HMS Triumph regenerates

Following an extensive period in maintenance and a number of equipment upgrades, HMS Triumph has recently retaken her place on the front line.

The path from maintenance to operations, however, was not an easy one and Triumph has had to endure an intense period of training to earn her place alongside the other operational units of the Royal Navy.

The regeneration process started long before the submarine put to sea. Prior to the Officers and Ratings being allowed to leave the jetty in a multi million pound submarine, they must first prove themselves safe in one the Royal Navy’s submarine simulators.

These simulators are a replica of a submarine control room and they allow the Command Team to be put through their paces in a safe environment. During this period they will conduct practice torpedo and Tomahawk missile firings, as well as proving that they can keep the submarine safe in busy shipping situations.

The time in the simulator culminated in a one day assessment, where senior officers from the Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training Organisation assessed Triumph’s team as being ‘safe for sea’.

During the shore training phase, Triumph also took the opportunity to strengthen ties with her affiliates. Members of the ship’s company made regular visits to the affiliated town of Blackpool, most notably in support of Armed Forces day where the ship’s company headed up the parade.

On a rare sunny day in Faslane the boat also hosted their Sponsor, Lady Hamilton, for a set of Divisions and a tour of the submarine in dry dock – a rare spectacle for someone outside of the submarine service.

With the shore assessments complete and the maintenance finished, the crew were allowed to proceed to sea for the next phase of training. After a short period under the waves getting used to sea going routines again, the Flag Officer Sea Training Staff were once again called upon to train and assess the crew.

The first challenge for Triumph was to prove to her guests that she could keep herself safe during peacetime evolutions. To do this the embarked staff simulated a range of credible scenarios for the crew to tackle, from simple fires, to hydraulic bursts and electrical failures.

As the week progressed more and more incidents were thrown at the crew at once, culminating in something affectionately known within the submarine service as ‘multis’. A multi is a scenario where a whole range of damage control evolutions are initiated simultaneously to test the team’s ability to prioritise and manage information.

It is an extremely challenging period, but on completion there is a noticeable difference in the ship’s company’s confidence and ability to safely operate the submarine at sea.

Now certified as ‘safe for sea’ HMS Triumph’s next challenge was the successful discharge of 6 practice torpedoes. These are fired to prove both the abilities of the crew and the equipment used to fire them. The weapons are fired at dummy targets, which are used to simulate both surface and submarine targets.

All previous training was conducted using simulated weapons so during this period each of the Fire Control Officers get a chance to oversee a firing on the range, experiencing what its like to control a real weapon in the water.

With the weapons successfully fired, Triumph moved straight into the next phase of regeneration, again welcoming the Sea Training Staff onboard - this period saw the ship’s company put through their paces in a very different way.

Departing from the peacetime safety scenario, the boat was put up against another submarine, to relearn how to conduct anti submarine warfare operations. This period was a real test for the Control Room and Sonar teams as they attempted to get the upper hand against another capable submarine target. Once complete the submarine returned alongside for a short equipment repair, prior to returning to sea to complete her training.

After a short but welcome break in Faslane the submarine returned to sea. Using an exercise scenario Triumph entered the final phase of sea training, employing all of the skills that had been taught previously.

The submarine was required to conduct tasking as directed by the embarked training staff and this ranged from simulated Tomahawk missile strikes, to basic intelligence takes of passing shipping, and photographs of installations ashore.

This extremely busy phase of training culminated in a Thursday war, a weekly exercise conducted off the coast off Plymouth. During this serial Triumph was able to put her training to the test, operating in close proximity to warships and conducting simulated attacks on shipping in the area.

As real torpedoes clearly can’t be used for this, Triumph marked the attacks with Green smoke, demonstrating to the surface ships that they had been attacked. This evolution was the culmination of nearly a year of training and the ship’s company’s performance was evidence of the progress they had made through their hard work over the preceding 12 months.

With this final evolution completed, it was the job of the lead Sea Trainer to inform the eagerly awaiting crew of their success on Operational Sea Training.

Passing everything that had been thrown at her, Triumph was now officially ready for the front line, ready to undertake tasking around the globe.

There was no rest for the crew of HMS Triumph as she made a swift return to sea to undertake tasking as a fully trained front line unit.