HMS Prince of Wales and frigate HMS Richmond have joined Exercise Northern Viking 22, an exercise practising the defence of the sea routes around Iceland.

The Norwegian Navy tweeted the following.

According to Iceland, the exercise involves the defence of sea routes around Iceland:

The aim of the exercise includes practising the defence of the sea routes around Iceland and of important structures and security infrastructure, e.g. telecommunications cables. The participants will also practice the search and rescue of civilians, with the Icelandic Coast Guard and police.

Northern Viking includes an amphibious landing of American marines at Miðsandur in Hvalfjörður. The landing is planned for 11 April and temporary traffic restrictions may be expected in the area on the day. Members of the media will be invited to observe the exercise and related events, to the extent possible.

The exercise is open for participation of NATO allies and partners. The naval forces of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Norway have confirmed participation. Military vessels from these states will practice defending the sea routes to the south of Iceland and will participate in a submarine search off the coast of Iceland, with anti-submarine aircraft and helicopters.”

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Rob N
Rob N
6 days ago

It is great to see both carriers out and about supporting NATO. It will be even better when we get more F35s so both carriers can have them….

David Barry
David Barry
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Oh, you are so diplomatic. Do you mean to say that a carrier is sailing without embarked aviation?

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Less diplomatically…. Can’t attack anybody, can’t defend herself and it’ll be years before she can, assuming it ever happens.

Jay R
Jay R
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

The USMC are keeping Harriers in service until they have enough F35Bs to ŕeplace them, because the DOD base their decisions on common sense. The MOD kindly supplied the USMC with our Harriers at a discounted price, knowing full well the RN carriers would be without aircraft. And now here we are, a carrier floating around the Atlantic with no F35s. You couldn’t make it up.

Ian
Ian
6 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

MOD supplied the USMC with the Harriers to use as spare parts to try and keep their own creaking fleet in the air. Our ability to keep them flying ourselves was looking increasingly dubious given the age of the platforms and the lack of production lines for replacement parts.

Michael
Michael
6 days ago
Reply to  Ian

Precisely. It’s very questionable whether the MoD has actually bought enough F35s to equip both carriers (well, they haven’t, and in fact it’s doubtful we could field one wing simultaneously with a training squadron given current orders), but there was no use trying to squeeze much more life out of the Harriers and it’s not the UK government’s fault that Lockheed have been pitifully slow with this aircraft. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the RN’s current strategy doesn’t include operating Prince of Wales independently. One of the carriers (probably QE) will be used to constitute independent British task… Read more »

Rob N
Rob N
5 days ago
Reply to  Michael

I did mot realise that the final number of UK F35s had been announced….! As far as I know it has not been decided yet – there is a suggestion of 70. However given Russia is back on the threat list we may amend our order up to provide more capability.

I agree the current situation is not good but keeping the old Harriers was not viable.

Michael
Michael
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

You’re quite right. I didn’t mean to give the impression that the final number has been decided. I simply meant that the initial order, and the wording we have so far for the final number (which I believe was something like “at least 60”), is not quite in the right ballpark for two carrier groups. The defence select committee in December in their “we’re going to need a bigger navy” review pointed out that ≈60 would be cutting it fine even for one carrier group and a training squadron. As should go without seeing, I am hopeful the MoD will… Read more »

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Tell me about it Jay. Absolutely agree. I.ve been arguing this for the last two years or more. Any minute now we’ll probably get shot down by the Complacency Corp that cohabits these pages.

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

The “Compliancy Corp”……lol

RS
RS
6 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Apart from the ASW Merlins for what is largely an ASW exercise, ASW being a carrier role.

Jon
Jon
6 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Without embarked fixed-wing aviation, perhaps. I’m sure there will be helicopters, given there’s search and rescue and submarine hunting involved.

I admit it would be amusing to watch an F-35B attempt a mid ocean search and rescue. Less so for the poor soul being winched up, who’d arrive dry and a little crispy around the edges.

Matt
Matt
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

That’s next years April 1st.

F35 doing a hovering rescue at sea.

Can we also have one towing the Admiral K home?

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  Matt

Matt…A real April fools would be ” MOD orders more F35’s for Royal Navy”.

Tommo
Tommo
6 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

And also defend, Tescos, sorry Waitrose let alone Iceland

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  Tommo

The supermarket wars must really be getting dangerous. A carrier and a frigate! Type 32 class are to be known as the supermarket class, HMS tesco the lead vessel. Dazzle paint job in tesco colours

Tommo
Tommo
5 days ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Thank the Lord for loyalty cards ” every little helps ” is her Motto Monkey

David smile
David smile
6 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

I’m no aviation expert, but isn’t this is an excise involving exclusively helicopters and things, and covered by plenty of military airfields and a whole lot of fighter aircraft or all types from countless nato countries, and if for some strange reason there was a desperate need for f35’s on the carrier deck, couldn’t they just like fly there.
I mean, i have a ski rack on my suv, but i don’t feel the need to fill it up with skis everytime i use my suv

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  David Barry

Noooooooo don’t go there……

David Barry
David Barry
5 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Who let the dogs out… oops.

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
6 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

What would be the point of have some F35s on board if they just stayed in the hangar for the voyage as the exercises didn’t involve them ? If POW was acting as a command vessel for an amphibious assault and needed helicopters, etc, as she did in Norway – then what is the point of taking some jets along for a ride ? If she’s also acting as a similar vessel in Iceland then what is the point of taking some jets parked in the hangar ? Surely if WW3 kicked off unexpectedly while she was at sea without… Read more »

Grizzler
Grizzler
6 days ago

Rather expensive command and control vessel dont you think. According to many on here the reason for having the yanks on there is so that the crew can familiarise themselves with the requirements and train capabilities…so if that’s the case then yes there should always be some on board…that’s what the carrier’s were procured for, not as an helicopter pad or a C &C vessel , or as an extra carrier for the yanks. I have seen many arguements on here as to why they.cant be more at UK capacity now..some even make sense..but in essence we have not one… Read more »

James
James
6 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

We will never have 2 carriers capable of deploying full power combined as that was never the idea. The entire program was to have 1 capable carrier available 365 days a year. As these things cant be built and put into service 100% equipped, trained and manned over night it was always going to take time.

The F35 build rate especially in the specification we want is going to be slow so we are tied by that, sadly just have to wait.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach
6 days ago
Reply to  James

😱Here we go again.

Paul.P
Paul.P
6 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

‘not convinced they ever will’…nor am I. Brilliant evidence of UK engineering skills and teamwork but when your staff colleges have to find a doctrine to fit what you have bought…..?

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Was the plan ever to deploy both with fixed wing? I cannot remember but think the plan was only to have one available…I could be wrong though.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

Correct. From 2015 PM DC stated both would be available and crewed ( maintenance permitting ) rather than 1 always in reserve but the air group content/money was of course not lifted.

With the UCAV plans eventually should have an air group for both, but Merlin remains the critical pinch point.

Angus
Angus
6 days ago

Provide protection for the ships and ground forces, really you are a silly person

Uninformed Civvy Lurker
Uninformed Civvy Lurker
6 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Let’s keep our fingers crossed she makes it home safely without any protection whatsoever from those dangerous missions she is currently on.

James
James
6 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Who is going to attack the ships and ground forces in the current deployment exactly?

Angus
Angus
6 days ago
Reply to  James

You would have all such onboard for real so why not for training. Been there matey so know what we need. To send such a force in harms way without organic defence you would be mad and soon dead.

Jay R
Jay R
6 days ago
Reply to  Angus

As being as the carriers have no aircraft, they could use the deck for containers. Bit of extra revenue for the MOD to contribute to replacing the F35 that fell off the carrier on it’s 1st deployment.

David Barry
David Barry
5 days ago
Reply to  James

More of an expect the unexpected, be prepared for the worst.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell
6 days ago

I think the point is she is a £3.5 billion carrier. Therefore carrier aircraft and have the ability at least to defend herself. The QE class was supposed to carry 24-36 F35Bs and 12+ Merlins when deployed. Yet frequently we see the QE going to sea with 1 UK squadron at most. Need more F35Bs but the anaemic build rate and order rate is decided by the bean counters in the treasury. Besides we need more uk weaponry integrated via block 4 upgrade package before it makes any sense ordering any more f35s. So 2027 we should see completion of… Read more »

Marius
Marius
6 days ago

Right you are!

Frank62
Frank62
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Just POW. QE is alongside in Portsmouth atm & the last week or so.

David
David
5 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

No point ordering many more until block 4 is up and running, it will cost £25m per aircraft to upgrade the older ones I read, so buying newer ones would make sense in terms of keeping them operational for 2-3 decades.
It would take ages to train aircrew to add squadrons in any case, let alone basing and support. We have pitched in with the USMC like it or not and if a war popped up 20 USMC F35B would soon arrive potentially ilalian as well.

Last edited 5 days ago by David
HarryB
HarryB
6 days ago

I know the whole “Carriers without aircraft” is on the whole a lie, it is still nevertheless embarrassing and alarming that we couldn’t even put together a modest f35 force together for the exercise and truly demonstrates that the procurement of these carriers has not been as successful as some would like to think.

DP
DP
6 days ago

A bit off-subject but seeming as some guys here have brought up F-35 …. the F-35 has an array of sensors dotted around it to give the pilot all-round situational awareness but, like the nose-fitting on some Typhoons, is one of them a FLIR sensor? If so, I presume the distance it can work out to with image recognition is another generation on from Typhoon?

Jay R
Jay R
6 days ago
Reply to  DP

AN/AAQ-37 as fitted to the F35, is superior to any technology fitted to any 4th generation fighter, including Typhoon. Using 6 sensors it creates all aspect coverage, enabling the pilot to look through the floor of the aircraft. AN/AAQ-37 is the reason the F35 has no HUD, all imagery is projected on the pilots helmet. The exact specifications will be classified.

DP
DP
6 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Thanks Jay R, a fascinating subject of modern combat, let’s hope this tech proves its worth as a game changer with peer-on-peer exchanges.

Jon
Jon
6 days ago
Reply to  DP

The F-35’s FLIR is integrated into its AAQ-40 electro-optical targetting system. The Typhoon’s PIRATE (FLIR) system is separate. It’s claimed to track subsonic aircraft at 100km. In fact the Typhoon’s isn’t all that old, first installed about 15 years ago compared to the F-35’s EOTS from 11 years ago, but I know it’s been scheduled for an upgrade. If that’s already happened, it might well be better than the one on the F-35. It will also be interesting to see if the new Mk2 radar will leapfrog the F-35s. I just checked and Lockheed Martin say the AAQ-40 upgrade, Advanced… Read more »

Last edited 6 days ago by Jon
DP
DP
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Thanks Jon, this all stems from a fanciful idea I’ve been running through my head, with the escalation in Russia’s aggression westwards, do we replace the Tranche 1 Typhoons with the latest UK variant of Typhoon, with latest AESA RADAR, or push for more F35s? F35 would have more legs in terms of service life/upgrade scope perhaps but the latest Ukrainian escalation has shown we probably don’t necessarily need very-top-end 5th gen in everything to meet a peer-on-peer engagement with Russia, latest UK Typhoon variant would be more than a match for most. Given the delays with F35 release 4… Read more »

Jon
Jon
6 days ago
Reply to  DP

I’d certainly go for 24 Tranche 4+ Typhoons were the budget available. That’s half the number of Trache 1 being taken out of service, but it’s a reasonable compromise. It’s available, with production lines still open and the Germans building their Tranche 4 planes. One issue with F-35 right now is the lack of a UK standoff missile for the platform. Spear won’t have anything like the distance of the Typhoon’s Storm Shadow or the forthcoming FC/ASW, and even Spear integration is likely to slip from 2025 to 2026. We could buy JSM, but we won’t, or we could throw… Read more »

Jay R
Jay R
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

F35 is the way to go for the UK, post brexit.

DP
DP
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

“The F-35B is a great force multiplier … but it’s currently not providing the force at range. I recall Rowland White’s “Phoenix Squadron” and the Buccaneer operation over Belize from Ark Royal. Really think we need a Tanker variant of the Vixen/Mosquito UAV to come good but as with all systems nowadays needs to be a cost-effective, versatile solution so doubling as a son-of-Crowsnest with increased range, maybe a COD system also? Given the QE-class design, a significant challenge, given the weight-to-lift involved.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke
6 days ago
Reply to  Jon

As with everything it is a case of ‘when did you upgrade’

Very often the whole reason for slowing the upgrade cycle is to have the latest tech rather than yesterday’s tech.

As you say Typhoon may well have a better radar and FLIR after its upgrade is completed which it ART slated for T3.

DP
DP
6 days ago
Reply to  Heidfirst

The sharpness of imagery is really impressive, thanks Heidfirst.

RS
RS
6 days ago

As the article notes, and US Navy press releases make clear, ASW is a major part of this exercise, and ASW is a carrier role. PWLS is carrying a number of Merlin HM2 Pingers for non stop submarine hunting, cued by the towed array equipped RICHMOND.

Paul42
Paul42
6 days ago

How exactly is POW contributing to defending anything without anything to defend it with?

Angus
Angus
6 days ago
Reply to  Paul42

Exactly, she’s a flat top with loads of space that moves around (better defence than a fixed airfield). She should always have something embarked to support the team.Plenty room even for 6 F35’s embarked without affecting Helo numbers or troops.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  Angus

Her role just now must not require F35b on the carrier. If she needed them they would be sent. The navy are the experts on carrier opsonises The U.K. does have the issue of needing block 4 aircraft to be ready. Lockheed are making a huge mess Of that. It’s so important and yet they are years behind schedule. So frustrating. Years ago one of the issues with the new software was they fix one bit and it was throwing out loads more errors. Then as they are fixed it creates other errors. I really hope they are close to… Read more »

Smudge
Smudge
6 days ago

I can’t believe the carriers were built without under flight deck heating to keep the snow off! 🙄 More cost cutting by the MoD….

Airborne
Airborne
5 days ago

All those cheap frozen meals for a pound must be getting more important!!!!

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
5 days ago
Reply to  Airborne

The way prices at the shops were today I will need to sign up to the senior service.
I just hope it’s called that because you can join at any age😂😂😂

Jackal_Mercenaries
Jackal_Mercenaries
5 days ago

These guys are having fun, shovelling snow, viewing dolphins and the northern lights, etc while innocent Ukrainians are dying. Why are they not standing up to genocide? Children, young girls raped and murdered. Utter disgrace!

Andybrit
Andybrit
5 days ago

Growing up in England I remember the “cod war” confrontation with Iceland and our fishermen, we had to call in the Royal Navy to protect our fishing fleet and our ground!!

Anyone else remember that??

Perhaps Iceland, should say sorry for what they did before we pull in our big fleet to now back the up??

Just an observation!!