Sussex Navy News

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New RN commendation rewards talent and hard work

The sonar team of Trafalgar-class submarine HMS Talent are the first winners of a new award recognising those who go above and beyond the call of duty.

The Royal Navy Commendation replaces long-standing commendations presented by the Fleet Commander, focusing on operational effectiveness, and the Second Sea Lord, rewarding effort across all lines of development.  Under the Navy’s Transformation programme, they’ve been merged and renamed to enhance their significance.

Talent has been heavily in demand this year and last, the sonar operators standing out in particular among an already impressive crew.  As the boat’s eyes and ears beneath the waves, it is down to them to constantly listen out for potential threats: hostile submarines, ships and aircraft.  The challenging, painstaking job was made all the more demanding by a busy programme and considerable fluctuations in personnel.

As a result, the lean-manned department often sacrificed leave and personal down time to maintain and improve the submarine, supporting the training of other departments and Perisher command courses to maintain safety and preserve seamanship standards.  Throughout, the small, busy team demonstrated excellent leadership and dedication, making them worthy winners of the new distinction.

More here.

Government re-classifies support ships as warships

The Government has re-classified RFA support ships as warships, meaning that the planned three Fleet Solid Support Ships can be built in the UK without international tendering.

Previously the Government had argued that they were not warships, and as such had to undergo international tendering.  Shipbuilding unions and other commentators had long campaigned for the £1billion FSS contract to be given to UK shipyards, citing other European states that treated support ships as warships.

Delays in the FSS project have restricted the tempo and reach of Carrier Strike.

Picture UK Defence Journal

More here.

Ex-HMS Shoreham CO drives final new patrol ship on sea trials

The fifth and final new Royal Navy patrol ship, HMS Spey, is at sea for the first time, under the command of former HMS Shoreham, SANO-affiliate ship, CO, Lieutenant Commander Ben Evans.

Spey has sailed from BAE Systems’ yard at Scotstoun on the Clyde to begin Contractor Sea Trials.  A mix of Royal Navy sailors, BAE employees, contractors, inspections authorities and civilian sailors are crewing the 2,000-tonne warship for key tests and assessments off the UK’s north west coast.

On joining the ship in August as one of the first 5 crew members, Lieutenant Commander Evans said: “Even though we are in the midst of a virus pandemic I have been really impressed with how the teams from Defence Equipment and Support and BAE Systems have safely and tirelessly worked to get to this point.  It is an exciting challenge to bring HMS Spey out of build.”

All Spey‘s older sisters, including Tamar, below, are now operational.  When trials and training are complete next year, she will operate as part of the navy’s Forward Presence programme, stationed around the world for several years at a time, with the ship’s company changing on a regular basis.

More here.

Guided video tour of one of UK’s newest warships

Life onboard Offshore Patrol Vessel HMS Tamar.  View here (2 mins 20 secs); more about her here.

Campaign to set up Devonport sub hub centred on Courageous

Plans are afoot to preserve the submarine HMS Courageous and establish a Cold War Maritime Heritage Museum at Devonport.

Commander Ian Whitehouse, a former submarine CO, and Rear Admiral John Weale, recently retired FOSNI and Rear Admiral Submarines, are working with Plymouth City Council and the RN Museum to establish the new museum, with Courageous at its core, as part of the Devonport South Yard regeneration programme.

In essence, the project is to remember the history of the Cold War from Plymouth, the home of S and T class boats and the Submarine School until the migration of training and operations to HMNB Clyde.  The intent is to raise £40k by Christmas to enable a study of the feasibility and costings for a Cold War Museum, or sub hub, providing Courageous with a permanent, visitor-accessible home.  The submarine has been open to the public on a limited basis in a restricted area of Devonport Dockyard for nearly two decades, with tours offered by volunteers who have also restored her to reflect how she appeared in the 1980s at the height of the Cold War.

More here; fundraising campaign and donation facility here.

Pictures Submariners’ Association

SANO Treasurer vacancy

A vacancy will shortly arise following the resignation of SANO Treasurer Dusty Miller for employment reasons.  Interested members please contact the Secretary, Ray Wright.