There will be a partial theme to this week, but there's a few interesting things that I want to draw your attention to first.
We start with the Royal Navy hydrographic survey vessel HMS Enterprise. As she passed through the Red Sea, having left the Egyptian port of Safaga, Enterprise discovered and surveyed an under sea canyon. The images that she was able to create with her multi-beam echo sounder are truly fantastic and well worth a look. The link to the story is here.
Next up, the Royal Navy's latest Astute-class nuclear attack submarine has been commissioned into service. Ambush has now formally become HMS Ambush, and pending the completion of her sea trials she'll be handed over to the Royal Navy later this year. Link here.
Sticking with the Royal Navy for a little longer, the Ministry of Defence is looking into the feasibility of creating an anti-ballistic missile capability on the Type 45 Destroyer. This is a capability that some warships around the world have now acquired, with Japanese Destroyers having "live fire" tested their ability to shoot down satellites as a demonstration of their ability to track and engage high speed orbital objects. One of the first things to be investigated on Type 45 is whether its radars can do the same. Full story here.
Now we're going to start getting into the nitty gritty of today's post.
The theme (of sorts) picks up from where I left off last time I did one of these links and videos posts; training. Accept today we're introducing an international flavour to things.
Recently over at Think Defence I was taking part in a discussion that led me to sharing some of my recent thoughts on defence cooperation between the UK and its international allies. For me, and considering the reductions that are taking place in the armed forces, working with foreign partners will only become more - not less - important. So I was pleased to find a number of links around the web that pick up on this theme.
One of our most important partners at the minute is France, reaping the fruits of recent defence cooperation treaties signed between our two countries. The evidence of this partnership is already beginning to show as demonstrated for example by Exercise Steel Sabre, conducted on the Otterburn ranges in Northumberland.
French artillery gunners have been practising alongside UK soldiers to improve cooperation and interoperability. The following two videos give you an excellent run down of whats been happening, including a look at a rather fancy facility for artillery spotting;
But it's not just the army getting in on the act. A Royal Navy Lynx from 815 Squadron has been on anti-piracy patrol in the Indian Ocean as the on board helicopter for the French frigate Surcouf, which is ironic given that the vessel is named after a French officer who made his fame and fortune as a corsair attacking British merchant shipping in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Full story here.
Jet aircraft will also be getting a run around, starting on Monday, as UK and French forces take part in a two week exercise in the South of Wales as part of the work up to prepare the two countries for the formation of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
Three squadrons of French naval combat aircraft - including two squadrons of Rafales - as well as French paratroopers and forward air controllers, will be working alongside British forces to practice the coordination of air support into fire plans involving things like mortar and artillery fire.
The bombing and strafing runs will take place at two training areas. The first is the ranges at Castlemartin. If you go to Google maps and type in "Mount Sion covert" then the map should zero in on the middle of the extensive range area. The Pembrey range is to the east. If you type in "Pembrey airport", then the strafing range is right next to it amongst the sands, although Pembrey is now largely an electronic range.
Here's a link to the full story about that.
Moving away from operations alongside the French, British forces have also been conducting a number of exercises around the world with other partners.
Out in the Gulf, four minehunters, an RFA Bay-class landing ship, and a pair of Frigates, have been taking part in a mine warfare exercise alonsgide sailors from the US. More details here. Also, Merlin helicopters from 814 and 829 Naval air squadrons have been taking part in a major NATO anti-submarine exercise off Sicily, combating both Italian submarines and Italian volcanoes as part of exercise "Proud Manta". Article here.
British forces have also been training in climatic extremes, as B Squadron of 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards have been in Brunei testing their Jungle skills alongside the Gurkhas. Read more here.
Which brings us to the end of today's piece. My hope is that at some point over this weekend I can sit down and put fingers to keys on a more detailed explanation of my thoughts regarding international cooperation, where I think we could focus, and why, fleshing out some of the details of the thoughts I first laid down on the forums of Think Defence.
Time permitting, as ever.
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As Tesco are fond of saying; every little helps.