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HMS Sussex Shipmates Association has informed us that CPO Richard ‘Dickie’ Holden crossed the bar peacefully at his home in Bognor Regis on 14 June 2021 aged 94. The more mature SANO members may recall that he was a long serving member of HMS Sussex.
On behalf of the Association, the EC extends its condolences to his family and friends.
Royal Marines trial virtual reality
Royal Marines from 40 Commando’s Alpha Company have trialled the use of virtual reality technology to sharpen combat tactics and techniques. The training programme has been developed by SimCentric and is able to take commandos into challenging virtual combat scenarios around the world at the press of a button.
Virtual scenarios can be constructed for specific operations and feedback to analyse the success of each serial is given. Its use is to support real-life training, not replace it.
It is part of Future Commando Force development and allows marines to focus on important tactics and techniques, before using them in real-life training exercises. The system supports close combat and vehicle training and can be easily adapted to bring in new environments and situations to challenge the users.
RN gets first unmanned minesweeping system
The Royal Navy is set to receive three world-class autonomous minesweepers to work on mine disposal operations and reduce the risk to sailors on these dangerous missions.
The crewless system is the first of its kind in the navy and will allow personnel to neutralise mines at range while on operations around the globe. Thanks to its cutting-edge technology, the system, known as a Combined Influence Sweep (Sweep), can defeat modern digital sea mines which can pose risks by detecting and targeting passing ships and submarines.
Dreadnought “on track for delivery early 2030s”
The Defence Secretary has confirmed that first of class nuclear missile submarine HMS Dreadnought is on track for delivery in the early 2030s.
In reply to a Parliamentary Question, Secretary of State Ben Wallace said:
“The (Dreadnought) programme, underpinned by around 30,000 defence nuclear enterprise jobs across the United Kingdom, remains on track to deliver the first of class in the early 2030s. The programme will sustain thousands of jobs across the United Kingdom….”
The 2020 annual update to Parliament on Dreadnought stated that, despite the pandemic, the Dreadnought programme continued to remain within overall budget, and on track for the first of class to enter service in the early 2030s.
The 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review estimated that the programme was likely to cost a total of £31 billion, including inflation over the lifetime of the programme, and set a contingency of £10 billion. As of 31 March 2020, £8.5 billion had been spent in total on concept, assessment and delivery phases, of which £1.6-billion was spent in financial year 2019-20.
HMS Sussex RNVR gate plaque appeal
The RNVR gate plaque of the former HMS Sussex is for sale, and the subject of a GoFundMe appeal by the wife of a member of the unit aiming for its public display. The appeal has now received pledges approaching half its £1,800 target.
Members who were at HMS Sussex may be interested in pledging a contribution.
New legislation on fair treatment for armed forces
New legislation to help prevent armed forces personnel, veterans and their families being disadvantaged when accessing key public services such as healthcare, education and housing has been introduced in the House of Commons.
An Armed Forces Bill will enshrine the Armed Forces Covenant in law. It will introduce a legal duty for relevant UK public bodies to have due regard to the principles of the Covenant, increasing awareness among public bodies of the unique nature of military service and improving the level of service for members of the armed forces community
The Bill will also improve the Service Justice System for service personnel, wherever operating.
Shoreham crew due back in UK after Gulf show of force
Six months of demanding operations in punishing temperatures and challenging conditions are over for Crew 5 of SANO affiliate HMS Shoreham. The 45 sailors are now gearing up to return to the UK, after handing over to MCM1 Crew 7.
The RN rotates its crews through its four minehunters based in Bahrain, with sailors spending four to six months in the Gulf before trading places with a crew from the UK. Crew 5, from Faslane-based 1st Mine Countermeasures Squadron, took charge of Shoreham, after a period in Covid quarantine, in late July. Temperatures were then regularly topping 45°C with high humidity, making for exhausting conditions on deck and testing air conditioning and cooling systems to the limit.
Shoreham, leading below left, was in company with HM Ships Brocklesby, Montrose and Penzance for a recent freedom of navigation patrol in the Gulf. Such operations reinforce internationally-recognised rights and freedoms by challenging excessive maritime claims.
More here and here.