Portsmouth warship defends city from aerial attack during challenging war game at sea

SAILORS on a Portsmouth warship have had their battle skills tested as they ‘defended’ a city from aerial attack during a series of drills at sea.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 12:53 pm

HMS Dragon has been put through her paces during weeks of intense training off the Plymouth coast.

The £1bn destroyer was carrying out the war games as she builds up to operations.

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HMS Dragon pictured from above as a fighter pilot launches a mock attack on the Type 45 destroyer. Photo: Royal Navy

Dragon and her crew faced everything from simulated attacks from fast boats and jets, to mock fires and on-board emergencies.

During a key part of the drills, the Type 45 was tasked with protecting the fictitious Freeport – what Plymouth is known as during training exercises like this – from any danger during an intensive three weeks at sea.

Facing dismal conditions in the Channel, Dragon completed a range of key drills, testing all her warfare disciplines.

In the ops room, the ship’s company dealt with threats from enemy warships, completed air defence exercises and tested their nerve against small fast attack craft.

Sailors were kitted out in full protective gear as they carried out their training drills on HMS Dragon. Photo: Royal Navy

They also took part in intelligence gathering exercises, culminating in the famous Royal Navy ‘Thursday War’, which sees the ship complete war-fighting and damage control exercises.

All of this was part of HMS Dragon’s Fleet Operational Sea Training period – or FOST – which ensures the ship and her crew are ready for anything as they head on missions.

As part of the training, the ship faces a loss of capability to see how her sailors can adapt when radars, weapons or communications go down.

Photograph of HMS Dragon at sea.

‘It was a really challenging few weeks, particularly as I had never done FOST training before,’ AB Jade Anderton said.

‘We had to work really hard to make sure the picture we were providing to command was accurate, especially when they started taking some of our radars away. It was great to feel that we’d improved as a team.’

Along with showing their abilities to fight, the crew also had to show they could deal with other emergency situations including fires, medical incidents and floods.

HMS Dragon is continuing with further training around the south coast before she returns to Portsmouth later in the year.

HMS Dragon's crew carried out firefighting drills during their training at sea. Photo: Royal Navy

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HMS Dragon's crew carried out firefighting drills during their training at sea. Photo: Royal Navy