News story: Royal Navy helicopters in NATO submarine-hunting exercise

#1
Ministry of Defence said:
Ships, submarines and aircraft from 14 nations have converged on Sicily for the 2-week war game, with the Royal Navy detachment having arrived at US Naval Air Station Sigonella close to Mount Etna.
In the most recent strand of Proud Manta, 814 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) scrambled a Merlin helicopter, with the sun just rising above Europe’s largest and most active volcano, to hunt 2 submarines reported to have entered its area of responsibility.
Heading out into the Mediterranean the Merlin crew began their search in earnest and were able to close in on an Italian submarine using their active dipping sonar.
Effectively ‘cornering’ the submarine - not an easy task given the size of the Mediterranean, the Merlin showed its teeth as it swooped in for a simulated attack run.

A Naval Air Squadron Merlin helicopter on exercise in the Mediterranean [Picture: Crown copyright]Lieutenant Hannah Best, an observer with 814 NAS, explained:
Going up against submarines is always difficult. They are extremely capable and often very hard to track, so when we find one it is a great achievement.
The helicopter crew managed to complete 4 simulated attacks on the Italian boat before heading back to base.
Lieutenant Best, who only last summer was safeguarding the skies over Weymouth during the 2012 Olympics, added:
It’s always exciting when you are operating with real submarines; and working with the other nations in NATO is such a great opportunity and is of massive training benefit to us as aircrew.
Searching for submarines in the Mediterranean isn’t the only challenge being faced by the Culdrose-based fliers. The Royal Navy detachment arrived at Sigonella to find Etna was erupting for the first time this year.

A Naval Air Squadron Merlin helicopter on exercise in the Mediterranean [Picture: Crown copyright]The detachment’s logistics officer, Lieutenant Matt Cullen, said:
Lava was shooting thousands of metres into the air as an ash cloud reminiscent of the one that covered much of Europe in 2010 spread over Catania.
They were also greeted by a violent thunderstorm which transformed the streets of Catania into furious torrents - 50 litres of rain fell in every square metre in just 30 minutes.
Lieutenant Cullen added:
I have never seen so much water flowing in a city - it was as if I was driving through a raging river as parked cars, bicycles and tables and chairs started floating past.
I reached the airfield just in time as the engineers did their best to protect the helicopters from the downpour.

A Naval Air Squadron Merlin helicopter on exercise in the Mediterranean [Picture: Crown copyright]The weather was, of course, not going to get the best of the Merlin men and women. As the sun came out, the water drained away and the volcanic ash blew clear of the airfield, and the aircrews were back in the air to pursue a Greek diesel-electric submarine in company with an American P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
One of 829 Naval Air Squadron’s observers, Lieutenant Karen Snel, said:
It was a really successful first sortie for me - we established communications with the Americans and then opened up into our search area.
Proud Manta continues until the middle of the month as the Culdrose aircrews continue to take their chances against their submarine foe.
The detachment from 814 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons will then fly back to Cornwall to share their experiences with the rest of the Merlin community as they return to their usual role operating from Royal Navy warships.



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#2
Royal Navy anti submarine helicopter trains in anti submarine warfare... now where did we put our diesel boats?
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
well to be fair its harder to find an enemy sub than one of ours so they probably need the practice.
 
#4
KROM. The canucks are still kicking the tyres and making sucking sounds with their teeth.
 
#5
Too true, who needs a dipping sonar when one tips up on a rock or t.other accidentally rams one of our allies... Royal Navy, making me laugh for many a year. Canucks? Swimming for it...
 

Bouillabaisse

LE
Book Reviewer
#8
"Can't understand it, Guv. It were working fine when we parked it up."
They were fine when we handed them over. Trouble was the stupid buggers wanted to change things and the Canadian govt wanted the work done in Canada by Canadians. Only the Canadians didn't have a ****ing clue. Result - 4 working boats stop working. Moral of the story - don't let politicians **** about with detail.
 
#9
They were fine when we handed them over. Trouble was the stupid buggers wanted to change things and the Canadian govt wanted the work done in Canada by Canadians. Only the Canadians didn't have a ****ing clue. Result - 4 working boats stop working. Moral of the story - don't let politicians **** about with detail.
Well that is what they say in Barrow...
 
#10
Joking aside the U's were the dogs doodahas. Never heard anyone who served on them have a bad word. Yanks thought they were good as well.
 
#11
The politicians and bean counters did not like them.
 
#14
They were fine when we handed them over. Trouble was the stupid buggers wanted to change things and the Canadian govt wanted the work done in Canada by Canadians. Only the Canadians didn't have a ****ing clue. Result - 4 working boats stop working. Moral of the story - don't let politicians **** about with detail.
Think the main problem was changing the torpedo system over to the standard Mk 48 torpedo as used by the RCN and USN, just so we could use up our stock of them. Penny wise, Pound foolish is the description I think. We could have just used the Mk 48s on the surface ships (assuming that destroyers and frigates still have torpedo tubes), and bought the applicable weaponry for the Upholders from the RNs suppliers, or built them ourselves under licence.
But what do I know, I'm just an ex Cpl ground crew.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
couldn't they just have a rebore or a sabot to make them fit?
 
#16
No idea, outside my area. As I read it a year or so ago they are still toothless, what we have are just expensive training aids for the ASW types it seems.

Edit: just had a look at Wikipedia for the MK 48 and the Spearfish, the diameter is the same for both, and the Mk 48 is 4 feet shorter, so it should fit in the tube. Must be some sort of software thing or something.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
The problem was with the fire control system, from what I remember reading of it.
they should have tried the new brit system where you sail around until you hit the enemy.
 

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