Having participated in the NATO exercise Joint Warrior, HMS Blyth began her Operational Sea Training (OST) package in late October.
This meant undergoing a demanding programme of world renowned intensive training, designed to train crews in a series of realist challenging scenarios.
The first two weeks were predominantly spent undergoing damage control assessments and dealing with an increasing capable asymmetric surface threat.
Blyth’s mission in the fake scenario was to support regional stability in the region by ensuring the vital sea trade routes remained open to shipping.
Blyth also underwent training to deal with various maritime emergencies. One of these scenario’s involved coming to the aid of a stricken vessel, saving both vessel and crew, another task dealt with towing a damaged cargo ship.
Together with combating a hostile enemy threat, these tasks help highlight the many varied and diverse challenges the Royal Naval deals with on a daily basis.
The OST package itself is tailored to check a crews competence as an adaptable and dependable force; the crew of Blyth hit the ground running and displayed a tremendous degree of initiative throughout.
Having undergone numerous assessments, Blyth headed out to a live firing area where they successfully fired all the ships weapons systems at night. This turned out to be quite the firework display.
After an initial two weeks of constant and demanding serials, Blyth began the Mine Warfare phase of OST. This involved ten days at sea, hunting for mines while the exercise built to a dramatic conclusion, finishing with a patrol exercise in which her skills, honed over the previous four weeks, were put to the test.
In summary, Blyth has had a successful OST period and the crew anticipate a deployment in the New Year for which they have been extremely well prepared.
AB Cartwright, an experienced member of Blyth’s crew, when reflecting on the OST period made the following remark, “It’s been pretty tough, we’ve all had to work long hours and graft. But next year we’re deploying and it’s great to have a chance to do what I signed up for, I couldn’t feel more confident.”
Press Release, November 22, 2013; Image: Royal Navy