Fast-paced workout for Gibraltar around the Rock

Gibraltar-based sailors proved their readiness and ability to defend the Rock after a week-long workout with the territory’s other protectors.

The RN Gibraltar Squadron – a couple of dozen personnel crewing fast patrol boats HMS Sabre and Scimitar plus three Pacific 24 RIBs – linked up with their waterborne counterparts from the Gibraltar Police, plus the RAF and troops of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment.

 

The imaginatively-titled GIBEX19 was designed to see how well the military units on the Rock could collectively respond to not one, but two simultaneous major incidents: a vehicle crashing into an aircraft at the RAF-run airfield leading to an inferno… while at the opposite end of the runway another careless driver had careered into the Bay of Gibraltar, trapping several people in his submerged car.

 

That was the climax to the exercise which opened with the various forces carrying out independent training before combining their equipment, skills and experience for the double-disaster.

The exercise provided us with a great opportunity to get out on the water and train hard with our colleagues in the Gibraltar Defence Police, as well as interacting with RAF Gibraltar personnel on the airfield and Royal Gibraltar Regiment on land.

Leading Seaman David Gee

Highlights of the squadron’s training included ‘fast pacing’ drills with three Pacific 24s approaching HMS Sabre at various speeds, ‘touching on’ before peeling off, resetting and doing so again.

 

“Fast pacing allows the RIB coxswains to practise precise ship handling at high speed in close proximity to another vessel,” explained Leading Seaman David Gee, the squadron’s senior RIB coxswain..

 

There were also opportunities for some gunnery funnery with live and blank firings of the weapon systems on board all craft and participation in a simulated search and rescue.

 

The blank firings took place inside the Bay of Gibraltar with a Pacific 24 taking on the role of the ‘enemy’ as HMS Scimitar practised defending her sister ship.

 

The squadron works with the Defence Police on a daily basis to safeguard the Rock’s territorial waters. Link ups with the RAF and Royal Gibraltar Regiment are less frequent, so Commanding Officer Lieutenant Commander Kyle Walkley and his team enjoyed the broader experience… all the time also upholding their core duty of protecting Gib.

 

“The exercise provided us with a great opportunity to get out on the water and train hard with our colleagues in the Gibraltar Defence Police, as well as interacting with RAF Gibraltar personnel on the airfield and Royal Gibraltar Regiment on land.

 

“At the height of GIBEX, I deployed all of my units – HMS Scimitar, Sabre and all three Pacific 24s, along with two police vessels in a strong demonstration of the maritime capability that British Forces Gibraltar has to offer.”