UK, Norway Train Against Fast-Attack Craft to Protect Naval Fleets

The UK Royal Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy have trained to protect naval fleets against fast-attack craft.

The Northern European Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) exercise in Bergen, Norway, trialed helicopter tactics with Martlet and Sea Venom missiles to repel fast-attack vessels from allied task groups and individual ships.

Improving Joint Force Effectiveness

During the drill, four British 815 Naval Air Squadron Wildcat helicopters were deployed from RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset, with 90 personnel to practice against an adversary team.

The “red force” consisted of two Royal Navy P2000 patrol vessels, the HMS Archer and HMS Pursuer, and several Norwegian Skjold-class stealth missile corvettes.

The enemy team utilized the advantage of elevated and rugged terrain on the coastline to challenge the Wildcats. This enabled the helicopters to plan and execute maritime firepower in a demanding and unfamiliar environment.

HNoMS Storm accompanies HMS Archer
HNoMS Storm accompanies HMS Archer. Photo: UK Royal Navy

“Undertaking high end warfighting exercises with JEF partners not only improves our operational capability, it also allows us to exploit each other’s strengths,” 815 Naval Air Squadron’s Lt. Cmdr. Sammy Haynes stated.

“This exchange of skills, information, and local knowledge has allowed all parties involved to further develop tactics and procedures; far improving their effectiveness in this different, exciting and challenging environment.”

Securing Northern European Stability

The Wildcat aircrew employed effective communication and interoperability throughout the exercise, completing 200 flying hours of immersive defense practice in hunting and intercepting fast patrol boats hiding on the jagged coastline.

“We have been able to improve our ability to work together as well as strengthening the relations with a key ally,” Norwegian Naval Fleet Chief Cdre. Trond Gimmingsrud said.

“I believe the exercise has also strengthened the Royal Navy’s ability to operate inshore and in waters around the UK. These are all key factors in making the Joint Expeditionary Force a responsive force which contributes to Northern European stability.”

“The highly-qualified crew in a very capable helicopter provides opposition at a level we rarely experience. The frequent and frank exchange of lessons identified, and development of new tactical ideas contributed greatly to our outcome.”

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