Royal Navy Sailors Train at HMS Collingwood

An avatar took the place of a Royal Navy warship in a transatlantic exercise as the real thing remained in her home port.

Instead of Academy Award-winning James Cameron directing proceedings, the exercise saw HMS Diamond’s crew work with two US carrier strike groups and the German Navy courtesy of a simulator at HMS Collingwood.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 joined the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS George HW Bush carrier strike groups and three German warships to foil a potential enemy in a virtual area called Treasure Coast.

The US Navy has used virtual exercises since 2004 as the final assessment and validation exercises for US carrier groups before they deploy and the latest was aimed at putting the Roosevelt through her paces.

Operation Bold Step, which included 23 maritime units, two carrier air wings, the US Marine Corps and US Army as well as a German battlestaff group, took place over seven sites in three countries.

The latest exercise followed Operation Brimstone which saw HMS Diamond’s crew work in the Maritime Composite Training System at Collingwood while HMS Sutherland’s ship’s company took part from HNMB Devonport – the first ship to use the West Country simulator for an international exercise.

Virtual training is becoming more widely used by the Royal Navy and will provide realistic training for both the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers and the Type 26 Global Combat Ship before either vessel is actually in service.

Last year HMS Duncan took part in a similar exercise in what was the RN’s first involvement for some time.

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Image: Royal Navy