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Triptych pitch in

THREE major Naval assets have weighed into the war on piracy and terrorism this month. One-stop support ship RFA

Fort Victoria and the Merlins of 820 Naval Air Squadron form a double-headed prong in the Indian Ocean under the wing of the regional anti-piracy/ anti-smuggling command, the Combined Maritime Force in Bahrain. Fort Vic – deploying for the

Talent show in Guzz

first time since a lengthy lay-up in Portsmouth followed by a refit in Birkenhead – has been beefed up for her mission east of Suez with enhanced gun positions, improved Phalanx automated weapon system, and an improved sick bay. To that have been added a team from 820 NAS, a £40m helicopter, some sea boats, and a specialist boarding party from the Fleet Protection Group Royal Marines – perfect for anti-piracy. Although primarily a

submarine hunter, 820’s Merlins will fire up their surveillance kit to monitor shipping routes in the region, with the added firepower and boarding capability of the commandos.

The 3,000-plus mile slog out to the Somali Basin permitted the auxiliary’s crew to get used to the presence of WAFUs and Royals, then to learn to operate with them, practising helicopter and boat ops, casualty and prisoner handling ahead of what CO Capt Christopher Clarke RFA said would be “an interesting job”. At least three international

maritime forces are overseeing efforts to secure the sea lanes in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean: CMF, the EU and NATO. The latter’s four-strong task

Enterprise needs Daring

ARRIVING in the US of A just about now is Britain’s most advanced warship, making her inaugural trip across the Pond. HMS Daring will spend the early autumn exercising with the US Navy, testing the ability of the new Type 45 destroyer to ‘plug in’ to the Americans’ tried-and- tested military kit.

The climax of the mini-

deployment is a three-week work-up with the USA’s greatest carrier, the USS Enterprise, off the Eastern Seaboard. Daring will be charged with safeguarding the Big E and her carrier group from air attack – exactly the sort of mission the Type 45 was designed to carry out.

Using their Sampson radar and command system to pick up potential threats (in theory Daring can monitor a couple of hundred incoming aircraft and missiles) the operations room team will manage hundreds of aircraft sorties carried out by the task group, plus test her ability to defend Enterprise should ‘enemy’ aircraft penetrate the flat-top’s own Combat Air Patrol. The exercise should be the

sternest test yet for the £1bn destroyer, which passed her Operational Sea Training in the summer.

“This is a golden opportunity

to prove the Royal Navy’s newest capability to integrate – and operate effectively – with the might of the United States Navy,” said CO Capt Paddy McAlpine. As Daring heads across the

group – Standing Maritime Group 1 – is enforcing Operation Shield with HMS Montrose, Denmark’s HDMS Esbern Snare and the US Ships Laboon and Kauffman.

Picture: LA(Phot) Martin Carney, FRPU West

IT WAS cold and horrible when HMS Talent last saw the unmistakable outline

Montrose spent four months getting ready for this moment so her crew are, says Lt Aaron Broughton, commanding the frigate’s RM detachment, “fully prepared and now determined to sink our teeth into the job at hand”. The Type 23 has been assigned a stretch of the international transit corridor to patrol.

Quorn tribute

HMS Quorn will lead tributes in Guernsey to sailors lost during a WW2 raid.

Each October islanders pay their respects to HMS Charybdis and Limbourne which were sunk by German torpedo boats off the Brittany coast with the loss of more than 450 men. The bodies of many of the dead were washed up on Guernsey and residents ignored their Nazi overlords and attended the men’s funeral.

Hunt-class minehunter Quorn will be in St Peter Port for the anniversary weekend of October 1-3, open to the public on third from 11am-4pm. She will provide the Guard of Honour at the memorial service in Foulon cemetery that same day at 3pm.

Marines Collingwood will march through St Peter Port ahead of a Beat Retreat in the Market Square at 4.30pm on Saturday October 2.

perform at the annual concert at St James’ at 8pm on October 3.

The musicians will also The Band of HM Royal

but barely any less horrible when Smeaton’s Tower and other well- known landmarks hove into view again for the submariners. Luckily, there’s been a bit of sun in the intervening seven months. The T-boat returned home from an extended spell east of Suez to West Country rain – but a warm welcome. For every man aboard there were two people waiting on the jetty at Devonport (by our reckoning that’s about 250 wellwishers…). “Their unwavering support to my team has been key to our success,” said CO Cdr Simon Asquith.

me. d

st ry

of Plymouth Hoe… … and it was a little warmer,

Hopefully they rustled up a few other things as well, otherwise the menu might have become a tad monotonous….

days in the UK, the mild waters of the Med, scorching temperatures in the Middle East, and the Indian monsoon,

and climate for everyone,” said weapons engineer offi cer Lt Cdr Tim Fry.

Su tra ‘ro

achieved by Talent over the past seven months is classifi ed as is the nature of the Silent Service. But not all of it. The boat

exercised with 820 NAS Merlins and American maritime patrol aircraft based in the Middle East, and played cat and mouse with HMS Northumberland and American hunter-killer USS Alexandria as 27,000 miles were added to the Talent odometer. There was also a rare chance to

work with an Indian submarine in the latter’s ‘playground’, plus some time above the waves with port visits in the UAE, India, Jordan and Crete.

All of which would not have been possible, inter alia, without the efforts of the men in Talent’s galley who cooked 22,000 eggs and 11 tonnes of spuds and baked 37,000 bread rolls.

BRITAIN’S most senior Serviceman spent the day aboard the nation’s amphibious fl agship as he got to grips with the task of overseeing the three Forces. General Sir David Richards takes up the post of Chief of Defence Staff this month. Ahead of that appointment, the general joined

HMS Albion at sea off the South Coast with CINC Fleet Admiral Sir Trevor Soar and Commodore Amphibious Task Group Cdre Paul Bennett as his guides. The general knows a thing or two about amphibious

ops; he served with 29 Commando Regiment RA – the green berets’ bolt-on artillery unit – but back

Of course, most of the success

On the boat’s rare appearances on the surface, the rowing machine was whipped out for some alfresco training; 47-year- old ACPOMEM(L) Colin Leiba set the standard, completing 2,000 metres in 6m 38s. No-one aboard was able to beat the senior rating’s time.


was the boat’s charity, Hope House Children’s Hospice, in her affi liated town of Shrewsbury; the Suez row raised more than £350 for this worthy cause – in addition to more than £1,000 already collected for the hospice from other events while on deployment. After being at sea for 400 of past 600 days, Talent’s


need of some TLC and upgrades, which she’ll receive in the coming months from the team at Babcock in Devonport. She’s due to emerge from her

overhaul next year, while east-of- Suez duties are being conducted by her sister HMS Tireless.

Top general drops in on Albion

then Fearless and Intrepid were mainstays of the amphibious fleet. Albion’s ship’s company and Royal Marines outlined what the successor generation of assault ships brings to the British Forces ‘party’ and described Albion’s recent Auriga exercise in the USA as well as her high-profile role in bringing Britons back from the continent during the Icelandic volcano crisis in the spring.

General Richards departed Albion courtesy of a Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel via the ship’s trademark dock, telling CO Capt James Morley that his visit had been “enlightening”.

in The real winner,

The passage back through Suez allowed the growing tradition in the Fleet of ‘rowing the canal’ with four out of fi ve Talents taking it in turns to complete the 162km (100 miles) distance on the boat’s well-used Concept 2 machine.

o there was scenery “From cold and grey winter

Pond, her sister Dauntless is due to carry out the first firing of Sea Viper – the Type 45’s principal weapon system – in the UK. To date the missile has only been fired from the trials barge Longbow in the Mediterranean.


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