UK: HMS Dragon Conducts Target Practice

HMS Dragon Conducts Target Practice

A Portsmouth based destroyer has been undertaking target practice in the Gulf to test her state-of-the-art equipment. HMS Dragon has fully automated systems but sometimes they may not be available and the crew have to revert to doing things manually.

As a result the Ship’s Company need to know how to operate her weapons without the aid of her technology.

On a hazy spring morning in the Gulf of Aden, her crew were put to the test and passed with flying colours.

Launching an indestructible 1m cube of polystyrene it was up to the ships Royal Marine Boarding Party to conduct small arms and sea boat-mounted firing.

Unlike other, more conventional targets the Cube can be used again and again and, in the process of recovering the Cube it allows Dragon’s bridge team the opportunity to practice their handling skills.

Following the Royal Marines and Tactical coxswains, it was time to put Dragon’s 30mm cannon through its paces.

Normally this gun system is radar or laser guided, and used with pin point accuracy against air or surface contacts.

But for this practice session the job of targeting and directing the gunfire against the Cube fell to AB Ben Pritchett and AB Holly Somers.

A round is fired from the 30mm that leaves the barrel at a speed of over 1,000 meters per second.

AB Pritchett, 23, from Portsmouth, would normally be found at Dragon’s helm or maintaining the Ship’s vital Sea Survival equipment. He said:

“This was the first time I’d done this and the kit was really easy to use, it’s a lot more accurate than you’d think.

“Normally you would see people using laser or radar technology to shoot the gun, or even be sat in the seat firing.

“Instead, it feels really responsible to know that the weapon system is pointing where you are looking.”

With the 30mm’s successful firing Dragon proves once again that she is more than fit and ready for this her first operation deployment in the Middle East.

Naval Today Staff, May 3, 2013; Image: Royal Navy