UK: Royal Navy joins Norway's annual maritime training for submarines

According to information published by the UK MoD on January 17, 2023, the Royal Navy joined Norway’s annual maritime workout to test submarine commanders of tomorrow and safeguard NATO’s northern flank.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Type 23 frigate HMS Northumberland. (Picture source: UK MoD)

Attack submarine HMS Artful and the frigate HMS Northumberland joined the bulk of the Sjøforsvaret – the Royal Norwegian Navy – plus Danish warships, F-35 stealth fighters, and long-range maritime patrol aircraft during the fortnight-long Flotex.

Artful has been hosting would-be submarine Commanding Officers undertaking the live-action phase of the legendary Submarine Command Course (aka Perisher), which determines whether someone has the ‘right stuff’ to be in command of a submarine.

The exercise provided plenty of ‘targets’ for the Perisher students, as well as plenty of opponents to try to hunt them down – led by HMS Northumberland, designed and built to track the enemy below.

The near-sub-zero waters of the Norwegian Sea and Arctic, not to mention the many inlets and fjords, make for particularly challenging conditions for hunter and hunted alike (water temperature is just one important factor affecting the propagation of sound in water).

Having operated and trained in the High North frequently over the past 12 months HMS Northumberland has grown used to the environment, but relished the chance to test herself against the second youngest hunter-killer submarine in the Royal Navy’s flotilla. The hunt was assisted by the frigate’s Merlin helicopter – like the ship, designed and built to find hostile submarines.

About the HMS Northumberland

HMS Northumberland is a Type 23 frigate of the British Royal Navy. It was commissioned in 1995 and has been involved in various operations and deployments, including patrols in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea.

The ship is equipped with a wide range of weapons and sensors, including a 4.5-inch gun, torpedoes, and Sea Wolf missiles for air defense. It also has a helicopter landing deck and hangar for the operation of a Merlin or Wildcat helicopter.