HMS Defender - 2018 update

Update - August 2018

After sailing for the first time since coming out of an extensive refit period, DEFENDER has spent many days and nights at sea. The main effort as a whole has been in preparing the ship for being accepted back in to the Fleet.  The start of this period was focused on post upkeep trials where almost every element of the Ship has been put through its paces (including our sailors) to ensure reliability and maximum operational effectiveness.

 

As well as periods at Sea allowing DEFENDER to achieve key milestones for aviation and gunnery currency, the Ship has spent time in Portsmouth allowing time for essential system improvement and ironing out of any issues that inevitably arise from extensive periods of such engineering complexity.

 

DEFENDER also conducted her first foreign port visit in Brest, France which was a great opportunity for the Ship’s Company to bond and reflect on their significant achievements to date.

 

Successful aviation MOT leads to Green Deck!

In May DEFENDER achieved a significant moment in the journey to become a fully operational warship; the Flight Deck was passed ’green‘ for operational use.

 

Once the equipment was proven the Ship’s Company were put to the test, seeing if they could deal with an aircraft crashing on the Flight Deck. The Crash on Deck Exercise (CODEX) simulates fires, floods and multiple casualties to test the Ship’s reactions and to practice the damage control procedures.   

 

A Wildcat helicopter from 815 Sqn (call sign ‘Rascal’) conducted day and night ’deck-bashing’, ie landing and launching from the Ship multiple times whilst simulating aviation emergencies from fuel spills to the catastrophic scenario of, the aircraft ditching at sea.

 

 

What Next?

Many members of DEFENDER’s Ship’s Company will now be able to take some well deserved summer leave, with just a minimal ‘Duty Watch’ remaining on board ensuring the safety of the ship.  The rest and recuperation is definitely required as the autumn brings with it the most intense period of activity DEFENDER will have seen for a long time. 

 

Initially there will be a 3 week ‘Fleet Time Support Period’ where the Ship will have the remaining essential works conducted before she sails again to begin a work-up package on the road to Operational Sea Training (OST) toward the end of October.  This period will be high intensity training on board in the South Coast Exercise Areas, continually testing whole ship reactions to emergencies and war fighting scenarios as well as more detailed and complex serials for each individual department.  Once DEFENDER completes this the Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) staff will endorse her as ready for operations.

 

 

 

Gunnery Trials go with a BLAST!

 

DEFENDER has successfully re-commissioned all of her gunnery systems by conducting test firings on all weapons from the General Purpose Machine Guns to the 4.5 inch Medium Calibre Gun with live ammunition.  This was the culmination of complex alignment checks and safety training that is required to fire live ordnance at sea.

 

A variety of targets were used throughout the trial including a giant orange inflatable float termed as the ‘Killer Tomato’ and a simulated missile towed by an aircraft just above the waves!

 

DEFENDER has fired over 150 rounds of 4.5 inch ammunition, 3700 rounds of 20mm ammunition and over 10000 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition in completing her calibration trials.