Royal Navy's dedicated navigation training ship puts sailors to the test in high-octane training

THE Royal Navy’s navigators of the future have been put through their paces during a stint of high-octane training at sea on a Portsmouth-based warship.

By Tom Cotterill
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 1:38 pm

HMS Severn, the navy’s dedicated navigational training ship, has been off the coast of Scotland with her latest cohort of navigators.

The specialist navigators course is designed to train officers in directing task groups through the most challenging of waters at high speed.

To add to the difficulty, they learn to manoeuvre without the aid of GPS or a gyro compass.

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HMS Severn pictured at sea during a training stint for the navy's next batch of navigators.

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During their visit to the Outer Hebrides, Severn passed close to sheer cliffs and rocks at speeds above 20 knots while the trainees ‘passed’ navigational instructions to ‘ghost consorts’ – imaginary vessels in the task group.

This gave students the chance to practise monitoring the location and presence of other ships as well as keeping Severn on track.

The training took place off the coast of Scotland

Once qualified, the students will be assigned to navigating capital ships – such as aircraft carriers and assault ships – or as staff navigator on a flag officer’s staff.

HMS Severn’s commanding officer, Commander Phil Harper, is one of the most experienced navigators in the fleet.

He said: ‘The technical challenges of this course coupled with the stunning scenery of the Hebrides and Western Isles make this the highlight of the ship’s calendar.

‘Having a ship specialised in delivering navigational training means that the Royal Navy gets a better navigator at the end and also gains a platform for developing techniques and advancing the science of tactical navigation.’

Sailors were taught how to navigate without using a GPS

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