HMS Duncan is one of the high-value targets submarines will be after during Dynamic Manta 18, NATO’s annual Mediterranean Anti-Submarine Warfare exercise.

814 and 829 Naval Air Squadrons and a pair of Merlin helicopters have been tasked to protect the warship.

HMS Daring is primarily an anti-air platform and as such, has limited ability to hunt submarines.

As well as anti-submarine warfare, a Royal Navy press release says there will also be surface attacks for the nine participating surface ships – from Belgium, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, UK, and USA – to fend off.

“As anti-submarine-warfare includes all three dimensions, special attention needs to be placed upon the air – it’s important for aircrews from various NATO nations’ to come and train together in this truly challenging environment,” explained Greece’s Commodore Andreas Vettos, overseeing the aerial element of the exercise.

“Our sailors study and work hard to develop their undersea abilities.  Dynamic Manta will give our airborne, surface, and submarine teams a valuable chance to test themselves during complex scenarios,” said Rear Admiral Andrew Lennon, the American in charge of NATO’s submarine forces – and the man in charge of the exercise.

“The long list of ships, submarines, and aircraft participating clearly shows NATO’s commitment to maritime training.”


  1. Why do we have a type 45 doing this exercise? Yes they might one day come up against submarines but surely this is a better exercise for a type 23? It would be a great exspereince for a deadicated submatine hunting ship.

  2. Two helicopters that can only operate for 4 hours at a time verses a 24/7 submarine. Not a chance, and why do we need to mobilise 2 air squadrons to field just 2 helicopters?

  3. T45 has a bow mounted MF sonar that is similar in performance to a T23 bow mounted set. So its going to be using its set in passive and active mode.
    OK so a T45 is not a S2087 equipped T23 but the T23’s without the tail conducts ASW in exactly the same way as a T45 will, pinging away and acting as the ASW commander driving the helos around the screen or taking turns as acting as the HVU.
    Environmental conditions in the med are usually pretty good so you should get a decent detection range in active.
    The thing with ASW ( Awfully Slow Warfare) is its time intensive and a dedicated skill set. It takes time to master well and its a skill set that fades with inaction. Its not just the Sonar operators that will learn everyone else will . Noise hygiene on board, machinery states, weapon reloads on the helo, comms procedures in the OPS room, and lots and lots of night flying will all be required.

    • Two questions….

      1 – Are the rumours from maybe 6 months ago about the T45 being as noisy as “a bag of spanners” true, untrue, exaggerated?

      2 – If T45 is unusually noisy, does that really mess badly with ASW work or does the backend sonar processing have some level of noise cancelling to subtract the noise from the listening vessel?

      • Most ships that are not pure ASW ships are noisy. That can be both an advantage or disadvantage. Being noisy can allow you to hide amongst civilian traffic…a T22 batch 2 with a tail I was on managed to avoid detection in this way. ..the sub thought we where a ferry or tanker…add in deceptive lighting at night and it all makes a subs job a little bit harder.
        Modern active sonars can compensate for ships generated noise. With Hull Vibration monitoring equipment you can usually self monitor your own noise level, identify offending kit and either fix it or turn it off.

        • Thanks Gunbuster. I really appreciate experts like you taking the time to respond to question from people like me who, although trying to learn, often are starting with pretty much no idea which way is up. One can always make what one hopes are intelligent guesses/assumptions but it is invaluable to get comments from people who can confirm or correct such assumptions as necessary.

  4. Not that I would know but it seems to me an expensive way to protect a ship from Submarines. Would a dedicated ASW kit be; Cheaper? and more effective?

    • It is rather the point of ASW helicopters like the Merlin. The issue with dedicated ASW kit on the ship is that the ship has to get in range of the submarine to attack it, by which point it’s in range of the submarine’s weapons. With helicopters you don’t have that problem, plus the obvious advantage of being able to reposition at 120kts if you want to go and look for the submarine somewhere else.


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