Navy and RAF’s subhunters join forces to discuss the future

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet Storyline: HMS Glasgow

The RAF’s subhunters of today met the Royal Navy’s subhunters of tomorrow when they spent a day with the Type 26 frigate community on the Clyde.

Aircrew from CXX Squadron – who conduct long-range maritime surveillance missions monitoring activity on and beneath the waves courtesy of nine Poseidon P-8 patrol aircraft – spent a day with sailors from HMS Glasgow, the first Type 26, and experts from BAE Systems who are building the entire class of warships to replace the aging Type 23s.

Poseidon is one of the teeth of the anti-submarine ‘trident’ protecting the UK from hostile threats beneath the waves, alongside a Merlin Mk2 helicopter and a Type 23/26 frigate.

In service with the RAF since 2020 and based on a Boeing 737-800 airliner, it replaces seats for passengers with an array of sensors and suite of computers to crunch data – including from sonobuoy listening devices (dropped in the path of a suspected submarine to help locate and track it) and high-resolution area mapping to pinpoint contacts of interest on and below the waves.

HMS Glasgow forged an alliance with the squadron almost from the moment the first sailors joined the ship and crew headed up to Moray for a glimpse inside a Poseidon back in the spring.

That hospitality was reciprocated when a team of pilots, weapon system officers and weapons system operators made the 180-mile trip down to the Clyde to see the Type 26s under construction at BAE’s Scotstoun and Govan yard.

The former has been home to HMS Glasgow for the past 12 months as she undergoes fitting out/trials/completion.

Her ship’s company, led by Senior Naval Officer Commander Phil Burgess, provided the fliers with an update on the progress with the new frigate programme – and what we can expect from them when they enter service later this decade.

And in turn the RAF guests gave everyone at Scotstoun an insight into the role of the nine Poseidon – not just anti-submarine warfare, but also search and rescue, humanitarian aid and evacuation and, in future, potentially anti-surface warfare.

The brief finished by covering the importance of the cooperation between the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and how the work by BAE Systems plays a key role in the joint endeavour.

“When in service we will be working closely with our RAF colleagues; it’s great to be able to be able to build these relationships and develop a greater understanding of the future capabilities at this early stage,” said Commander Burgess.

The crux of the visit was a tour of HMS Glasgow, with the RAF visitors particularly impressed by the size and scale of the frigate, even in her current state of build.
The tour focused on key areas such as the ops room, accommodation, quarter deck where the towed array sonar system will be installed and Sea Ceptor and Mk41 missile silos.
The visit concluded with a look around HMS Cardiff – from the hardstanding at BAE’s Govan yard across the Clyde.

The RAF visitors returned to Lossiemouth with a framed image of the ship and HMS Glasgow cap tally as a token of friendship between the two services and units.