Showing posts with label sea. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sea. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Royal Navy completes largest Arctic defence exercise since the Cold War

Photo Royal Navy / Crown Copyright


More than 3,000 sailors and Royal Marines were deployed deep inside the Arctic Circle – ashore, at sea and in the skies of Norway – to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to safeguarding Europe’s ‘northern flank’ against any aggressor.

They joined more than 27,000 personnel, warships, armour, and air power from more than two dozen NATO allies and partners for Cold Response 2022, the largest military exercise hosted in Norway since the Cold War.

Britain’s biggest warship, HMS Prince of Wales, led the naval fleet, demonstrating her ability to act as NATO command ship – a role she will hold for the rest of 2022.

This was the first time one of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers has been so far north, with more than 1,000 sailors gaining their first experience of operating in the Arctic region.

Royal Navy sailors pushed the boundaries of what the 65,000-tonne flagship can do, as the crew developed new ways of working and coping with temperatures as low as -30 Celsius.

HMS Prince of Wales commanding officer, Captain Steve Higham,  “As we continue to operate in and around the Arctic with our allies and partners, the sailors on HMS Prince of Wales are continuing to learn the skills, and build the experience that allow the Royal Navy to push the boundaries of UK carrier operations in the cold, harsh environment.”

Photo Royal Navy / Crown Copyright
The ship’s role in the exercise saw her work side-by-side with a breadth of British and Allied air power from F-35B Lightning stealth fighters to the Americans’ unique Osprey MV22 tiltrotor aircraft and Sea Stallion helicopters.

The fortnight-long exercise – on top of several months of preparatory training both in the UK and Arctic – allowed the Royal Navy to demonstrate some of its unique capabilities, from launching commando raids from submarines to operating a fifth-generation aircraft carrier in sub-zero conditions for the first time.

The Royal Marines practised and honed new raiding tactics for stealth missions on the treacherous Norwegian coastline, supported by host nation forces, as well as conducting more regular manoeuvres and drills honed over more than half a century as the UK’s experts in Arctic warfare.

Meanwhile, divers from HMS Grimsby plunged into the icy fjords to neutralise mines and pave the way for task forces to sail through safely.