The Royal Navy’s Wildcat maritime attack helicopters have demonstrated their ability to hunt down and engage enemy forces during “a game of cat and mouse in the Norwegian fjords”.

Yeovilton-based 815 Naval Air Squadron have been exercising with four of the Royal Navy’s P2000 patrol vessels, two Norwegian corvettes and frigate HNoMS Roald Amundsen off Bergen.

Alongside the P2000s, the Wildcats were tasked with finding and targeting the Skjold-class corvettes amongst the many inlets and narrow waterways of the fjords.

“In one particular scenario, HMS Biter and HMS Exploit, part of the Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces Squadron, headed north from Bergen, while fellow P2000s HMS Trumpeter and HMS Blazer headed south to use their skills and expertise to locate the Norwegian vessels before relaying that information to 815 NAS who were charged with making simulated attacks.

Capable of 60 knots, the Skjolds are fast and agile – using their camouflage to blend into the landscape, which their crew knows like the back of their hand.

However, aircrew from 815 NAS were more than up for the challenge, employing newly developed tactics to fend off the fast attack craft threat. “

Lieutenant Maxwell Randles-Hall, an 815 NAS Observer, said in a news release:

“The Norwegian Fjords present a challenging and unforgiving operating area for aircraft. As a result, Wildcat crews must effectively employ every sensor and system to succeed in their mission and evade attack. The topography gifts a significant advantage to the opposition forces, played by the P2000s and Skolds, so crews must think extremely carefully about their every move, working as a team to methodically neutralise targets.”

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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. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815285)
28 days ago

I thought the Archers were primarily for the URNUs.
Are they being used in a recon capacity now???!
Wouldn’t a drone be better, or are we still “informing decisions” with those?

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815302)
28 days ago

Well, they’re apparently part of the “Coastal Forces Squadron”, so I suppose that could mean a more active/aggressive role? But don’t worry mate, it was only ““In one particular scenario”, so it’s not like we’re planning on putting lightly armoured and armed patrol boats in harm’s way all the time. Only when we don’t have another small, fast vessel for operating in coastal waters available…


Jon
Jon (@guest_815331)
28 days ago

They’ve been playing Red forces in Northern exercises on and off for years, but it seems like most exercises in the Baltic or Norwegian seas these days we send a few of the Archers. If they get a bit of variety playing scout, why not? As well as that and URNU they also patrol the Clyde and other riverine spots.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815345)
28 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Yes, 2 very similar Mull and Rona carry the RM as part of the defensive set up around Faslane, Coulport.
Sure, no harm in it just worried they’d found another official use!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_815502)
28 days ago

Would be very limiting if the Archers sole use was to train university students (many of whom won’t even jon the RN) in seamanship. They are Patrol ships as well as being training vessels. I know not everyone likes Wiki but this extract is useful: “The Archer class (or P2000) is a class of patrol and training vessel in service with the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy, commonly referred to as a “fast training boat”.[1] Most are assigned to Coastal Forces Squadron. HMS Tracker and HMS Raider are armed and provide maritime force protection to high value shipping in the Firth… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815504)
28 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

An asset to be utilised then. Patrol especially.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815303)
28 days ago

Interesting that the Wildcats were apparently using “newly developed techniques”, not sure what that would entail.
Also, is it too much to hope that they were simulating Sea Venom usage, rather than Martlet…?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815315)
28 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

Do they have LINK yet?

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815365)
28 days ago

Good question. Last report I saw was Jan, and stated work was “ongoing” in that regard. But it seemed it was more of implementing it onto the airframes, than still testing how to do so. So best case is some have it but may not yet be rolled out across the whole fleet?

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_815335)
28 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

New tactics and methods are constantly being worked on.

Joe16
Joe16 (@guest_815366)
28 days ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Quite, but was more wondering if any work out in the gulf searching for Houthi gun runners and suchlike had trickled back yet.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay (@guest_815401)
28 days ago
Reply to  Joe16

I’m sure it has. Lynx/Wildcats have been doing this for years though. They are pretty handy at it.

DeeBee
DeeBee (@guest_815336)
28 days ago

Did we sink any of those viking B*stars??

SailorBoy
SailorBoy (@guest_815400)
28 days ago

Skjold corvettes just look magnificent, don’t they?
If Mr Radakin’s fast missile boats for the Navy (if they happen) look anything like as mean as those semi-hovercraft, stealth, 60+ knot Norwegian beasts our money would be well spent.

Hugo
Hugo (@guest_815405)
28 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

Any link to that? I’ve never heard of the RN looking at fast attack craft.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815417)
28 days ago
Reply to  Hugo

Recent comments from CDS apparently. He also mentioned “Missile Battalions” for the army, and the RA don’t have Battalions, so who knows what he is referring to.
At least on the RN side he should know what he is about!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_815416)
28 days ago
Reply to  SailorBoy

They do. Saw one up close at Bergan and was impressed.
The RN are a blue water navy though, as you know. So we don’t really need them do we.
They still look great though.

Pete
Pete (@guest_815430)
28 days ago

With potential for swarms of unmanned naval vessels attacking coastal infrastructure or shipping then the concept of FAC that can loiter and react quickly may have more merit.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_815472)
28 days ago
Reply to  Pete

They could put a RWS on the P2000s as I believe they are able to take the 20mm. A Kraken RWS which could house Martlet and or a cannon and why not add 2*2 Sea Brimstone or a Sea Venom!? Might need to upgrade the engines to the original specs. I think on a previous post someone here mentioned that these craft could potentially do 40+ knots! That’s 2/3rds the way there! Lol 😁.

Last edited 28 days ago by Quentin D63
Jon
Jon (@guest_815516)
28 days ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

These hulls are a bit long in the tooth to warrant a new engine and upgunning, aren’t they? Archer itself will hit 40 next year.

Even the B2s can’t get up a sustained speed beyond 24 knots despite having a more powerful engine unless it’s in a calm sea. So just the engine won’t help much. You would also have to have them patrol somewhere more tranquil than the North Sea.

Last edited 28 days ago by Jon
Quentin D63
Quentin D63 (@guest_815534)
27 days ago
Reply to  Jon

My apologies as I had no idea the Archer’s were that old! That’s positively ancient! Hope they can be replaced with something that is more adaptable and that can handle some useful armaments.

Last edited 27 days ago by Quentin D63
Greg Smith
Greg Smith (@guest_815459)
28 days ago

HMS Bitty….
Should be a doddle hunting boats in a fjord. Loads of cover and contained area.

OldLag
OldLag (@guest_815556)
27 days ago

Our cruise ship was in Stavanger on Sunday and had to maneuver its way in between double stacked NATO ships, mainly frigates UK/French/German/Spanish/Dutch and a couple of supply ships UK and I think German. Many sailors in the pubs/restaurants almost all in army type camo uniforms and with mixed sex crews a couple walking hand in hand. It was raining but a nice change for them from the freezing Norwegian Sea.

Brom
Brom (@guest_815560)
27 days ago

Whe should have a dozen of those skjolds, fantastic capabilities for minimal manning

RobW
RobW (@guest_815633)
27 days ago
Reply to  Brom

What would we use them for? They are a specific asset that’s useful given Norway’s geography. Fast boats working in and around the fjords.

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_815643)
26 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Good question. Worth having a debate though about what might replace the Archers in the ‘Coastal Forces Squadron’.

Last edited 26 days ago by Paul.P