HMS Dauntless has spent the last 18 months in refit, with a two year period before that laid up as a harbour training ship due to manpower problems.

She sails today to baseline existing machinery performance before heading to Merseyside where she will be the first Type 45 to undergo the Power Improvement Project (PIP). This will involve removing the two existing diesel generators and replacing them with three more powerful ones. This is expected to be complete by the end of the year.
5 March 2013, A Royal Navy Sea King Mk4 helicopter from 845 Naval Air Squadron landing at a forward operating base during an exercise in northern Norway.

HMS Sutherland has complete her intense winter training in the Arctic Circle and is now heading for high-readiness tasking with NATO.

The Devonport-based Type 23 Frigate completed her participation in Norwegian-led Exercise Cold Response, during which the ‘Fighting Clan’ provided defence against submarines to the multinational task group but also conducted air defence and boarding training.

After a rare pause in Portsmouth, Sutherland is now heading to work with NATO’s Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1) – a task group made up of typically frigates and destroyers which patrols northern European waters to provide a reassuring presence.

“The Arctic environment set a number of challenges not just for the operations room, but for the engineers on board,” Weapon Engineer Officer Lieutenant Commander David Tinsley RN said.

“The weapons, marine and air engineering teams have had to contend with sub-zero temperatures and have stoically kept equipment at high-readiness, dealing with challenging issues when deployed at reach.

“This exercise has proved invaluable as we now look to integrate with the NATO SNMG1 group for the coming period.”

Sutherland worked closely with allies from Norway and the Netherlands during Cold Response, providing vital protecting to amphibious forces landing on Norway’s rugged coastline.

The Type 23 spent the majority of the exercises in a heightened state of readiness (State 2) and focused on her main specialism as an anti-submarine warfare ship.

There was also air defence exercises, during which Sutherland worked closely with HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl, a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy.

The embarked boarding team were tested, too. They were deployed on a mission to the KV Jarl, a Norwegian supply ship, where they proved their ability to board and search a vessel of interest.

Sutherland then sailed south to join the NATO task group, where she will remain on high-readiness to respond to crises in the region.

17 March 2020
The Royal Navy’s experts in remotely-piloted air systems have reached two major milestones in recent weeks.

700X Naval Air Squadron flew its Puma drone successfully in the harsh conditions of the Arctic Circle for the first time while back at their Culdrose base, instructors trained their 700th student.

It has been a hectic few months for the squadron who have been testing and operating the latest technology. It comes as the Royal Navy is embracing and investing in innovation to enhance future operations and show its commitment to being a leader in technological advancements.

In the Norwegian wilderness, unmanned aerial vehicle Puma underwent environmental training in a series of flight trials.

700X worked alongside Royal Marines from 29 Commando Royal Artillery, small boat specialists 47 Commando, 45 Commando and Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion. In each scenario, they wanted to see how Puma performed and reacted to below-freezing temperatures and icy landing sites.

On the water, as part of unmanned trial Exercise Autonomous Advance Force (AAF), Puma was launched from a 539 Squadron LCVP (landing craft vehicle personnel) for the first time. Data and information from its flight was fed into HMS Albion using an artificial intelligence system – also a first for 700X and Puma.

The squadron also worked alongside a fleet of Norwegian stealth corvettes, testing how Puma could work in amphibious operations.

Lieutenant Commander Justin Matthews, commanding officer of 700X, said: “This has proven to be a testing and challenging arena and has provided a great deal of information in the successful operation of Puma.

“700X will be looking ahead to the next stages which will include flying from larger ships and follow-on work from AAF.”

Alongside its work developing remote air systems for use on warships, 700X also trains people across defence in using quadcopters. These are useful tools which can be deployed by forces such as the Royal Marines or the British Army.

They have now trained 700 students and completing this latest course was Able Rate Sean Esson, from Fleet Diving Unit.

The instructors, a mix of aircrew, air traffic controllers, engineers and a Royal Marine, teach the first part of the course in the classroom, on the basics of how to fly remotely and how to use the technology for tactical benefit.

Then the students take to the skies for practical training from the nearby Second World War airfield at Predannack, on the Lizard peninsula. Their last test is a training mission on the spectacular, rocky coastline of north Cornwall.

Handing over the 700th certificate, Lt Cdr Matthews said: “I congratulate AB Esson on completing his course. This is an important milestone for us, as we continue to increase the capability of this technology across the whole of defence.

“There is no doubt that remotely-piloted technology is the future and we are making significant strides in this field of expertise. As we move forward, we shall continue to research, develop and test these systems, especially in their use with the Royal Navy.”


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