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36 NAVY NEWS, SEPTEMBER 2010 News and information for serving personnel

Foulie news flash

MAKE time to nip down to the Uniform Stores to pick up your new Royal Navy chest flash for your Mk.IV Foul Weather Jacket.

The new flash (NSN 8455- 99-598 6703) features the Royal Navy logo as well as the wording.

Personnel are asked to swap old flashes for new when they can find time.

The intention is for the majority of personnel to be wearing the new flash by the end of this year. More details in RNTM 177/10.

Pension review

under way

THE Independent Public Service Pensions Commission is expected to produce an interim report by the end of this month. The Commission is considering the affordability, fairness and impact of current public service pension schemes – whether Armed Forces, civil service, NHS, teachers, UKAEA, local government, police, firefighters or judicial.

The Commission will outline the objectives that should guide public sector pensions in the future, and argue if there is a case for more immediate action within the spending review period. Following on from the interim

report, the Commission will conduct a further round of evidence gathering on forms of alternate pension provision. The terms of reference of the Commission state that existing accrued pension rights will be protected, but the Chancellor has said that options for reform must be considered that are fair to the taxpayer and to public sector employees, so there is no guarantee about what will happen to pension arrangements in the future. Further information can be found in DIB 54/10.

Iraq Inquiry seeks veterans

SIR John Chilcot, chairman of the Iraq Inquiry Committee, has written to UK military personnel who served in Iraq between 2003 and 2009 inviting them to attend an event at Tidworth Garrison, near Andover, on September 14 to hear the views of military personnel, serving or retired, regular or reserve. The chairman’s letter said: “The Inquiry is primarily about learning lessons so these meetings are crucial to our work. “We need to understand what

went well and what could have been done better. “I hope that the lessons that the Inquiry identifies will help us, as a nation, to continue to improve in many areas, including the way in which we approach expeditionary campaigns and nation building, and the impact on military personnel.” If you as a Serviceman or

veteran would be interested in attending this event, please contact the Inquiry by email to uk before midday on Friday September 10. If you are unable to attend, but

would wish to submit your views and thoughts of the campaign as a written submission, please use the email address above or write to:

The Iraq Inquiry 35 Great Smith Street London


Peaks and troughs for Drafty in Air manning

THIS month’s Drafty is brought to you by FAA (AE&SE) Career

Management. The DNPERS AE & SE Career Management team is based at Whale Island along with their WMO (Air) colleagues at RNAS’ Yeovilton, Culdrose and RAF Wittering, managing 3,500 FAA Squadron, Flight, SE and Technical Support personnel. The ‘Hub’ team at Whale Island consists of Lt Cdr Steve Saywell- Hall (RCMSO2AE), WO2AET Paul Clarke (RCMWO2AE), POLogs (Pers) Jo Fraser (RCMAE2) and POLogs (Pers) ‘Mac’ McFarlane (RCMAE3). In line with current RN priorities, the team’s primary focus is the provision of trained personnel to support CHF and SKASaC operations in Afghanistan. Both communities have

received significant manpower uplifts above their designated establishments enabling them to fulfil their enduring commitment to operations in theatre. Air Engineering Branch

Development (AEBD) is a far reaching project which aims to restructure the AE Branch and meet the demands of 21st century Naval aviation.

Its main aim is to replace mechanics and artificers with a single technician stream as well as merging radio and electrical sub specialisations into a single avionics trade. The finalised,


branch structure is not expected to be in place until 2018 and the changes necessary to complete such an ambitious project provide a continuous manning challenge for DNPers.

The transition towards the AEBD model finds the branch with an LAET shortage of 281 although this is offset slightly with extra numbers at CPO level. An improved focus on training and increased selections for promotion are tools which should ease the LAET deficit by 2013. Running in parallel with

AEBD, aircraft and equipment upgrades are likely to provide the most significant challenge in the medium term.

The introduction to service of Merlin Mk2 and Merlin Mk3 for service in the RN, the acquisition of the Lynx replacement aircraft (Wildcat) and the arrival of the Joint Combat Aircraft in 2015 mean that, within a five-year period, each and every AE rating will undertake a re-training programme on a new mark or different type of aircraft. ME Branch Update As stated in BR1066, ETs have a max of 48 months from ET2 to achieve OPS.

If they do not achieve this, they will mark time at increment level (IL) 4 and should be considered for warning. LETs have 36 months from CPD to achieve OPS that includes MEOOW2 and a SOC, otherwise they should also be considered for warning.

BR 2000(2)(3) and (3)(3) are just about to be released. The AB population is healthy

and the promotion prospects remain very good indeed. All promotion eligibility sifts are conducted in JPA so details must be up-to-date and accurate. There are more spaces available for promotion to LET than eligible candidates.

LH positions must be filled first

so that, in turn, the PO plot can be filled, moving the specialisation towards sustainability.

The next board for ET to LET

is November 2010. The LH population remains under borne. However, 63 ETs were selected

at the last board and following 43 weeks training, that includes LRLC, they’ll return to the Fleet. As above, branch sustainability

starts with developing and promoting the ABs and promotion requirements for LET are now clearly detailed in RNTM 121/09.

The POET population remains fragile.

Sea billets are being filled by CPOs and this will remain the case during the transition phase. As with LHs, there are more positions to fill than eligible candidates.

The PO to CPO selection boards will take place in September 2010.

Although overborne with

Chiefs, they are conducting a vital role by filling in Section Head Positions that would otherwise be gapped.

Be assured that promotion board members recognise the CPOs employed as Section Heads that merit promotion to WO2 in the mix with Group Heads. WO1s remain slightly

overborne and the WO2 population is currently ten per cent underborne. The WO2 promotion board will sit in Oct to address this. As the time based advancement

of Artificers becomes a thing of the past, promotion of suitable calibre personnel to the next rate within the ME specialisation will increasingly be determined solely by the number of positions called for in each rate.

As the requirement and the strength fluctuate, so the demand for promotees at each rate rises and falls regardless of the number of highly-capable personnel eligible for promotion.

Whilst this presents a challenge to the promotion board when selecting a small number of personnel from large bodies of worthy contenders, the current boarding process using the SJAR is coherent and equitable. However, this does place a huge emphasis on the reporting system to demonstrate an individual’s merit for selection, underpinning the need for the individual to take a great interest in the content and presentation of their report. WE Branch Update ET recruitment is healthy at 125 per annum but LH shortages are being felt throughout the Fleet.

Great emphasis is being placed on ensuring that selection to LET is increased and over the last year, 88 ETs have been selected for LET course.

This trend will continue to

improve providing SJARS reflect suitable merit for selection to LET.

Promotion prospects remain excellent. Shortages at the PO level continue to be covered by the surplus of CPOs, however work is in progress to better match the number of POs to the number of jobs.

Notwithstanding these efforts, sustainability will continue to be a challenge given the shortage of LETs from which all POs will be generated having advanced the last of the Artificers (circa 2011). The first CPOET Group Head’s

course has now taken place, with all students providing positive feedback.

Completion of the five-week (three weeks if already qualified as a DO) Group Head course will be considered by the promotion board as positive evidence that WO2 skill-sets are being actively developed, however it should be stressed that all eligible CPOs, who demonstrate they possess the appropriate Group Head skills, will be considered for selection. The Group Head role is not to be underestimated – it is not just another CPO billet, it carries the extra responsibility of mentoring and day to day running of the whole Group.

The number of CPOET shore positions will reduce as shore UELs are updated to reflect the ET competence profile, but this will not impact on Separated Service/Harmony requirements. In the future all CPO ETs will be employed in HoG level type roles and will only back-fill POET positions in extremis. The WO2 shortfall has increased although once again the overbearing of CPOs is being used to mitigate this where appropriate. Work is ongoing to look at options to address pressure on the WO2 plot, and it is recognised that this rank in particular has suffered as a result of the deletion of posts in DE&S which in turn has constrained promotion numbers. Warrant Officer 1 numbers remain broadly in balance.

Drafty’s corner

● RFA Fort George won a Fleet Commendation in 2000 September 1970

MORE than 50 former sailors from the first HMS Sheffield attended a reunion in the city’s Shiny Sheff hotel, hosted by Whitbread’s Brewery. Many memories were shared among the old shipmates of the

old Town-class light cruiser, which in 1941 had helped to sink the Bismarck.

The pub sported several stainless steel fittings from the ship, which had been broken up in 1967, including her deck plate. In tribute to her namesake city (or perhaps to spare her sailors hours of polishing?) HMS Sheffield was fitted with stainless steel instead of the traditional brass. At the time members of the branch were hoping to be

represented at the launch of the new HMS Sheffield, in build at Barrow-in-Furness This was the Type 42 destroyer which was launched in 1971 and sunk in the Falklands in 1982.

September 1980

WITH the official opening of the Mountbatten Memorial and Concorde Halls, the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton could boast the largest collection of historic aircraft under one roof in the whole of Europe.

Countess Mountbatten of Burma officially opened the hall, named in memory of her father. Sir George Edwards, joint- chairman of the Anglo-French Concorde project, opened the Concorde Exhibition Hall which housed the British prototype, which was part of the National Science Museum’s aeronautical collection.

The museum was constructed and financed entirely by public support, and was expected to attract a quarter of a million visitors in the course of the year.

September 1990

THE Russian destroyer Bezuprechny (Irreproachable) paid a goodwill visit to Portsmouth – the first by a Soviet warship for 14 years.

The 6,000 tonne Sovremenny-class ship was welcomed by her host, HMS Invincible, and the spirit of glasnost was much in evidence during her five-day stay.

A series of events was organised to entertain the Soviet sailors, including visits to HMS Victory and the RN museum, sightseeing in London, a trip to the Royal Tournament, and a sporting day and barbecue at HMS Sultan. Veterans of the wartime convoys were among the visitors. One of them, Bill Weeks, of the North Russia Club, was presented with a plaque featuring a polished shell from a Bofors gun filled with earth from one of the graves at Murmansk, where British sailors from the Royal and Merchant navies were buried.

September 2000

RFA FORT George was awarded a commendation from the Commander-in-Chief Fleet for her exploits on the east and west coasts of Africa.

The ship was operating with a task group led by HMS Illustrious in the Gulf when she was ordered south. Two weeks of hectic activity off Mozambique followed as she helped the international flood relief operations. Aircraft of 820 NAS and the ship’s boats delivered more than 530 tonnes of food, fuel and other essential supplies to isolated villages as Fort George worked in treacherous and often uncharted waters around the Beira peninsula. She then accompanied Illustrious south to Sierra Leone

where they were joined by an amphibious ready group led by HMS Ocean.

Fort George kept the RN ships supplied, undergoing regular 500-mile trips to Dakar in Senegal to replenish fresh water and food.

The Commander-in-Chief’s commendation stated: “The ship never failed to meet any demand placed upon her, reflecting great credit on the skills and professionalism of everyone involved.”


2000 LIVES

We fl ick back through the pages of Navy News to see which stories were drawing attention in past decades...

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