UK: HMS Ambush Links Up with Support Ship

HMS Ambush Links Up with Support Ship

New hunter-killer submarine HMS Ambush mastered the art of berthing next to a support ship during trials with RFA Diligence in the safe waters of her home base.Ambush spent two days next to Diligence in Gare Loch in a manoeuvre known as ‘rafting up’ – vital for sustaining submarine operations around the globe.

With gathering clouds adding an ominous touch to Gare Loch, Britain’s newest attack submarine HMS Ambush berths alongside support ship RFA Diligence – a crucial manoeuvre when the boat deploys on operations.

The nuclear submarine spent two days ‘rafted up’ alongside Diligence, which serves as a floating repair vessel and depot ship to meet the needs of Royal Navy vessels wherever they are in the world.

‘Dili’ – officially classed as a ‘forward support ship’ – spent some time east of Suez in support of the Silent Service’s Trafalgar-class submarines which are regularly deployed to the Middle East region.

With the first A-boat, HMS Astute, due to be operational later this year followed by Ambush early in 2014, it’s a manoeuvre which has to be practised and perfected with the first new hunter-killer submarines in a generation.

So in the calm, confined and safe waters just a few hundred yards from her berth, Ambush came alongside Diligence assisted by a cluster of tugs.

“Diligence provides essential services such as power, water and high-pressure air both at sea and alongside”,

explained Ambush’s marine engineering officer Lt Cdr Martin ‘Shades’ Freeman.

“She can supply us with everything we need, allowing us to take our own equipment down for maintenance or repair.”

The vital support that Diligence offers is essential for modern submarine operations, extending the vessel’s ability to remain in their operating area and lengthening their reach.

Speaking of the successful trial, Commander Peter Green, Ambush’s CO, said:

“The professionalism and expertise of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary is what keeps the Royal Navy moving – and this is no less true when you run on nuclear power. This trial has proven that wherever Ambush goes in the world, we can rely on unique capabilities of Diligence to keep us operational.”

Diligence fulfils numerous roles in support of both the Royal Navy’s surface ships and submarine; she’s fitted with a wide range of workshops for hull and machinery repairs, as well as the facilities for supplying electricity, water, fuel, air, steam, cranes and stores to ‘rafted up’ vessels.

She’s the only vessel of her type in the Naval Service, supporting the Fleet during both Gulf conflicts.

As for Ambush, she’s continuing her trials, tests and training through 2013 having been in based in Faslane for eight months now.

She was formally commissioned into the Royal Navy on March 1.

Press Release, May 8, 2013; Image: Royal Navy