Royal Navy recruits training in a sinking ship simulator
in Plymouth, England- Photo: Getty Images
05 Dec 2011 By Andy Bloxham THE
First the Royal Navy was left with aircraft carriers but no aircraft, then it emerged that British waters would no longer be protected by a warship on emergency standby because resources were so stretched.
Now it seems sailors might not even go to sea - at least while they are training - because the Royal Navy has unveiled what it is calling “the most radical change to its training” in four decades.
Rather than learning their trade on the world's oceans, sailors will prepare for warfare from "virtual ships" without ever getting their feet wet.
The new £108 million Maritime Composite Training System (MCTS) was launched yesterday at two bases in Devon and Hampshire.
The “replica operations rooms” feature banks of flat panel LCD screens which mimic the equipment used at sea.
The Ministry of Defence said the system will be used by around 1,000 trainees every year and will allow existing personnel to maintain their warfare skills.
The two sites are nearly 200 miles apart, at HMNB Devonport in Plymouth and HMS Collingwood in Fareham, near Southampton, but are connected by a computer link.
It will allow crews to prepare for service on the latest Type 45 Destroyers, as well as Type 23 frigates, Type 42 Destroyers, assault ships and carriers
The move is the latest change in the Royal Navy since the defence review made widespread cuts.
The Government has already cut the navy’s surface fleet to 19 frigates and destroyers in last year’s defence review.