The UK and US sent four ships, a submarine and a maritime patrol aircraft to the Arctic Circle for an anti-submarine warfare exercise.

For the exercise, Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Donald Cook and USS Porter, fast combat support ship USNS Supply, were joined by the Royal Navy’s HMS Kent.

“We are working with our partners to enhance our combined capabilities as we conduct maritime security operations and training in the Arctic region,” said Vice Adm. Lisa Franchetti, commander U.S. 6th Fleet, in a news release.

“Our ships must be prepared to operate across all mission sets, even in the most unforgiving environments. This is especially critical in the Arctic, where the austere weather environment demands constant vigilance and practice.”

HMS Kent, USNS Supply RAS

Additionally, a US submarine, as well as a P8-A Poseidon multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft from Patrol Squadron 4 supported the training. This exercise is designed, say the US Navy, to reinforce the combined training that the nations received last month while participating in the UK’s Submarine Command Course (SMCC).

Commander Matt Sykes, the Commanding Officer of HMS Kent, said in a Royal Navy statement:

“I am delighted for HMS Kent to have this opportunity to work with our US allies. Conducting an exercise in the Arctic Circle is a new challenge for the ship’s company whose dedication and professionalism in preparing for this exercise have been impressive. The challenges of working in this extreme environment should not be underestimated but HMS Kent’s presence here continues to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the north Atlantic and high north. Finally, I would like to thank the friends and families of HMS Kent for their unswerving support throughout this period.”

According to a US Navy release:

“The multinational antisubmarine exercise in the High North, made up of approximately 1,200 Sailors from the U.S. Navy and Royal Navy, is the latest in a series of U.S. ships operating above the Arctic Circle. In 2018, elements of the USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group and the USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group operated above the Arctic Circle in support of NATO exercise Trident Juncture. In 2019, the forward deployed destroyer USS Donald Cook and a SAG from U.S 2nd Fleet led by USS Normandy (CG 60) and USS Farragut (DDG 99)  also operated separately above the Arctic Circle.”

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Nicholas

I’d like to think that we are still the best in the world at sub hunting although I have no data to back this up. Opinions?

Nigel Collins

We can’t be too bad!

“Thales has been awarded a £330 million contract to equip the Royal NavyContinuous at Sea Deterrent (CASD) submarines with the latest Sonar 2076 system and Combat System Mast. Sonar 2076 is the world’s most advanced sonar suite and is currently in service with the Navy’s Trafalgar and Astute Class submarines. The Combat System Mast combines world-class visuals, electronic warfare and communications.”

https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/united-kingdom/news/thales-deliver-next-generation-sonar-systems-royal-navys-dreadnought-submarines

Nigel Collins

“Sonar 2087 is a towed array sonar designed and manufactured by Thales Underwater Systems at sites in the UK (Cheadle Heath in Stockport and Templecombe in Somerset) and in France (Brest). Sonar 2087 replaces the older Sonar 2031 in the Royal Navy and equips eight Type 23 frigates. The system is also expected to equip the Royal Navy’s future Type 26 Global Combat Ship starting around 2020.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonar_2087

Gavin Gordon

In addition to the our ASW T23 towed arrays, HMS Portland has become the first to receive the latest iteration hull mounted unit S2150. This will become the base hull sonar for the T26.

Meirion X

There are similarities here between computer components designed for either desktops or laptops. Components for laptops are miniaturized to fit small spaces like submarines.

Meirion X

I meant, just like in submarines.

Joe16

I’d agree we’re up there, we’re one of the few navies to have dedicated high-end platforms that we regularly train with and fairly regularly update. The USN doesn’t have a dedicated ASW platform, and use mostly Sea Hawks operating from Burke-class destroyers. They’re not bad, but Burkes don’t all have towed arrays (I don’t think), and their hulls aren’t optimised for quiet running, so I doubt they’re top of the line for ASW. But they do the job for US Carrier groups. They were supposed to be integrating a specialised ASW module with AUVs and stuff into the Littoral Combat… Read more »

Meirion X

Also the Burkes have only got have gas turbines engines.

Joe16

Good point, it’s not just the hull that needs to be optimised for a dedicated ASW platform!

Gunbuster

They tried to make them quieter by putting a n electric drive motor on the shaft line to use for ASW ops. Lets just say it wasnt a great idea or solution to the issue of a noisy ship doing ASW. I am pretty sure it died a death.

Nicholas

What the US, and others have, that we do not is an advanced weapon to attack subs with. It would be scant consolation to say that you had detected the sub if it went on to damage your carrier. The Sting Ray is a decent torpedo, as far as I know, but is more than 30 years old now. There have been hints coming out of the RN/MoD that the RN having used an anti-ship missile in anger in over 30 years and so they cannot see needing one now. It seems to me that the current view on defense… Read more »

Nicholas

Having NOT used an anti-ship missile in nearly 30 years. Sea Skua in Iraq the last time?

Nicholas
Joe16

It’s a good point you make, but I don’t think that it’s something to be concerned by; there are a number of people on here (ex-RN guys who worked with the weapons systems), and they say hands down that the Stingray is a better weapon than the Mk54 which is the USN’s equivalent. I’ve no idea about the French version, but I’d expect it to be as good as the Mk54 at least. The Stingray has a more advanced motor and is therefore faster and longer-ranged, but also has a more effective shaped-charge warhead. The torpedoes we’re using are, by… Read more »

Meirion X

I wondered if Stingray could be ASROC’ize, and launched from the Harpoon tubes on T23s?

Joe16

I believe the answer is yes, but we’d have to come up with the rocket launcher body etc.
Gunbuster would be your man to give a better answer I’d think.
One thing I wonder is, how effective all these ASROCs and vessel torpedo tubes are for killing subs; it may be that the real killers are the helicopters, so we don’t bother with anything else? As far as I’m aware it was only our helicopters who actively went after a submarine target in the Falklands. Just a thought, I really don’t know the answer.

Gavin Gordon

I’ve wondered for some time whether a developement of Stingray would make a good basis for a tube launched anti-torpedo torpedo. After all, we are talking about underwater missiles, so the lack of such an active point defence capability looks initially odd when compared with the numerous equivalents mounted as a counter to the air threat.

Joe16

The European version does have a version for this apparently, but I don’t know how good they’d be. “Manoueverable” is a relative term underwater, and I wonder how efectively something travelling at 40 knots could course correct to hit another object travelling at 40 knots…

Gavin Gordon

Not surprised to hear that at all, of course, which really means that Stingray should or easily could be the same. Don’t see relative speed being too much of a factor since speed of launch and target detection sensitivity would be prime. An anti missile doesn’t have to be as fast as the inbound, just in front of it for the most part. However, if we’re not going to mount it for ready use in T26/31 it’s moot anyway. Gunbuster may have some input.
Cheers

Gunbuster

Right you started me off… Yes Sting Ray is 30 years old… But its been updated and modernised more than any other torpedo. The same way that say a transit van from the 60s bears no resembalance to a modern day transit van Sting Ray is simple the most advanced, fastest and lethal LWT available in the western world. I wont tell you its top speed or range as that is classified. Suffice to say that its recent electronics, battery, electric motor, control surfaces and its warhead updates put it streets ahead of anything else in the world. Yes we… Read more »

Nicholas

You have enlightened me. Thanks. I’m still rather dubious if it is true that the Type 26 is not to have torpedo tubes or the anti-sub vls.

Gunbuster

T 23 have MTLS, magazine torpedo launching system. 4 tubes inside the magazine that use HP air blow out sting rays into the water. MTLS has over the years been put on the back burner fof updates and maintenance and was for a while in hibernation as a system. Its back now but if you ever have to fire it you are probably dead anyway or soon will be. A wire guided heavyweight has a range of over 20km far longer than a LWT and saying that if someone shoots a wake homer at you you probably wont know until… Read more »

Joe16

I was hoping you’d provide some more detail! Thanks, was working from memory from what you’d posted previusly on the subject.
Do you kno wmuch about the Euro version, sales gumpf says it’s amazing, but Australia decided against it, France is buying it in numbers. So no real idea where it sits…

Gunbuster

Dont beleive the adverts. The US bumf says the MK 54 is the dogs bollocks. However there are plenty of reports from the usn and operators saying its rubbish and not fit for purpose.
Eurotorp is probably on par with Sting ray but I would nedd to see the specs. A good rule of thumb is the top speed and range in the blurp is massivley underestimated. Its usually many 10s of % more than the stated figures

Joe16

If the Mk54 is that bad, it’s a shame that we’re getting it for Poseidon, but I guess something is better than nothing..?
Out of interest, I’ve noticed that we’re only bothering to give air platforms offensive ASW weaponry. It’s also normally the ASW helicopters and aircraft that are reported to be close in on submarines during exercises and stuff. Is that purely down to cost, or is there some realisation/recognition that ASROC and vessel-mounted torpedo tubes aren’t that effective for sub hunting?

Nicholas

Given all of this is there much point to the ASW Tyoe 26? Are we pinning the kill solely in the helicopters and the Astutes? I’m not tring to be controversial but why bother dedicating a platform to ASW? Unless we call them ASO, anti-sub observation.

Meirion X

Remember the incident a decade ago, when British and French subs scraped past each other without knowing about it, until the noise made?

Gavin Gordon

Shame the USA is so reluctant to buy into the undoubted expertise that we on this side of the pond can come up with. Often comes cross as a ‘not invented here’ mentality. Their FFG(X) looks like an Arleigh crossed with a FREMM. Remains to be seen if it manages any real saving by not choosing to go with a base T26 like 3 out the the other five eyes.

Gavin Gordon

Well, ok, it’s a Fincantieri!

Joe16

They are certainly very protectionist- particularly with the bigger items of hardware. Then again, they put so much money into defence that their stuff is generally very good. There’s a reason the AR-15/M16 platform has been around as long as it has, same goes for F-15s, F-16s and suchlike. They’re genuinely good products. Their FFG(X) does indeed look like that; I see it as an ASW-optimised multipurpose surface combatant, like the Burke is an AAW-optimised multipurpose surface comabtant. If you have the money and the ability to buy at scale to keep individual costs down, why not?! The reason for… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

Yeh, know that was a factor, but in the grand scheme of ‘factors’, should that have been at their forefront? The USA haven’t operated a frigate since Perry, unlike ourselves where they are a continuing requirement. Unless the States think they are going to have to face someone down before T26 comes on line. Don’t think so; so still bemused by the long term decision process. Even when Europe wins a contract (presidential helicopters) ‘they’ mank like hell!

Joe16

Well, the US has a history of domestic design, it’s a massive multi-billion dollar segment of the defence industry. It has its high points (Burkes, OHP frigates, Nimitz, most of their subs), but currently it’s not fared well (LCS, Ford), hence the desire to go with a tried and tested design in a (relatively) constrained budget environment. If the USN was to let a clean sheet design like the T26 into the competition, then the US companies would want to do the same and the whole basis of the competition gets blown out of the water and the budget gets… Read more »

Gavin Gordon

OK, what’s past is past all said and done. I see that Norman Friedman, my favourite techistorian, comes to pretty much the same conclusion over that particular procurement, so I will take comfort from that at least. What really matters now is how much the C-word hits our own procurement process. I Hate It When A Plan Falls Apart!
In no way will current peer hostilities lessen by our deciding that defence is still expendable. An ultimate win-win for China, et al, needs to be resolutely resisted in my view.
Stay Well

Joe16

You too, sir!

Gunbuster

Dont get lost in definitions of frigate and destroyers. In the RN destroters are primarily anti air with secondry capabilities. Frigates are Asw with secondary capabilities.

The USN has destroyers as large general combattant. Frigates as small general combatants.

Gavin Gordon

Still see Stingray or an update/derivative fulfilling anti-torpedo role as mentioned above and on previous occasions. Would welcome your insight, GB.
Cheers

Gunbuster

Blue Noses all round.

Tick that off in your RN Taskbook of Life.

Nick C

Got mine doing the Fish in 1972. It’s framed in the downstairs loo, as is only proper.

Gunbuster

Got a blue nose and blue arse… To be honest I have no idea where the certs are, although my warrant does hang in the toilet!

Helions