HMS Kent and her Wildcat helicopter have conduct a winching exercise with HMS Artful off the coast of Scotland.

The helicopter belonged to 206 Flight, 815 Squadron.

HMS Kent and 206 Flight conduct a winching exercise with HMS Artful off the coast of Scotland.

On Saturday 8th May 2021, HMS Kent conducted a winching exercise with HMS Artful whilst with the Carrier Strike Group.

All imagery Crown Copyright 2021.

The exercise utilised both aircraft and the submarine in order to carry out an essential stores transfer in the confined water ways of Scotland’s coastline.

HMS Artful is the third of the seven Astute-class submarines to be built for the Royal Navy. She began her naval career in 2015, and was commissioned in 2016.

The Astute class are the largest, most advanced and most powerful attack submarines ever operated by the Royal Navy, combining world leading sensors, design and weaponry in a versatile vessel.

The class have provision for up-to 38 weapons in six 21-inch torpedo tubes. The submarines are capable of using Tomahawk Block IV land-attack missiles with a range of 1,000 miles and Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes.

HMS Astute fires a Tomahawk missile.

For detecting enemy ships and submarines, the Astute class are equipped with the sophisticated Sonar 2076, an integrated passive/active search and attack sonar suite with bow, intercept, flank and towed arrays. BAE claims that the 2076 is the world’s best sonar system.

You can read more about the submarine type here.

Britain’s stealthy hunter-killer submarine – The Astute class

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Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago

Never mind Ospreys! Lets have more Astutes!

I know, not going to happen given build times, Successor, and so on.

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 month ago

After Successor Trident is built, a new SSN will be next. Will PWR3 make it bigger, or will we go for more compact SSN, relative to the Astute?

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I’m hoping PWR3 is smaller than PWR2. I’m sure it doesn’t matter once they are submerged but the Astute looks very bulky compared to the Baracuda and even Virginia class which has VLS silos on board. Initially Astute had issues reaching its contractual speed but believe that his since been sorted according to the mod anyway.

GlynH
GlynH
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

A bigger reactor isn’t a problem per say. The larger the quieter, usually. I wouldn’t say bulky is a problem either, affords plenty of space inside for humans and machines 🙂 The early plans for SSN(R) do show a larger boat again.

Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Hi John, the size of the SM is not determined by the size of the Reactor alone. In the SSBNs, the length of the missile tubes play a large part in determining the size of the vessel, along with all the other equipment that is required for it to perform its tasks. The same is true of SSNs minus the missile tubes. Unlike Nuclear power stations – low yield large reactor, Nuclear SMs use very high yield small reactors to generate comparable levels of power. There will not be a large difference in size between PWR2 and 3, the major… Read more »

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago

Some here are obsessed with having Ospreys…… personally I can’t see any real reason to spend masses of £££’s on them, much rather have Astute number 8.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

or T26 numbers 9 and 10. 😎

Stephen Ball
Stephen Ball
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Osprey’s have the lift of helo then convert to plane, If you want a Cap, they might have worked for refuelling.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Merlin Merlin Merlin…where’s Lusty?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

You called? 😀

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Lusty

You see..so reliable, the mere mention of a helicopter…

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago

I love a good cab!

CAM
CAM
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Or 13 T26, 8 T31e and more destroyers. 🙂

Danny
Danny
1 month ago
Reply to  CAM

I agree. I would say well armed large Corvettes. Blue water types. Hulls win wars not technology alone.

CAM
CAM
1 month ago
Reply to  Danny

Absolutely right

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  CAM

Pie in the sky!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Exactly!

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Astute 8 can no longer physically happen. There is no room in the build programme at Barrow to accommodate the build of an additional SSN.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

And royalists asking for a Royal yacht in memory of The Duke of Edinburgh, as well!

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

One more Astute with a slightly faster (contract dependant) build rate would be the icing on the cake.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
1 month ago
Reply to  Airborne

Yep, was the original aspiration I recall. Can still see Hoon vowing 8 of them. 😣

Paul C
Paul C
1 month ago

We were actually lucky to get the 7th. I can remember Ainsworth stating there was ‘no clear requirement’ for a 7th boat so with him as SoS it may have been canned.

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul C

Hoon and Ainsworth …..such fine and upstanding ….. such fine upstanding and memorable politicians…..

Ian
Ian
1 month ago
Reply to  Ian

Oops something went wrong there 👍

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
1 month ago

As I recall, as of 2018, boats 4-7 were £800M over budget at the time.

An incredible asset to have yes, but like Ospreys, more expensive. It all depends on what you want and how much is allocated to the defence budget.

In short, not enough!

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago

Is Artful the sub attached to CSG21?

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Why you Asking ?🤔

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  captain p wash

Because its a bit unusual to release pics like this!

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

I don’t think Hms Kent is though is she. We must have quite a few assets out at sea right now. Don’t we have a T45 in the black sea somewhere with 2 attached to csg.

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

HMS Kent is on the deployment list so I think unwittingly the RN have just confirmed which astute is going🤷🏻‍♂️

BB85
BB85
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

Ahh yes you are both right. I was typing from memory but make sense if they are training off the Scottish coast.

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

Maybe, or Artful is in the area and it provided a good practice /public relations opportunity. Given the length of the deployment and the fact one Astute cannot go the distance without replenishment, it may as has been suggested elsewhere on here that more than one boat might be involved at different times providing essential operational experience for more than one crew.

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Fair play Paul, I was think the distance issue was why replenishment practice was being. I assume it’s lack of munch that’s the limiting factor?
Yeah see your point though makes sense they would give other boats the chance to get used to carrier group ops.

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  LongTime

Yes, lack of munch as it were. Mind you, be interesting if in fact they were practicing replenishment by helo to determine if one boat could stay with the CSG21 throughout the deployment…..

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

I suspect it might be exactly that, personally I can’t see how we could deploy multiple A boats without forward deploying 1 to the gulf in the next few weeks. Can’t remember if they are allow through suez. I suppose 1 could dash to Aus to take the record and have a nice port visit before the Pacific leg

Last edited 1 month ago by LongTime
Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Hi @Paul42, @LT, I think you will find that the helo wasn’t delivering food to the SM, but some piece of kit (eg circuit board, or medicines) that was urgently required, whilst getting in some help transfer practice. Whilst they could receive food this way, they don’t usually, it’s done alongside. It would also be highly unusual for more than one UK SM to be assigned to the CSG. Whether or not it’s Artful I don’t know, but one will accompany the CSG for the duration and stop en route 2/3 times for visits and to replenish food and changeover… Read more »

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Deep32

Cheers Deep

Cameron
Cameron
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Perhaps one Astute will ‘drop off’ the CSG in the Med at Suez, and another will ‘pick up’ the CSG on the other side…?

Lusty
Lusty
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

Kent is indeed part of CSG21.

Meirion X
Meirion X
1 month ago
Reply to  BB85

No T45 in the Black Sea, at the moment!
Only 1 spare T45 in home waters.

captain p wash
captain p wash
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Oh…. and yes It’s a bit odd to see the “Unseen” being…. seen I must agree !

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

I wouldn’t read too much into it mate, while it might be the one that sets out, it might not be the one that does the whole trip. Its going to be quite a trip and not dictated by the boat, even thought the A boats a new(ish) things can go wrong and its safe to say that they’ll want at least one Fleet boat with them in the SCS, preferably a UK asset but if not then I’m sure a brother will hook us up if one of ours can’t.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Andy P

I suspect the odds of a sub being there the whole time are pretty slim. My guess there will be on at the start and a few photo ops during the period, and the rest of the time they will be elsewhere. We dont have enough subs to tie one up constantly escorting a carrier that is operating in friendly waters.

Andy P
Andy P
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Agree Steve, as for the photo ops, there have been previous for it before.

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Hi Steve, do you think another US sub will join group? One sub doesn’t seem enough. I’d thought one sub front and back would be necessary? I guess there’s a find line between showing resolve and deterrence and being openly provocative by being armed to the teeth even your potential adversary is doing just that!

Quentin D63
Quentin D63
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

I still can’t comprehend why they haven’t put 4 RWS on the QE to complement the 3 Phalanx’s. The QE looks underdone. Why not 4 Phalanx’s? Even some RAM-SeaRam, maybe it could be even modified to take a SeaStreak. ER or even Camm/Amraam ER type missile if not vertical siloed and link them in together in pairs? Ideas are easy. Just wish all our ships carried a bit more and showed it.

James Fennell
James Fennell
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The RWS are for force protection from FACs and the like. I think the reasoning is that with a full escort and Wildcat with Martlet they are not neccessary on the carrier itself. Personally I’d rather they used the space for another CIWS and 24 Sea Cepter VLS. In port HMG and Miniguns are enough.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Quentin D63

The carrier isn’t currently going into harm’s way and so the sub has nothing to do, there is no risk to protect the carrier against. If it was me I would rotate a few subs through the duty for some training and then send them back to somewhere more useful, such as monitoring what is find on it the black sea.

LongTime
LongTime
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Our subs are not allowed in the Black Sea as they are not allowed to transit the Bosporus

Paul42
Paul42
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Part of the subs job is to frighten away those boats sent to monitor the CSG and spy on QE.

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul42

Realistically they can’t actually achieve the job as they are not going to fire on any subs spying on the carrier. In a war situation that would be very different

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

If what you say is the case, then surely much of the point of exercising a completely balanced CSG, worldwide, would tend to be lost, Steve? Must be difficult enough effectively coordinating a submarine into the mix, e.g. rather like using fighters to escort bombers; so working out how best to do that within the general area of operations of the CSG in order to fine-tune the tactics, ought to be paramount at this time? After all, what are friendly below surface waters? the ideal environment for any interested party to carry out a mock attack, not to say embarrass… Read more »

Steve
Steve
1 month ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

The CSG is skin deep. We don’t currently have enough jets so the americans are helping us hide that. We don’t have enough escorts, so the americans/Norwegians are covering that (we also carefully lined up maintenance to allow for temp more vessels to be available for this deployment aka smoke and mirrors). We don’t have enough subs either, but since they are meant to operate in silence and undetected, no one will know if its there or not, so doesn’t need to be covered by an ally. That doesn’t mean they won’t be used for training purposes, but i doubt… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by Steve
Deep32
Deep32
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

Steve, you have answered your own response to @Quentin D63!! Just because the Carrier isn’t going into harms way does not mean that the SM will have nothing to do!!! The SM will be very busy regardless of where the Carrier goes. I also suspect that said CSG will be joined by at least one US SSN before the transit of the SCS, if only for training value. We cannot realistically deploy more than one SSN in support of the CSG, as we don’t have enough assets. The 2 T class are old girls and will not be sent in… Read more »

Airborne
Airborne
1 month ago

A seemingly simple evolution, but belies the skill needed, the excellent assets we have and the continuing training carried out at see with little general public interest. We do have issues with the military at the moment, financial and conceptual but the RN has had its shit together for the last 10 years, accepting pain for jam in the future. It may have been slow in coming, and continues to be so, but the jam is now flowing.

Latch71
Latch71
1 month ago

How cool does it look to be taking part in something like that! I have few regrets in life, one of them is that I didn’t join up…

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago

Looks like a High Line Transfer. First you lower a weighted bag with line attached onto the vessel. This allow the winch hook to be controlled down onto the vessel by the vessel You can also control the Dope On A Rope to ensure they dont go anywhere theyr’e not meant to. For a Sub the target area is usual the sail and its a very small area to land on. There is also a zap line coming off the winchmans boot. This touches down first earthing the helo and dissipating any static. If you don’t do this anyone touching… Read more »

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Happened to me twice….I can tell you it bloody hurts, RAF search and rescue job in the Scilly Isles…reattaching a cargo net after the Sea King had done a short circuit lasting about 3 minutes!

Gunbuster
Gunbuster
1 month ago
Reply to  Herodotus

Yep it hurts…My belts where from Lynx doing VERTREP .
Funniest I saw was a Wafu earthing the load with no deck weight on the end of the earth pole cable . He couldnt understand why , if he had the earthing rod in hand, he was getting belts….How we laughed!

Herodotus
Herodotus
1 month ago
Reply to  Gunbuster

Some of this science stuff ain’t half complicated! What surprised me was the speed with which the Sea King built up the static…under 3 minutes. But then, an aluminium tube the size of a single deck bus, with a bloody great windmill blowing vast quantities of air over it, is pretty much an airborne van der Graaf generator!