Coastal forces turn foe for final carrier exercises

Topic: Operational activityInternational partnership Storyline: HMNB Portsmouth

The Portsmouth-based Coastal Forces Squadron has dispersed on summer deployment after around half the units played the role of foe when the UK Carrier Strike Group completed its final work-up before global deployment.

Swarm attacks, preying on a surfaced submarine and a choke-point ambush were launched during the 10-day manoeuvres off the north-west Scottish coast by the six Archer class P2000 boats.

HMS Archer, Biter, Charger, Express, Puncher and Trumpeter imitated the tactics of fast attack craft, testing the ability of HMS Queen Elizabeth, her escorts and aircraft to defend themselves and to develop their own tactics.

The CFS deployment to Scotland also included simulated raids against HMS Albion ahead of her Littoral Response Group (North) deployment, and the component units of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, currently led by Canadian frigate HMCS Halifax.

Ten national navies and NATO commanders benefitted from the surface combat training which the fast patrol boats provided.

This included an 18-ship swarm attack on SNMG1, simulating missile, IED and torpedo carrying vessels, trialling of new cyber equipment, six P2000s attacking an Astute class submarine to develop their tactics for dealing with surface threats, and a tactics development serial with HMS Defender and UK and US Marine Corps F-35s and Wildcat armed with the new Martlet missile. The P2000s mocked an attack on a ship in a choke point, whilst the Type 45 destroyer guided the aircraft to eradicate the threat.

The Coastal Forces Squadron is on its annual summer deployment, visiting ports and harbours around the UK, providing sea training for university cadets, and providing a layer of inshore security for national defence.

Strike Warrior was an excellent opportunity for the Coastal Forces Squadron to support the delivery of the Carrier Strike Group for deployment. We interacted with everything from F-35s to submarines, trialling new equipment and tactics throughout. The ships have exceeded my expectations at every turn to deliver such a high-class performance.

Commanding Officer of Coastal Forces Squadron, Cdr Jamie Wells