814 Naval Air Squadron was invited to take part in Dynamic Manta, a NATO anti-submarine warfare exercise.
Dynamic Manta is one of two large-scale anti-submarine exercises NATO runs; the other, Dynamic Mongoose, tests the ability of those same forces but in the cooler waters of the North and Norwegian Seas.
According to the Royal Navy in a release:
“Nine surface ships led the hunt for five boats – including one British attack submarine – as helicopters such as those from 814 dropped sonobuoys and ‘dipped’ their sonar in the Mediterranean to listen for the tell-tale noises made by their underwater foes.
The chance to ‘play’ with both nuclear and conventional diesel-powered submarines in waters six degrees warmer and nearly ten times deeper than around the squadron’s native Cornwall – all factors which affect the ability of sonar to find boats – made Dynamic Manta an extremely useful training exercise.”
“We succeeded in tracking ‘hostile’ submarines and scored confirmed kills. There was also some friendly cooperation with a boat – not all submariners deserve a torpedo from a Merlin!” said Commander Sarah Birchett, 814’s Commanding Officer.