Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond recently joined a Royal Navy submarine and a range of fighter jets and aircraft for two weeks of training in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The destroyer made extensive use of the facilities and equipment at Britain’s bases in Cyprus for the evolutions.
The variety of aircraft using the airspace over and around the area tested the team in the ship’s operations room – especially the fighter controllers, whose job is to direct friendly fighters to intercept targets. They also control congested skies, observe and direct numerous different aircraft and operate with other UK forces.
“All this proves our ability to deploy, operate and sustain ourselves for however long is required,” said Commander Ben Keith, HMS Diamond’s commanding officer.
Having mastered command of the eastern Mediterranean skies, the ship switched focus to honing her gunnery skills.
Observing much of these goings on were the crew of the submarine who joined Diamond for a combined anti-submarine warfare exercise – where the two try to ‘sink’ each other.
The destroyer used her sonar and Wildcat helicopter – armed with Sting Ray torpedoes – to hunt the Trafalgar-class boat, which in turn sought to get Diamond in her periscope cross-hairs without being noticed, a challenge made harder by the near-glass like state of the Mediterranean.
Before the exercise got going six crew members of each vessel traded places to see ‘how the other half live.’
For most of the submariners, this was their first chance to step on board a Type 45 destroyer. After a long day of playing cat and mouse between the submarine and the ship, the guests returned and the two warships resumed their patrols.
Diamond left home at the end of September for an autumn deployment conducting security operations in the eastern Mediterranean.