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Will We Make It to Sea?

Happy New Year!

The Ship’s Company responded well to the challenges of running this new warship over the Christmas leave period.  Everyone is now back onboard and we are sprinting towards that final hurdle, endorsement to go to sea.  Briefings, exercises and a great deal of individual research are underway with a growing anticipation, and a little trepidation, of the moment that we cast off from Glasgow and sail for Portsmouth. 

 The process to achieve this is well defined.  We have completed most of the material preparations, including, most importantly, the handover of a raft of systems from bVT.  These include the Gas Turbines and the whole of the propulsion system as well as the Navigational systems and some of the essential warfighting equipment such as communications, Identification Friend and Foe (IFF) and our Data Links  (which will allow us to exchange information with other warships and military aircraft).  Once handovers are complete, the Ship’s Company are responsible for running the equipment and for maintaining it – quite a challenge on these high tech systems.  We have conducted a ‘basin trial’, which involves running up the engines and proving power is available to the shafts – sounds easy, but it has proved testing as we tackle the complexities of the various control systems.

 

 Next week is taken up with a period of training and assessment by the staff of the Flag Officer Sea Training, who normally reside in Devonport.  They will oversee our ability to operate as a Ship’s Company at sea, especially in safety procedures and the reactions to emergencies.  On Wednesday we will undertake a ‘Fast Cruise’, when we pretend to be at sea and ensure that everyone knows their jobs and can turn up at the right place in reaction to an evolution or crisis.  We will sail through fog, have fires and floods, lose a member of the Ship’s Company, have a man-overboard, but hope to be spared ‘pestilence and plague!’.  On Friday, we present the Ship to a final inspection from a senior team from Portsmouth who will determine whether we are ready or not to go.  All being well, we will then sail that afternoon and proceed to sea. It will be sad to leave Glasgow, but fantastic to be at sea, where the Navy feel most comfortable (surprisingly enough!). 

 With such a new Ship’s Company, there is no certainty that we will make it to the required standard.  Nevertheless, the Ship’s Company are raring to prove themselves and I have little doubt that we will make it.  I will send an update as we approach the big decision.

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Photo of Paul Bennett Paul Bennett

(Currently: Moving Onboard HMS DARING)

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