As warships and aircraft from across the Royal Navy begin a huge maritime exercise off the coast of Scotland, HMS Diamond has been gearing up for her role with a series of training drills.
The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer has been putting her sailors to the test as she sails to meet the rest of the Task Force near Cape Wrath for a Combined Amphibious Landing Forces Exercise later this week.
HMS Diamond, which is affiliated to the cities of Aberdeen and Coventry, is to provide the air defence role for the exercise which will see Royal Marines storm the remote area by landing from the sea and air under the cover of warship firepower.
The Marines will be going ashore from HMS Illustrious and Bulwark to carry out their assault on land, explained Principal Warfare Officer (Above Water), Lieutenant Ben Martin. As well as keeping an eye on the airspace, we will attack enemy positions on land by providing naval gunfire support from our 4.5 gun as they arrive on the ground.
To prepare for this role, the warship has been taking part in a number of smaller scale exercises including practising firing at a moving target.
For this, JTEPS release a remote controlled dummy craft that acts as a small fast boat or Fast Inshore Attack Craft â€“ for all the ships in the task group to fire on.
The aim is to disperse the craft â€“ if we hit it then it is a bonus, explained Midshipman Annabel Broad. It is really about working with other nations â€“ we all get a feel for how the other operates and it helps makes relations stronger for when we work together in the future.
As well as conducting the larger scale gunnery and air defence exercises, HMS Diamonds ships company regularly practise their firefighting and damage control routines to make sure they are fully prepared for all eventualities.
All the exercises are as real as possible with smoke machines used to severely limit visibility and personnel given strict time limits.
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