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The loyal Navy
GAGATHERINTHERING speed on the flG spe ight
aboard the carrier; Sten Tolgfors, the country’s
deck of the nation’deck of the nat s fl agship, a
defence minister, also visited Illustrious to
HHarrier of the Naval Strike Wing arrier of the N
discuss the war games and to watch flying
heads off to f to pound Swedish soil pou There was also a chance for Lusty to meet
at the heiat the height of interght of national war
up with old friends – three ex-RN warships
ggames in the Baltic.ames in the Balt
now in Estonia service (with a darker livery
LoLoyal al ArArrow gaw gaveve the chance for HMS
too): Admiral Cowan (Sandown), Sakala
IllustrIllustrious and the jump jets of the RN’ious and the ju s
(Inverness), Ugandi (Bridport).
bomber force to flex their muscles alongside bomber force to flex t
With Loyal Arrow concluded, Illustrious
ssome 50 fome 5 ast jets from various
has left the Baltic behind and headed for
AlAllied nal tions – both
Oslo, where the Naval Strike Wing Harriers
NNATO and Partnership
disembarked... and RAF IV Squadron
ffor Peace countries.
embarked ahead of three weeks’ work-up in
Seven Harrier GR7s
the North Sea.
aand GR9s from the Rutland-based wing joined nd GR9s from the Rut
Sweden has been the place to go if you
LustLustyy,, plus 15 pilots and 140 gplus 15 pilots round crew,
wanted to find sea power in the Northern
maintainers, intellige intelligence analysts,n planners
Hemisphere this past month.
aand the like.nd the like.
Running at the same time as Loyal Arrow
TThey also brought a new whey also brought a eapon with them
was another major international exercise,
– Paveway IV, the latest vte ersion of a bomb
Baltops 2009.
which traces its heritage (III, II and I...) back
Around 40 warships from navies in the
● Grippen grin... Swedish
which traces its heritag
Grippen jets fl y past Illustrious
to tto the mid-60she mid-60s..
Baltic – Sweden, Germany, Finland, Latvia,
in formation
TheThese dase dayys,s, a bomb isn’abom t just a lumpen
Lithuania and Estonia – and beyond, including
object you hurl at a target. But we’ll let Lt
America, the Netherlands, France and the UK,
Cdr Paul Tremelling, in command of A Flight,
mustered in Karlskrona on the south coast.
Naval Strike Wing, explain.
Britain’s input to Baltops (a fairly obvious
“Paveway IV is a massive increase in
contraction of Baltic and Operations) comprised
capability. With old III you had to aim the
frigate HMS St Albans and minehunter HMS ● Sandown-class minehunters now in Estonian service – ENS Admiral Cowan
bomb and help guide it on to the target with a
Brocklesby (currently attached to NATO’s (Sandown), Sakala (Inverness), Ugandi (Bridport) – lead HMS Illustrious off
laser,” he added.
Mine Countermeasures Group 1). Tallinn and (above) the carrier’s bombheads load a 1,000lb bomb on a Naval
“With this it tells you whether it can make it
The exercises have been staged, in various Strike Wing Harrier
to the target before you release it.”
formats, since 1971 and none of the previous
Eight Paveways were expertly aimed by
36 Baltops war games had seen St Albans.
the naval bombers at targets on the Swedish
At times, the Saint perhaps wished she had
not been committed to the 37th exercise –
The Cottesmore-based fliers also brought
she faced some very rough seas at time, in
some crowdpleasers aboard Lusty – 1,000
company wih the American tanker USNS John
There are situations where 1,000lb bombs
The minehunters focused their efforts on
can’t be used – either because of the risk of
the ‘Wartburg barrier’ laid by the Germans
collateral damage or difficulties of aiming.
between Sweden and Lithuania on the eve
But there were eight occasions on the ranges
of the invasion of Russia in 1941; the force
when the larger weapons could be dropped to
found several mines (plus one vintage British
impressive effect.
In all the Strike Wing conducted 51 sorties
“We were exploding World War 2 ordnance
in what was billed as the biggest air warfare
all week,” said US Rear Admiral John
exercise staged in Swedish skies.
Christenson, overseeing Baltops.
In the middle of Loyal Arrow, Sweden’s
“Close to 100,000 mines were seeded in
head of state joined Illustrious to witness a
the Baltic and the mine countermeasure ships
Royal Navy carrier in action at sea.
here have done a great job of finding both
Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden (and
exercise torpedoes and mines and also real-
honorary Royal Navy admiral) watched the
world mines.”
Harriers depart and return from sorties, and
Pictures: PO(Phot) Christine Wood and
chatted with crews preparing the jets for their
LA(Phot) Kelly McAlinden, HMS Illustrious
and LA(Phot) Pete Smith, FRPU East
He wasn’t the only senior Swedish guest marina Lusty busking in the Baltic, page 27
● HMS St Albans’ Lynx lifts
off during Baltops and (above)
Naval Strike Wing Harriers lined
up on Illustrious’ fl ight deck
003_NN_July.indd 1 19/6/09 15:06:01
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