March 24, 2021 – HMS Dragon has been put through her paces with weeks of intense training as she builds up to operations.
The Portsmouth-based ship went through several challenging scenarios including simulated attacks from fast craft and from the air.
The Type 45 destroyer was tasked with protecting the fictitious Freeport – what Plymouth is known as during training exercises like this – from any danger during an intensive three weeks at sea.
Despite poor weather in the Channel, Dragon was able to complete a variety of serials, testing her abilities across all warfare disciplines.
In the ops room, the ship’s company dealt with threats from surface combatant vessels, completed air defense exercises and tested their nerve against small fast attack craft.
They also took part in intelligence gathering exercises, culminating in the famous Royal Navy Thursday War, which sees the ship complete war-fighting and damage control exercises.
All of this was part of HMS Dragon’s FOST period. Fleet Operational Sea Training ensures the ship and her crew are ready for anything as they head on missions.
As part of the training, the ship faces a loss of capability to see how her sailors can adapt when radars, weapons or communications go down.
“It was a really challenging few weeks, particularly as I had never done FOST training before,” AB Jade Anderton said.
“We had to work really hard to make sure the picture we were providing to command was accurate, especially when they started taking some of our radars away. It was great to feel that we’d improved as a team.”
Along with showing their abilities to fight, the ship’s company also had to show they could deal with other emergency situations including fires, medical incidents and floods.
Leading Writer Michael Smith said: “At action and emergency, my role is to collect and maintain the picture of what is happening. It allows the person in charge of the Zone Control Points to see at a glance which issues fall under our responsibility.
“That allows them to prioritize critical incidents, for example magazine compartments and electrical supplies. At one point a fire below the bridge caused it to become cut off and the ZCP had to decide the best way to gain access using the picture and information I provided.”
Logistics parties are also ready throughout the ship. The stores team are poised ready to provide stores and material as required to fix damage.
The sickbay team are ready to assist any wounded personnel – either from the sickbay itself or other first aid posts and the Catering Services team are often ‘double-hatted’, ready to respond to incidents at any time as part of the fire-fighting and first aid teams.
HMS Dragon is continuing with further training around the south coast.