The Royal Navy say that HMS Sutherland and her Merlin helicopter “plus one submarine” are taking part in Perisher – the demanding course which “determines whether prospective commanders have the right stuff”.

Those who pass the assessment will go on to command a submarine.

According to a Royal Navy news release:

“Much of Perisher – officially the Submarine Command Course – takes place in classrooms and simulators ashore as an experienced skipper, known as ‘Teacher’, and his staff put a select group of officers through their paces over several months. For the final few weeks, the course shifts to a submarine with real warships posing as adversaries to give the students ­and the hunters a thorough workout in shallow, confined waters and the open ocean.”

“While there always has been an intense – but friendly – rivalry between the surface and submarine fleets, there also has been a large amount of professional respect and admiration,” said Lieutenant Commander Dan O’Connell, HMS Sutherland’s principal underwater warfare officer.

“Being an active part of Perisher has been a great opportunity for the Fighting Clan to test herself against the best potential submarine commanders that the Royal Navy has to offer, and allowed Sutherland to remain at the cutting edge of anti-submarine warfare. We hope that we have provided adequate opposition to the submariners – and helped to maintain the reputation of Perisher as the hardest and most realistic submarine command course in the world.”

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Andy P

A minor point but this isn’t quite accurate.

“Those who pass the assessment will go on to command a submarine.”

They don’t all go on to get a drive of their own.


I could be wrong but my understanding is that it ‘qualifies’ you for command but it is rare to walk straight into a command role.

Also I believe the Navy needs a pool of qualified commanders in case they need a replacement at short notice, it is after all a stressful job they do if nothing else.

Andy P

Hi CR, aye, it qualifies them but then they get an XO’s gig before getting the training wheels off. Just my take but the ‘pool of talent’ is how its justified but in practice its rare that they get a second ‘drive’, its a bit of a poisoned chalice, if things go wrong ‘on your watch’ then it can bugger things up for the ‘career minded’. Certainly in the fairly recent past there was a ‘problem’ with guys passing Perishers and there wasn’t a headlong rush to give guys a second shot. Fortuitously for those involved, the problem was solved… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

The Merlin’s colour scheme?

Is one of the NAS a Tiger Sqn?


Yes 814 NAS, the RAF’s 230 squadron also.

Daniele Mandelli

Thanks Mark. 230 I knew. But nor the RN one.


Afternoon all. Anyone know how well the T23 fares against a pair of subs? Piggy in the middle with a T26 if you will. I presume they train for that too?
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Craig S

Love the way he said “Hope”. Gives me the impression the submarine remained undetected and he hasn’t a clue what the outcome was 😉

700 Glengarried Men

The express is running a story about a UK American submarine task force hunting a Russian sub in the North sea do you think this is a coincidence

Andy P

Probably, Perishers gets pencilled in in advance. The only reason a boat doing Perishers would be used would be if there were no other options (entirely possible in the current climate) but I would guess the Perisher course would be suspended if the boat was retasked. Entirely possible that The Express is printing bollox though.


Been reading some more details, apparantly the Russians have deployed a Yesen class (Kazan) SSGN with up to 5 SSN’s in an attempt to breakout into the Atlantic. It also appears that the RN has deployed two Astute’s and a Trafalger working along side some US Navy assets in an attempt to find them. If that is the case it could be a very good anti sub training exercise. Do I take everything I read about the RN sub deployments as fact, no, as we all know the RN never says where and what its subs are doing, so I… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

All possible but the Express? Sensationalist or what.


Perisher course, damn, I watched the 80s series and the more recent one. That course looked like it would fry my brain!!!!! I lost track of what he was saying and doing as he sat friggin down and asked for a coffee………..then again I know my capabilities but more importantly my limitations.


I learnt to fly in the US and there was a an ex-RN Submariner Navigator doing is flying ratings at the same time. The flight instructers were in awe of his ability to mentally compute course changes faster than anyone else could do it with a navigators computer (circular slide rule in effect). Basically, he used to have to be able to mentally keep track of what was going on around him and come up with course changes really quickly and accurately. Slow and / or inaccurate and, well not good. So yeh, the RN Silient Service is pretty damn… Read more »


I like the stripes on that chopper, I was gutted when sea kings wend and their nice black white.