FOURTEEN patrol vessels completed a squadron exercise in the Solent as part of annual event.
All of the Royal Navy’s P2000-class ships, including the five based at Portsmouth Naval Base, took part in the exercise yesterday.
The 1st Patrol Boat Squadron, which has ships based around the UK, in Gibraltar and affiliated to universities, used the day to practice complicated manoeuvres and test the skills of commanding officers.
As well as providing training and maritime experience for the university students, the patrol vessels provide support to the wider fleet tasking and often take the role of attack craft in maritime exercises.
Commanding Officer of 1PBS Cdr Milly Ingham said: ‘It was a fantastic day and an excellent opportunity for all the junior officers and their ship’s companies to practice a complicated series of manoeuvres out on the Solent as part of their development.
‘This is an exercise that happens once a year and it is an incredibly important one, not just for the excellent training it provides but also for everyone to catch up with their counterparts.’
The ships sailed out of Portsmouth Harbour in the morning to practice a number of complicated sequences at speed and in close proximity.
Lieutenant Lauren Webber, 26, took command of HMS Puncher in March and said it was challenging, but a great experience.
‘I really enjoyed the exercise, it’s good to practice the skills we have learnt and sail alongside the other P2000s,’ she said.
‘While it’s a small ship’s company I command, it still provides me with the skills and knowledge of leading a team in high pressure situations which is essential of then going onto the larger ships in the future.’