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A change for the better on Chiddingfold

IT’S out with the old and in with the new aboard HMS Chiddingfold in the Gulf. We’re talking about a port

engine, which was changed by the ship’s ten clankies and the Forward Support Unit in Bahrain in temperatures which punched through the 50°C (122˚F) barrier. And with the old engine hauled out and the replacement yet to be installed, PO Darren Podmore spied an opportunity to change a valve under the engine. It was, he determined, “much easier – no need to have to crawl around in the bilge with a head torch on.”

Future present

THIS is the moment a Sea Viper missile accelerates away from its silo during fi nal successful test fi rings

in the Mediterranean. After years of trials and tests,

the weapon, which will be the Fleet’s ultimate safeguard against air attack for the next quarter of a century, is almost operational. A salvo of Sea Vipers – which can reach speeds in excess of Mach 3 – was fired from the trials barge Longbow at a target, skimming low over the surface of the Med at hundreds of miles an hour.

Predictably, once fi nished he and his two assistants, LET Daniel ‘Jude’ Law and ET Patrick ‘Taff’ O’Connell, looked suspiciously like they’d been crawling around in the bilge... Valve changed, the new engine

was lifted in early in the morning (before the Gulf heat really kicks in).

By lunchtime the ‘soft-patch’ – the removable deck above the engine room – was back in place the air-conditioning was running again to the relief of all the Cheery Chids.

The highly-manoeuvrable

drone tried to avoid the incoming missiles... ...and failed.

The next step is to fire Sea Viper from its intended launchpad, a Type 45 destroyer. That honour is due to fall not to HMS Daring, the first of class (she’s off to the States to work with the US Navy this autumn), but to her younger sister HMS Dauntless, who is lined up for missile trials off north-west Scotland at the end of this month.

Although it’s the responsibility of the marine engineering department, an engine change demands the attention of a sizeable proportion of the minehunter’s ship’s company. Chiddingfold’s divers covered the sea-water intakes, chefs and steward brought cold drinks to the workers and the FSU team craned off all of the equipment, including the dive recompression chamber, two seaboats and a half deck that were in the way of the soft-patch before their team lowered, then secured, the new engine.

Once declared operational, it will be the 45s’ task to take over from veteran Type 42s, and protect either a task group or an individual capital ship. Which brings us nicely on to an individual capital ship: next- generation aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to be precise. Two more pieces of that 65,000-tonne jigsaw have slotted into place this past month. A 200-ton crane in the BAE Systems shed in Portsmouth lowered the fi rst set of diesel generators into one of the huge

blocks which will form part of the future carrier’s hull. The segment – Lower Block 2 – will eventually be the warship’s forward machinery space. Each of the carriers – HMS

Prince of Wales completes the two-strong class – will be powered by two Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines and four Converteam diesel generators (like the two installed in Pompey). The total power output of this sextet of engineering will be 109 megawatts – that’s enough for 300,000 kettles or 5,500 family- sized homes at any one time. Work on Lower Block 2 began in the Portsmouth facility – one of six yards around the UK providing sections of the two carriers – back in February and, by mid-August, was about 16 per cent complete. When fi nished the block will contain stores,


machinery spaces and some accommodation.

It’ll measure 70m (229ft) long, 40m (131ft) across and 18m (59ft) high and weigh in at over 6,000 tonnes (more than a Type 23 frigate). It’s due to be shipped by barge

from Portsmouth to Rosyth next year, when it will join the rest of the giant carrier jigsaw puzzle in a specially-expanded dry dock. Meanwhile the fi nal yard to be

involved in the carrier project – Birkenhead’s legendary Cammell Laird – has started work on sections of Queen Elizabeth’s hull.

A 1,200-strong team will toil

away for the next two months on two segments of the carrier’s flight deck which will weigh 7,500 tonnes when complete.

Picture: MBDA

Victory over Japan marked

FIRST Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope led Senior Service tributes to British victims of the war with Japan at 65th anniversary commemorations of VJ Day at the Cenotaph. He joined the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, Prime Minister David Cameron, representatives of all three Services, plus hundreds of Far East veterans, and members of WW2 associations in Whitehall as the nation showed its gratitude for those who fought against the Rising Sun between 1941 and 1945. Britain suffered 90,332 casualties in the war against Japan, of whom 29,968 died – 12,433 of those as prisoners of war.

The Royal Navy was in the thick of the fight against the Japanese Empire at the beginning and end of the bitter four-year struggle for supremacy in the Pacific.

It suffered the terrible blow of losing the Prince of Wales and Repulse just three days into the war and witnessed ultimate triumph four years later as HMS Duke of York attended the formal Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. That came nearly three weeks

after Tokyo agreed to capitulate: announced by Emperor Hirohito at mid-day on August 15, which has since become known in the UK as Victory over Japan Day. At the same time as commemorations in London, a service was held at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. where veterans from the Malayan Volunteers Group, the Far East Prisoners of War Association, and members of the Children and Families of Far East Prisoners of War Association remembered the dead.


Between 4-10 October the whole country gets the kettle on, organising tea-related events to raise vital funds for The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Associations (SSAFA) Forces Help. We are the UK’s oldest and most inclusive Armed Forces charity. We support those currently serving, those who used to serve and the families of both. And as this is our 125th year, it’s going to be bigger than ever before.

Join up to the world’s largest tea party.



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