Exercise Deep Blue

An anti-submarine warfare exercise bringing together the largest concentration of Merlin helicopters at sea.

Deep Blue involves the Merlins hunting submarines continuously around the clock – using either their dipping sonar, or passive sonobuoys (‘underwater ears’) – nine helicopters are needed, hence the size of the operation.  250 personnel have deployed, including pilots, observers, aircrewmen, engineers and other support staff. 

Operating from sea and conducting anti submarine warfarefrom helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigage HMS Westminster, this exercise presents an opportunity to deploy en-masse for the major exercise which runs through most of June.

What we are doing

High tempo, multi-aircraft exercise

Why we are there

To test the new Merlin Mk2 and prepare for operations on board the Queen Elizabeth class carrier

Deep Blue is a high tempo, multi-aircraft exercise which will test the new version of the Merlin but ultimately help us to prepare for operations onboard the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier. Operating from sea and conducting Anti Submarine Warfare is what we do, but this exercise presents an opportunity to deploy en-masse. 

Cdr Ben Franklin, Commanding Officer of the Maritime Merlin Force

Ready to fight

When diplomacy fails, the UK has to be ready to protect its interests and its allies. What’s more, as a member of NATO and the UN, the UK also acts to support the enforcement of UN resolutions and come to the aid of our allies. This is where the Royal Navy comes in: we train to go where we’re needed – by sea, land or air – and deploy our forces with the aim of restoring peace.

Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.

Location UK

820 Naval Air Squadron

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HMS Illustrious

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HMS Westminster

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700W Naval Air Squadron

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HMS Richmond

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