November 10, 2020 – HMS Trenchant has returned home to Devonport after 140 days away on deployment – during which the T-boat honed her war-fighting skills with NATO allies.
The boat worked with vessels from 13 nations and covered 18,000 nautical miles – the equivalent of sailing down the west coast of Africa, onto Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
The boat initially headed north to take part in Exercise Dynamic Mongoose, along with Royal Navy ships and those from the USA, Canada, France, Norway and Germany.
For the first time, an RAF Poseidon P8 maritime patrol aircraft was also involved in the exercise, which tests the ability of NATO’s anti-submarine forces to collectively deal with the latest underwater threats – and tests the ability of submarine crews to evade the sonars and sonobuoys dropped, lowered and dipped in the ocean, listening for the tell-tale sound of a submarine.
Trenchant’s Commanding Officer, Commander Stephen Brian, said: “This was a great opportunity to train and refine our war-fighting skills with our NATO allies and demonstrate the potency of HMS Trenchant.”
Following the exercise, the boat sailed south to take part in a number of exercises, involving Type 23 frigates, Merlin helicopters and the P8.
In total, Trenchant trained and interacted with 25 surface and sub-surface assets, comprised of nine submarines and 16 surface ships, drawn from 13 nations across the globe, including France, Canada and Portugal.
The biggest exercise was Joint Warrior, Europe’s largest bi-annual collaborative training exercise in which a number of NATO allies simulate escalating tensions off the coast of Scotland.
Joint Warrior coincided with Trenchant welcoming aboard the Submarine Command Course, known colloquially as Perisher.
The students who embarked had already participated in months of training in the run up to the final three weeks onboard an operational unit. The arduous and mentally-taxing course is renowned as being one of the most difficult of its guise in the world.
Those who pass will go on to be the future commanders of Royal Navy submarines, but first they had to prove they have what it takes, demonstrating their abilities to the course leader.
The students who successfully completed the course celebrated onboard with a Perisher’s breakfast prior to departing and joining their respective submarines as newly-qualified Executive Officers.
The crew remained in sea watches, six hours on, six hours off, throughout their deployment.
Despite the relentless pace of exercises and operations the crew found the time to raise money for Plymouth charity Plymouth Basket Brigade.
CPO(SSM) Drake became the ship’s barber, snipping the flowing locks of the crew for a small donation and raising an impressive £1,300. The proceeds will be used to provide hampers to those in a less fortunate position over the festive period.
The crew also enjoyed two takeaway pizza nights, courtesy of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity.