The Royal Navy Type 23 Duke class frigate HMS Montrose (F236) participated in a major bi-annual multi-national military training, Exercise Joint Warrior after completing Basic Operation Sea training (BOST) on April 12, 2018.
After the six week BOST, the Ship’s Company went on leave late on the Thursday evening, but were back at it first thing Monday morning in order to get ready for the second half of the month.
First order of business was a move out to the ammunition buoys on the river Tamar to take on more 4.5 inch High Explosive shells and Sea Ceptor missiles in support of our planning exercises and test firings. With a temporary set back caused by 45 mile an hour, the ship sailed on time on Wednesday to make all haste for Scotland.
Whilst it is always pleasant to return to the beautiful Scottish Isles, this was no ‘Western Isles Cruise’ as we had some important roles to undertake.
Firstly, Montrose, along with two Dutch warships, was to act as adversary to two diesel electric submarines full of the next generation of Danish and Dutch Submariner Captains undertaking the NATO SMCC (Submarine Command Course) all itching to prove that they can sink a ‘Skimmer’.
The four days of training saw the ship move into Defence Watches, with 50% of the Ship’s Company ‘stood to’ 24 hours a day ready to fight the ship using the ‘6 on 6 off’ routine. This meant that if not up and about to fight the ship, they were resting, eating, sleeping or completing routine work or maintenance.
Whilst the Mighty Montrose surely took the upper hand, we are sure the submariners may have a different tale to tell – but only the first attack really counts!
On completion of NATO SMCC, the ship shifted gear to take up position within a NATO task group taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior. The exercise consists of 11,700 sailors, soldiers and airmen from seventeen NATO countries proving that NATO can co-ordinate operations on the sea, on the land and in the Air.
The week saw HMS Montrose defend herself against small craft attacks, provide live gunnery to land force requests, conduct boarding operations against simulated embargo breakers, deal with more submarines, as well as a myriad of other activities.
All the time the Marine Engineers provided propulsion and lighting whilst the Logistics Department fed the 190 Ship’s Company with four meals a day.
The training opportunity that Exercise Joint Warrior provides will further prepare the ship to be deployed as either part of a task group or as a singleton unit to anywhere in the world.
The UK remains committed to NATO and our European Allies and exercises such as Joint Warrior, which is developed and run by the UK-led Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff, are a practical sign of that commitment.