History Meets the Future in One Gigantic Maritime Weekend
The QE2 sailed into Greenock yesterday morning escorted by the Royal Navy Type 42 Destroyer HMS Manchester – in the navy’s final tribute to an old friend from the Falkands War.
For the QE2, it is a last ever visit to the Clyde, where she was built 41 years ago.
HMS Manchester then joins 28 other warships for the biggest military exercise in Europe this year – two weeks in which thousands of sailors, airmen and soldiers will train across the length and breadth of Britain.
Warrant Officer Bill Parry payed a sentimental visit to the Cunard liner, about to retire from service; he was one of many Falklands veterans repatriated by the ship when his own, HMS Antelope, was sunk in the conflict 26 years ago.
The Sunday morning sailing links cities across the country – the QEII was built in Glasgow, HMS Manchester is Portsmouth based but is, of course, affiliated to Manchester, and the liner’s home port is Southampton.
The QE2 is possibly the most famous luxury liner in the world and was STUFT, a Ship Taken Up From Trade, to help in the Falklands War, taking troops to and from the South Atlantic.
Such were her svelte lines that she did much of her running bravely unescorted as the Royal Navy admits to difficulty in keeping up with her.
HMS Manchester – is one of four of the third batch of Type 42 destroyers built with lessons learned from the Falklands, herself a svelte and extremely capable warship which still provides the backbone of the navy’s current fleet air defence.
Several of her sister Type 42s served in the Falklands conflict.
The UK and eight NATO and allied countries in all will take part in Exercise Joint Warrior – 29 ships, four submarines - and one hundred fast jet sorties a day for the next two weeks. Scotland, the Borders and Wales will see most of the action.
Land owners, fishermen, tourist bosses, farmers and environmentalists have all been consulted to ensure that the exercise goes as smoothly as possible.
Michael Gallagher, the Cunard spokesman on board the QE2 said: “She is a great ship – she served her country in her time of need and she has served Cunard with great distinction – of course her last visit to the Clyde will bring a lump to the throat.
I am sure that all on board will be delighted at having a Royal Navy escort.”
As for HMS Manchester, the circle is completed in January when she heads for the South Atlantic and Falklands Guard Duty.
Burgh Author Keith Hall Shows ‘Defiance’ With New Book About Devonport and Its Submarines
A Former submariner, who lives in Clynder and works at Faslane, has recently flexed his literary muscles to come-up with the definitive book on Devonport Submarine Base.
Keith Hall has written ‘HMS Defiance – Devonport’s Submarine Base’, which came out in August and promises to give an authoritative history of the site, including previously unpublished plans and illustrations, and a whole new account of the historic base.
“I used to serve on R-boats as a Chief Petty Officer,” explained Keith. “For years I collected photographs and information about the various submarine bases and one day decided to try my hand at writing a book. Before long I had five under my belt. This one will be my sixth.”
The majority of Keith’s books are on submarines and the real-life stories that make the Service so fascinating to the general public. As well as being a labour of love, Keith donates the profits from his books to a variety of charities.
“I’m getting too old for sponsored runs and cycle rides,” said Keith. “So I decided that the money from my books would be donated instead. I’m planning on profits from my latest book to go to the Devonport submarine museum and to the dockyard museum.”
Keith lives in Clynder near HM Naval Base Clyde with wife Hilary and works in the base’s Health Physics Department. He is already planning new books on the history of Polaris and Malta submarine base and hopes to have them completed some time next year, as well as updating his previous book on the Clyde Submarine Base.
QinetiQ Secures Multi-Million Pound Submarine Contract
A multi-million pound deal between the Ministry of Defence and UK research establishment QinetiQ has secured the support and expertise needed to ensure the continued operation of the current submarine fleet and the development of technology for future generations it was confirmed today, Wednesday 3 September 2008.
In the 15-year contract, worth L200million, the Maritime Strategic Capabilities Agreement (MSCA) will secure the MOD's access to maritime research facilities, including the Ocean Basin at Haslar, a Ship Towing Tank and Shock Laboratory Machines, and to a range of experts in submarine hydrodynamics, structure and survivability, and maritime life support.
Making the announcement at QinetiQ's Haslar site in Portsmouth, Minister for Defence Equipment and Support Baroness Taylor said:
"As part of the Defence Industrial Strategy, the MOD is committed to investing in high level technical expertise in the UK to sustain a dynamic engineering industry. Hydromechanics, Submarine Structures and Life Support are three key areas for such investment.
"MSCA through QinetiQ will provide access to advanced modelling of submarine hull forms for the MOD's future submarine programme, sophisticated chemical analysis for atmosphere control in in-service submarines and hydrodynamic facilities for the detailed testing of the innovative hull to be used by the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers.
"It will also ensure emergency advice is immediately available when required to keep our fleets operating safely today."
Admiral Ian Tibbitt, Director General Safety and Engineering at MOD Defence Equipment and Support, added:
"The MSC Agreement secures the long term availability of cutting edge submarine and marine science expertise necessary both to support the continued safe running of today's flotilla, which is a duty of care that we must exercise when operating in our demanding environment, and to enable the design of future submarines and vessels, such as the Vanguard Class successor."
Under the contract, which secures a number of highly skilled jobs at Gosport and Rosyth, any surface ship work within the MOD programme will also be undertaken maximising the use of the facilities.
A Year of Ambitions Achieved For a Royal Navy Engineer
A Royal Navy engineer, based at Barrow-in-Furness, has achieved two of his greatest ambitions this year.
He took over as the Weapon Engineering Officer on board HMS Ambush – the most powerful attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy – and graduated from the Open University with a PhD in History.
Explaining his passion for learning at his graduation ceremony at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham, Lieutenant Commander Bruce Russell said:
“Most of my colleagues ask me why I put myself through the additional strain of a doctorate while also being in charge of the build programme of a new nuclear submarine?
“Quite simply, I wanted to set myself a personal challenge that was different to my naval career – and achieve it before my 40th birthday,” explained Bruce.
It took eight and a half years, but the senior engineering officer graduated following the submission of a 98,000 word thesis: ‘International Law at Sea, Economic Warfare, and Britain’s Response to the German U-boat Campaign during the First World War’.
The 39-year old, who now lives in Ulverston in Cumbria, joined the Royal Navy in 1987. He has spent his career to date serving in submarines.
As the Weapon Engineering Officer, he is responsible to the Commanding Officer for all the weapons, sensors, communications and computer systems on the boat.
“Getting the largest and most powerful class of attack submarine ever built for the Royal Navy ready for launch is my next challenge,” said Bruce. “Together with the rest of the team we will be working hard to make sure that she is ready to enter service with the Fleet.”
HMS Ambush, the second of the new Astute Class attack submarines, is being built at Barrow-in-Furness by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions. She is due to be launched in 2009 and enter service with the Royal Navy after extensive sea trials.
Attack submarines like Ambush are designed to pursue and attack enemy submarines and surface ships using torpedoes. They are also able to carry "cruise" missiles for use against shore-based targets. This type of submarine is used to conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering tasks as well as other types of classified operations.
New UK nuclear submarine launched
The Royal Navy's latest nuclear submarine has been launched by the Duchess of Cornwall, almost four years behind schedule.
HMS Astute is the first of four new vessels that will be the UK's largest and most powerful attack submarines.
Defence minister Lord Drayson called it "a truly remarkable vessel, and her importance cannot be underestimated".
The L3.5bn programme was dogged by delays and budget overruns, with the government putting in an extra L450m.
Astute was launched at the BAE Systems shipyard in Barrow, Cumbria, which employs about 3,000 people.
Dockyard workers, schoolchildren, naval personnel, VIP guests and navy top brass were among the 10,000 visitors who cheered as Camilla launched Astute with a bottle of beer brewed by her crew.
"As an Admiral's wife myself, I am delighted to be in Barrow-in-Furness today for the naming and launching of Astute," she said.
Ron Jones, 58, from the Wirral, is a draughtsman for BAE Systems who was at the launch.
He said: "It's a proud moment when you see it rolling out. I was only a small cog in building it, but you still feel part of it."
Also attending the launch was Carol Jones, 59, also from the Wirral, who said: "It's a fantastic piece of engineering, a national achievement, but I think it looks quite frightening, all in black."
BAE Systems says the project is more technologically complex than the space shuttle.
Each of the four new Astute Class vessels will weigh 7,800 metric tons - equivalent to 1,000 double-decker buses - and be almost 100 metres (328ft) long.
The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, described them as "immensely powerful".
He said: "They will form a key part of our future programme, giving the Royal Navy the versatility and technical excellence needed to operate successfully across the globe in decades to come."
The government signed the Astute contract in 1997 but the first hull sections were not laid until 2001.
Astute will become HMS Astute when it enters service in 2009.
She will create her own oxygen and fresh water from seawater and will be armed with Spearfish torpedoes and Tomahawk cruise missiles capable of hitting a target 2,000km inland.
Along with the three other Astute Class vessels - Ambush, Artful and Audacious - she will be commissioned for 25 years.
It is the first time that the Duchess of Cornwall has launched a vessel.
She was presented with a retriever puppy, as a retriever is on Astute's crest. The puppy will be donated as a guide dog for the blind.
Submarine, type of warship designed to operate completely underwater for long periods of time. They are designed to submerge and surface, and to maneuver quietly underwater to avoid detection. Submarines can launch a variety of weapons including torpedoes, mines, antiship and land-attack cruise missiles, and submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with nuclear warheads.
Modern submarines have a cylindrical hull that tapers at one end and forms a blunt, rounded nose at the other end. They are usually made of high-quality steel but may also be made out of titanium. Most modern submarines are powered by nuclear energy, though some rely on diesel engines and electric batteries for propulsion.
Photo in the News: Crashed U.S. Nuclear Submarine
February 1, 2005—The U.S. Navy released this photograph last Thursday of the nuclear submarine San Francisco, which crashed headlong into an uncharted undersea mountain near Guam on January 8. Standing more than three stories high and with classified technology veiled by a tarp, the fast-attack submarine is shown awaiting repairs in a Guam dry dock.
The impact shredded the submarine's nose, killed one sailor, and injured 60 more. The sailors were largely protected by the vessel's reinforced inner hull, which did not rupture. After the wreck, the crew quickly ascended and sailed along the ocean's surface back to their base in Guam.
Modern Nuclear Submarine:
Modern submarines are an important part of a country’s military forces. Attack submarines, like the USS Asheville shown here, are primarily used to hunt other submarines or surface warships. They can also fire at land targets with cruise missiles.
Submarine design and complexity have evolved considerably since the first efforts to build submarines over 500 years ago. Accounts of pre-industrial submarines of the 1500s describe small oar-propelled wooden boats covered in treated leather, which would allow them to travel at or just below the water’s surface for short distances. In contrast, the nuclear attack submarine USS Seawolf is 107.6 m (353 ft) long, made of steel, and is armed with a variety of weapons. The USS Seawolf has a crew of 130, and can travel around the world completely submerged at depths in excess of 460 m (1500 ft).
The use of submarines in warfare has evolved steadily with improvements in their diving ability, underwater endurance, and weapons technology. Submarines of the 1700s and early 1800s were larger in size than their predecessors, but were still primitive hand-powered ships, with rudimentary and often ineffective explosive weapons. Periscopes, which enabled submariners to view the surface waters while remaining shallowly submerged, were added to submarines in the mid-1800s. By the outbreak of World War I (1914-1918), most industrialized countries had acquired a first generation fleet of crude but effective diesel-electric submarines. World War II (1939-1945) submarines improved upon these designs with better engines and longer ranges.