hear the shrill blast of a
according to the blurb, it can track something in the region of 200 aerial targets simultaneously at ranges of up to 250 miles, and engage them once they’re within about 50 miles of the ship. So in theory, you could sit in the ops room of Plymouth, fi r
Viper system, watch a Hawk lift off from Culdrose or Yeovilton, and hey presto, one aerial threat dispensed with. But that would be too easy. For a start, Sea Viper’s not in automatic mode. “We like to have the human
e up the Sea So what can a Type 45 do? Well, whistle.
Slameye. Slameye (Visual confi rmation of a missile launch).
Followed not too long afterwards by… Brace brace brace.
smoke drifting through the passageways and compartments, without a pot mess for action messing, without sailors rushing around in fearnought suits tackling fi res or trying to plug holes in the hull with blocks and wedges.
THURSDAY WAR wouldn’t be a Thursday War without a Hawk buzzing you, without the smell of
So too does space. Darings
This is the ‘Starship Enterprise’ technology of which Type 45 sailors are so proud.
As with many of the FOST staff putting
“Computers only go so far,” says logistics offi cer Lt Cdr Scott Bell. “When it comes to shoving in wedges, you need manpower.” And there’s not a lot of manpower. In simple terms, Daring’s twice the size of a Type 23 – but with the same sized ship’s company (180-190 men and women). In the event of a hit, it’s Lt Cdr Bell’s task to co-ordinate that manpower and patch up the damage.
Despite the very large computer screen in the ship control centre, you can’t fi t an entire schematic diagram of Daring on it – not at a high enough resolution. “I actually prefer the old damage control boards,” Lt Cdr Bell adds. “You can see everything at a glance.” Luckily, they still have them on board…
Technology can only go so far. Sometimes you can’t beat old-fashioned simplicity.
On the bridge wing, a sailor wanders past in full battle- rig, but with a mug clipped to his belt.
On the bridge itself, the day’s various instructions and aims are scribbled on the large windows – rather like a head-up display on a Harrier.
At the day’s end, Executive Warrant Offi cer WO1 Mark
Barker does his rounds and hands out Mars bars – “it’s good for morale.” In short the machine is nothing without the man (or woman) operating it. “You can get blinded by the Starship Enterprise technology, but it boils down to young sailors in anti-fl ash in the ops room, listening to all that information over their headphones, looking at the screens,” explains the senior FOSTie aboard today, Cdr Mike Utley.
“Without them, the kit won’t work.” Which is why for four years, ship’s company and FOST staff have been preparing for this day. The FOSTies didn’t just turn up on the
fi rst day of operational sea training; they’ve been involved with Daring since Day 1. So too have the ‘boffi ns on the hill’ – aka scientists working with the mock-up Type 45 on Portsdown Hill – and RN experts from the Maritime Warfare Centre at HMS Collingwood. “Type 45 takes us to a whole new level of air defence – we’re learning there are a lot more ways to skin a cat,” says FOST’s Lt Cdr Jez Tyler.
“Everyone at FOST has been dying to get Daring down here. For me as an air warfare offi cer it’s like having a new toy to play with. I want to jump in the seat and have a go myself.” Sorry, but you can’t. But you can help write the Type 45 instruction manual. As with Daring herself, that manual takes tried and tested methods and adapts them to suit the Type 45’s 21st-Century technology. “You don’t want to throw away the good
stuff from the past – there are procedures still valid from a Type 42,” Cdr Utley explains. “But we also want to make use of what a Type 45 can do.”
HIS ISN’T THE full FOST experience for Daring. That comes (a) when the Sea Viper missiles are ready to fi re and (b) when the ship’s gearing up for her fi rst deployment; (a) will be in the autumn (the honour of fi rst fi ring falls to her sister Dauntless); (b) is about this time next year. Still, a little FOST is more challenging than no FOST... For a start there’s the village of Old Grimsby on the island of Tresco which needs sorting out after a hurricane.
Old Grimsby bears a striking resemblance to Bull Point (oddly, as does Tresco itself...).
The poor people of ill-starred Old Grimsby (pop. 20 or so actors and a couple of plastic babies) suffer at least one calamity a week: tropical storm, volcano, earthquake, tsunami. Lucky there’s always a warship on hand then...
In true Keep Calm and Carry On fashion,
it’s the mission of Daring to ‘save life and lessen suffering’.
The sea boats – launched in true Thunderbirds-style from that Heath Robinson-esque ‘grabber’ – are sent ashore with medical, fire-fighting, rescue, and engineering teams to bring order to chaos.
Meanwhile, Lt Tom Knott and his yeoman stayed in one of the boats and surveyed the shoreline – the traditional way: swinging a lead line to measure the depth of water in various places to make a rudimentary chart area and assess the suitability for bringing a larger ship such as Daring alongside (although as it happened, she didn’t go into ‘Tresco’). While they were swinging the lead (literally rather than metaphorically), their shipmates were putting out fires, rescuing casualties, fixing the waterworks and cooking meals for the victims.
“All just another day at OST for Navy ships,” said Lt Kopsahilis. “H tells us we have a good chance of h to do this kind of thing for real...” Indeed, it’s much more likely fending off low-fl ying jets. Then ag vis pacem, para bellum...
edgy, fraught affairs. Raised voices. A shouting. A bit of snapping. Occasi some choice Anglo-Saxon. So it’s a bit odd to fi nd Daring
Perhaps it’s because they know the inside and out. Perhaps it’s becaus enjoy their job. Perhaps it’s be they’re blazing a trail. Perha all of the above.
room hunched-up” in Type 23s. “This ship is awesome. The only th accept after Daring is my front room don’t think that’s on Drafty’s list – Ed For Daring’s ‘father fi g
younger members of the ship’s com who’ve really stood out at OST. “The amount of hours and effor they’ve put in is tremendous. They at 5, 5.30am to get things right,” says Barker. They’re doing it because they’re fo
We bumped into Bel prefers the sobriquet Legend’…) last summ Navy Days “living the dr He’s still living the dream, and a half years into a si draft to Daring after more t dozen years “walking around th
“I don’t think you can this ship,” enthuses ops manager CPO Dean Button.
eight/nine-week spell at
VER THE YEARS the Navy team has been through its fair of Thursday Wars. They’re
relaxed, then at least not stressed Perhaps that’s because they’re not g a full
Daring’s identity. “We’re setting the routine for the 30 to 40 years,” the EWO cont “When I’ve left the Navy and am sitt home, watching Type 45s sailing int out of Portsmouth, I can say: we la foundations.” They’re getting there. On our last v Daring we observed that for all the h wizardry and Top Trumps facts, the was a rather sterile living environme Well, six months down the line, slightly less sterile, courtesy of s WW2 posters. The chintzy William M seat patterns have gone too (Boo – E Laying those foundations is,
5 ZONE... the type 45 zone... the type 45 zone. ● Follow the leader... HMS Daring heads a fl otilla of ships – (l-r) HMS Cumberland, FGS Köln and HMS Gloucester – undergoing Operational Sea Training
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