The Royal Navy in Plymouth was the centre of attention as 270 international students from the UK’s military leadership college had an insight into the professionalism of the senior service.
A two-day dynamic demonstration of the Royal Navy’s capability was staged off the South West coast by warships HMS Dragon (Portsmouth destroyer), HMS Sutherland (Plymouth frigate), HMS Mersey (River Class patrol) and HMS Hurworth (mine hunter) and helicopters. The ships enacted a combat operation including maritime power in the skies on the sea and underwater.
The event also showed off the Navy’s multi-roles in the docks with 1Assault Group Royal Marines taking students aboard their landing crafts on the river and HMS Bulwark. The Royal Navy’s Southern Diving Group rehearsed their diving and ordnance disposal expertise. Students toured submarine HMS Triumph for an insight into this unique sphere of operations. Other skills on show were the hydrological and meteorological section with underwater unmanned survey craft.
Commander Paul Ottewell, of the Defence College, Shrivenham, said: “This has been a highly successful two days for future senior commanders both in the UK and international military from 50 countries. They have experienced life with the Royal Navy at sea and also seen how important the specialised roles at Devonport are vital to operations involving maritime power worldwide. This is the culmination of the maritime phase of their course, showing students the full range of maritime capability.’’
Commander Andy Perks, a Plymouth submariner engineer and staff college student, said: The Maritime Combat Power Visit gives officers a wider strategic view in how to command battles and battle staff. So far, the students have focussed on their own specialisation and have managed their own departments and staff and units such as ships. I know as a submariner, we naturally get very focussed in our own world and don’t even have the wider scope we should perhaps have in our own Navy. So even though I am in the Royal Navy, I have had my eyes opened by this time at sea on warships.
“The 11-month course is excellent and the time we spend with other officers is also very well spent, because in the future we are very likely to be engaging with them during international operations and exercises. This is when this time studying together will prove invaluable.’’
Countries represented included China, US, Australia, Malaysia, Kuwait, South Korea and Albania.