Sussex Navy News

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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.

Collingwood welcomes new recruits

A new batch of Part 1 trainees have begun their Royal Navy careers at HMS Collingwood.

Eighty one years to the week since the RN’s biggest training establishment opened its gates for the first time, as a new entry training establishment for ‘hostilities only’ seaman ratings to meet the demands of World War 2, a new box of recruits received their uniforms and underwent fitness tests ready to begin their Royal Navy careers.  Over the next ten weeks, 22 men and women will complete their initial training, the first of 500 civilians to be turned into sailors there this year.

The base is meeting a surge in demand to join the Fleet, and plans to strengthen the Navy by 3,000 over the next three years.  Collingwood follows BRNC Dartmouth, the alma mater of the officer cadre, which trained 100 new junior ratings last year.  The establishments are providing training alongside HMS Raleigh in Torpoint, the traditional home of initial rating training.  It receives around 60 raw recruits a week, and is also increasing its throughput to meet the additional numbers.

More here and here.  Short RN film on training ratings at BRNC here (3 mins 20s).

CSG21 deployment signed and sealed

The UK Defence Secretary and his US counterpart have signed a declaration supporting the Carrier Strike Group 2021 deployment.

Led by RN carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth on its inaugural deployment, CSG21 will be complemented by US Marine Corps and US Navy personnel and equipment, including F-35B Lightning II aircraft and destroyer USS The Sullivans.  Indications are that the deployment will see the group sail via the Med and Gulf for the Pacific.

USS The Sullivans sails astern of HMS Queen Elizabeth on her first RAS, with RFA Fort Victoria, North Sea, 30 September 2020

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“… I am delighted that the UK now possesses a 21st century Carrier Strike capability, which has been greatly assisted by the unswerving support and cooperation of the United States at all levels over the past decade.

This deployment embodies the strength of our bilateral ties, and reflects the depth and breadth of this vital defence and security partnership.”

More here and here.