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Sail in Triumph

sailing out of Plymouth Harbour.

But (a) it’s a really nice picture (by LA(Phot) Vicki Benwell of FRPU West) and (b) the last time HMS Triumph was at sea, John Paul II was Pope, London was bidding – but had not yet been selected – to host the 2012 Olympics and the Royal Navy was gearing up to celebrate the bicentennial of Trafalgar. (The year was 2005 if you were wondering…) That was the year that HMS Triumph was handed over to the

team from DML in Devonport Royal Dockyard for the final refit and refuel of a Trafalgar-class submarine (the official jargon is Long Overhaul Period (Refuel)). And on the fourth day of March 2010, the team at Devonport – now Babcock, who bought out DML – were done with Triumph and the boat put back to sea. In between, aside from changing the name of their company, the engineers, technicians and shipwrights performed quite a lot of work on the 19-year-old T-boat. Apart from refuelling the reactor, they carried out some 30,000 jobs, overhauling, revamping, tweaking or replacing some 75,000 items of equipment. A new command and control system was installed, so too the latest sonar 2076 bow, flank and towed array systems, there was an upgrade for the Tomahawk cruise missile control system, as well as Triumph’s comms and fire-fighting kit.

In all, it took £300m and 2,750,000 man hours to refit Triumph; the work will help carry the boat through to the end of her career – she’s due to be the final Trafalgar-class boat to pay off in 2022.

And while the Babcock/DML team were toiling away, so too her ship’s company. As deeps began to rejoin the boat in earnest last year, there was considerable training to undergo. The control room team spent a lot of time on the Talisman

trainer, which replicates a submarine’s operations centre, while their marine engineering counterparts were put through their paces on the manoeuvring room simulator. And every man of Triumph was put through the damage

control trainer to deal with the challenges of fire and flood. The last tick in the box prior to returning to sea was a ‘fast cruise’, which is actually neither. The boat pretends to be at sea, but is actually alongside, and the taskmasters of FOST throw all manner of problems at the ship’s company to see how they cope. There are now three months of sea trials for Triumph before she resumes her work with the Fleet in earnest.

ORDINARILY we don’t get too excited about a T-boat

Candles and cake for

HMS Sceptre

WHEN not enjoying luxury ice cream (see pages 18-19) the lads of HMS Sceptre like nothing better than a slice of cake. Good job the submarine’s

chefs, sorry, logisticians (catering services (preparation)) have been busy then... The veteran hunter-killer –

Britain’s oldest active submarine – marked her 32nd birthday (February 14) doing what she does best: “dived, radio silent, ready to strike from the deep when required,” according to her weapon engineer officer Lt Cdr Alex Cross.

Mercifully the only weapon being wielded was a knife as the oldest member of the crew, CPO McCavera (52), and his youngest oppo, 19-year-old ET Howe, cut into a submarine-shaped birthday cake.

way through a seven-month tour of duty in the Indian Ocean as part of the RN’s ‘continuous east of Suez’ deployment. She stopped off in Turkey on

Sceptre is two-thirds of her

her way East and since passing through Suez the boat and her crew have enjoyed a break in the UAE, as well as a lot of exercises with US naval forces in the region, including co-ordinated Tomahawk cruise missile training. The boat emerged from a RAMP (Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period) overhaul last April, since when she’s added 28,213 miles to her odometer and spent 226 days away from her home port of Faslane, spending 78 per cent of those days (176 by our reckoning) at sea. This latest deployment concludes with Sceptre heading for South Africa, then into the South Atlantic and finally home to the Clyde. She’s due to pay off in December.

Punishments for Superb grounding

MISREADING a depth on a chart led to submarine HMS Superb striking a pinnacle in the Red Sea, a court-martial in Portsmouth heard. Despite suffering from

engineering issues, Superb was ordered to make haste for operations in the Gulf, the boat cut a dog-leg out of its route through the Red Sea. In doing so, her path crossed an underwater pinnacle some 80 miles south of the Suez Canal – but three officers misread the obstacle’s depth on their charts. They believed the peak of the seamount was 732 metres below the surface. In fact, it was 600 metres higher – and HMS Superb struck it at 16kts in May 2008. The impact slowed the boat to just three knots and caused significant damage to Superb’s bow and sonar kit, although there were no casualties. Superb was forced to surface and then return to the UK following the accident and did not deploy again. She paid off as planned in September 2008. The hearing in HMS Nelson

was told that since the grounding, new procedures had been introduced to ensure depths were re-checked when a new route was plotted.

CO Cdr Steve Drysdale admitted neglecting to perform his duty. Officer of the watch Lt Cdr Andrew Cutler pleaded guilty to failing to supervise the plot officer properly and Superb’s navigator Lt Lee Blair admitted failing to take into account all the dangers in or near the planned movements of HMS Superb. Cdr Drysdale was

reprimanded, to remain on record for three years; Lt Cdr Cutler was severely reprimanded for three years; and Lt Blair reprimanded for two years. Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56
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