French forces are hosting an exercise named ‘ORCA’ in the Atlantic, off Brest.

The exercise emphasises anti-submarine warfare, say the French MoD. However, there is an element involving Rafale aircraft simulating attacks against a number of NATO surface ships.

According to a news release from the French Ministry of Defence:

“Many surface, submarine and air assets are involved. For the fight component above the surface, these are the multi-mission frigate Bretagne , the high seas patrol vessel Premier Maitre L’Her , a nuclear attack submarine, two Atlantique 2 and a helicopter in support of the anti-submarine warfare and a Hawkeye. 

Eight surface ships integrated into the SNMG1 (standing NATO maritime group – permanent multinational naval force of NATO in the Atlantic), the Belgian frigates Leopold I , Canadian Toronto , Portuguese Corte Real , German Mecklenburg Vorpommern , British Northumberland, Polish General Kazimierz Pulaski and Spanish Mendez Nunez as well as a German submarine.

To simulate air attacks against surface units, several Rafale Marine fighters and aerial plastrons will be engaged.”

It should be noted that HMS Northumberland isn’t actually present, she’s in Faslane.

The French Ministry of Defence also say that the exercise will be conducted in two phases. 

“The first will consist in basic exercises, without particular scenario, with the participating forces divided into two groups. The second will develop the exercises of the initial phase, within a tactical theme illustrative of a high intensity engagement.”

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Malcolm Rich

A German submarine, the finally got one repaired then!!!

Malcolm Rich

Spell check, I meant they…


Looking at the above picture the Germans like to keep their VLMS close to their bridge and as seen in 2018 with the that can be a little too close for comfort

Supportive Bloke

The problem is that if the ship is not very deep the VLS farm ends up being pushed back simply down to the length of the VLS and the hull curve. So there are then only two places it can go – in front of the bridge or behind it. Behind it is defined by the helo deck and the engine exhausts. So once you take those constraints into consideration there is not much choice at all.

That is why the RN’s bigger hulls give more flexibility to space things out and also make damage control a better proposition.

Jason Holmes

ctikey! hope they have double glazing !


B….y hell! Did anyone on the bridge survive that? Bet that got rid of their breakfast rather quickly…


Yeah, only two minor injuries apparently.


Still old Exocets in that one.

Paul T

Ive just seen on another site the RCN has confirmed its Armament for its Future CSC T26 based Ships – looks like they are having SeaCeptor as well as SM-2 and ESSM,thats a very Capable AAW mix.


It’s odd to Sea Ceptor and ESSM on the same ship. Are they really planning to introduce a new missile system (two if they go with tomahawk) with such interloping capabilities?

Paul T

Yes apparently the SeaCeptor will be employed as a PDMS instead of the Phalanx CIWS,the RNZN ANZAC Class Frigates have been refitted in Canadian Shipyards ,the Canadian Authorities got to have a good look at S-C and what it offers.While Maximum Range is similar to ESSM,Minimum Engagement Range is less for S-C which was a Major selling point.


Interesting, thanks for the info. Perhaps the UK will do away with Phalanx soon enough?