Perisher Tests Future Submarine Officers on HMS Torbay

Naval officers hoping to one day command a submarine have been taking part in one of the most intense military assessments in the world known as Perisher.

HMS Torbay has been hosting the students for Perisher – for which the official title is the Submarine Command Course – since leaving Gibraltar earlier this month.

Students on the course are submariner officers aiming for the next stage of seniority – usually as an executive officer or commander of a submarine. Only 70 percent of the officers undertaking the course succeed, while those who fail can never serve onboard submarines again.

Armed with a stopwatch, periscope and their maths skills the officers have to take on a vital ‘eyes only’ role where they must keep the vessel safe from being charged by a warship. In this case it was Type 23 frigate – and submarine huntress – HMS Somerset that played the role of chasing HMS Torbay down.

The high-pressure course tests the officers’ decision making and submarine-driving instincts, demonstrating that they have what it takes to command a submarine.

This is the third time in two years that HMS Torbay has been tasked with Perisher, having hosted the course late in 2014 in the Mediterranean and prior to that, in home waters around the UK.

The submarine will again play host this autumn as part of a month-long war game on NATO exercise Trident Juncture.

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Image: Royal Navy

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