Exercise Joint Warrior JW 17:2
Twice a year the UK hosts Exercise Joint Warrior which is designed to enable the armed forces of participating countries to practice procedures and operate as a multi-national coalition. The event incorporates a wide variety of training scenarios which differ each time but may include aerial anti-shipping strikes, small boat attacks, mine countermeasures tactics, boarding operations, large-scale amphibious assaults, air-ground strikes, aerial defence and anti-submarine warfare.
In years gone by, most of the aircraft involved in Joint Warrior operated from RAF Lossiemouth, Kinloss and Leuchars but following the closure of Kinloss in 2012, and then Leuchars transferring from the RAF to the Army, Prestwick Airport has been adopted as a temporary base for Royal Navy Hawk T.1s of 763 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) and Dassault Falcons of Cobham Aviation Services. Although the Cobham jets are civilian, they work closely with the MOD and play a major role in proceedings. They are equipped with onboard systems and special electronic warfare mission pods for radar and communications jamming, threat simulation and electronic surveillance. The Falcons also act as hostile airborne targets for the warships by running in at low-level to simulate a sea skimming missile, or 'launch' simulated missiles electronically which the navy can track and respond to with their defensive systems.
The second of this year`s Joint Warrior military exercises, JW172, took place between 30th September and 12th October 2017 and comprised of a programme of training scenarios conducted by land forces, warships, submarines and aircraft across the UK. The maritime element was focused in the offshore and coastal waters to the northeast, north and north west of Scotland, plus the Irish Sea between the Isle of Man and Ireland.
Planned and coordinated by Northwood staff the exercise is facilitated through Faslane which is used as the Headquarters for the duration. Much of the activity occurs well offshore but as usual, a number of participating warships visited the Clyde during the week leading up to the start of the event conveniently providing a close-up view of vessels otherwise rarely seen in UK waters.
Unfortunately, continuing the trend this summer, the weather was mostly poor, particularly on Sunday 1 October when most of the warships headed out to sea in driving rain and at best, moderate visibility.
The first of this year`s exercises (JW 171) ran from 26 March to 6 April 2017 but it seems that there will only be one Joint Warrior next year, unusual as Joint Warrior is traditionally a bi-annual event.
In October of last year, during the second of 2016's Joint Warriors, the first `Unmanned Warrior` ran in conjunction. This enabled the Royal Navy and other participating armed forces to test more than 50 vehicles, sensors and systems on or deployed from naval platforms, both on the surface and underwater as well as in the air. It was NATO`s first major training exercise using such equipment.
Joint Warrior 17:1 incorporated `Information Warrior`, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based simulation designed to test the ability of warships and submarines to protect themselves against cyber attacks targeted at vessels' combat systems, communications, power and propulsion control systems.
Joint Warrior 17:2 involved naval units from the UK, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, and the USA. Military air crews flew from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray and HMS Gannet at Prestwick in Ayrshire with live firing exercises conducted at a range off Cape Wrath in Sutherland. First to arrive at Glasgow on Tuesday 26 September prior to the start of proceedings was Spanish Navy Frigate Álvaro de Bazán (F101) (above) which I snapped as she passed Newshot Island at Erskine on a hazy afternoon. HMS Somerset (F82) berthed at Faslane a couple of hours later.
Although I missed out on photographing some of the vessels involved in the exercise these are mentioned in their respective national sections below.
Three Type 23 Duke-class Frigates took part in this Joint Warrior including HMS Argll (F231) seen here at Garelochhead Jetty North on the morning of Sunday 1 October, preparing to get underway. HMS Somerset (F82) was also at Faslane, while HMS St Albans (F83) berthed at Glasgow`s KGV Dock before the exercise began. I missed the latter vessel`s arrival, plus she headed out to sea during the hours of darkness several days later, so no shots on this occasion. RFA Wave Knight (A389) called in at the Loch Striven jetty on 19 September and is thought to have been involved although she remained far out at sea throughout.
Three Royal Navy Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMVs) left Faslane early on Sunday 1 October to check the exit route and provide security for the departure of the larger JW vessels berthed at HMNB Clyde. The RN MCMVs were HMS Ramsey (M110), a Sandown-class Minehunter, HMS Hurworth (M39) and HMS Brocklesby (M33), the latter pair Hunt-class.
In early October, as Joint Warrior was in full-swing, the BBC’s Newsnight reported that two amphibious assault ships and the Royal Navy’s fleet of 28 Wildcat HMA2 helicopters could be axed in yet another defence cost-saving exercise. It has already been decided to dispose of two MCMV vessels earlier than planned and reduce the strength of the Royal Marines by 200, while at the same time ending much of the Marines’ battlefield training in the US, Norway, Canada and Kenya.
Navy chiefs have suggested that the landing assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark (pictured left on her last visit to Glasgow in April 2016) be disposed off in a mini defence review aimed to address a £20 billion to £30 billion hole in the budget over the next decade. HMS Ocean (L12), the helicopter carrier and Flagship, which is currently leading the UK’s hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, is already scheduled for retirement next year.
A senior Royal Marines officer blamed the introduction of the new £6.2 billion aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales for the actual and proposed reductions. Although the carriers, which can take Chinook helicopters, are able to conduct littoral operations with marines, they are unable to launch landing craft from a rear bay, an advantage of both Bulwark and Albion. If the Wildcats also go it would leave the Fleet Air Arm with just its larger Merlins, certainly reducing maintenance costs but, say sources, harming its ability to support the fleet.
Meanwhile, on the Upper Clyde at Scotstoun, work on HMS Forth (P222) (above) and HMS Medway (P223) (right & below) continues. The third in the trio of new Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), HMS Trent is being constructed in the sheds upriver at Govan. These 90 metre-long vessels are based on a proven BAE Systems design which is already in service with the Brazilian Navy and Royal Thai Navy but BAE engineers have modified the design to ensure it meets the requirements of the Royal Navy. The patrol ships will provide accommodation for 60 personnel, including a crew of 34. An additional 50 embarked troops or passengers can also be carried. The flight deck at the aft has been upgraded to operate the latest Merlin helicopters and the vessels, with a range of 5,000 nautical miles and a maximum speed of 24 knots, will be equipped with two Pacific 24 rigid inflatable boats (RIBs).
HMS Forth (P222) is pictured below returning to BAE at Scotstoun on Sunday 3 September 2017 after her first set of Sea Trials. It`s expected that the vessel will be delivered to the Royal Navy later this year when it will officially become `HMS` upon commission.
On 9 October 2017, just a few days before JW172 drew to a close, BAE Systems announced its intention to cut almost 2,000 jobs in military, maritime and intelligence services with the axe mainly falling in the firm’s aviation sector. BAE is facing a gap in orders for the Eurofighter Typhoon so this measure is intended to slow production before an expected order from Qatar is finalised. The workforce at Warton and Samlesbury in Lancashire, Brough, East Yorkshire, plus RAF Marham and RAF Leeming will be drastically reduced. In addition, 340 maritime jobs will be lost in Portsmouth and the Solent region and at a further 180 locations elsewhere including London and Guildford.
In the weeks leading up to the start of JW it wasn`t only Prestwick that saw an interesting mix of military traffic. The following aircraft called in at Glasgow International with some likely to have been connected with the exercise: Royal Navy EH101 Merlin HM.1 ZH826 (f/v), call-sign `Senator 501`appeared on 1 September. Boeing CH-47D Chinook HC.3s ZH903 (f/v) call-sign `Ultimate Two`and ZH895/HJ `Ultimate One` both landed as `Ultimate flight` at 1525 hrs on Tuesday 5 September and remained on the ground for about an hour.
French Navy Embraer EMB 121 Xingu 85, call-sign `French Navy 1953` landed just before 20:00hrs on Thursday 6 September and night-stopped.
The Xingu (pronounced `Shingoo`) is a product of the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer, who named the aircraft after one of the country`s major rivers, which, after flowing for almost 2,000km connects with the Amazon River at the head of the Amazon delta. The French Navy use this version as a utility aircraft.
On Monday 25th, Royal Navy EH101 Merlin HM.1 ZH826 / CU-68, call-sign `Kingfisher 501’, landed at 14:25 hrs and took off an hour later. It was back on the morning of the 27th and with HMS Somerset at Faslane and HMS St Albans berthing at the KGV later that day, it`s reasonable to assume that this chopper was attached to one of the participating RN warships.
Late afternoon on Thursday 28 September, I was on the south bank of the Clyde at Newshot Island photographing the French warship Provence as she sailed past en route to the KGV Dock when another Royal Navy Merlin appeared and flew very low overhead as it lined up for a Runway 23 approach. A second EH101 touched-down half an hour later and both night-stopped. The machines were Merlin HC.3 ZJ994(AC), call-sign `Jungly One`and ZJ123(G) `Jungly Two` (f/v).
RAF BAe-146-100 CC.2 ZE701 also visited on the 28th and remained until 17:45 hrs the following day. I believe various EU and NATO officials, along with British Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon, landed at the airport and were transferred to Faslane, some by helicopter, to observe a live-firing exercise.
Royal Fleet Auxiliary
The principal role of RFA Argus (A135) is to serve as a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship (PCRS). She has a fully equipped 100-bed medical facility on board, which can be uniquely tailored to deliver cutting-edge treatment to patients whilst afloat. Constructed in Venice, Italy, as the commercial container ship MV Contender Bezant and launched in 1981, she was acquired by the MOD in the February of the following year, converted to serve as an Aviation Support Ship, and subsequently requisitioned for duty in the Falklands Conflict.
In November 1982, at the end of hostilities in the South Atlantic, the vessel was returned to her owners after a refit and resumed her original role but, in March 1984, Contender Bezant was purchased for £18m by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Belfast, for a £45m conversion into an aviation training ship for resale to the MOD. It was on 25 March 1987 that she was formally renamed RFA Argus, entering service with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary on 1 June 1988 and at the same time replacing her predecessor, the smaller RFA Engadine. In 1991, during the Gulf War Argus was fitted with an extensive and fully functional hospital and assumed the additional role of Primary Casualty Receiving Ship which has been the vessel’s primary function since 2009. She is due to remain in service until 2024.
Royal Air Force
I`ve no idea whether the appearance of A330-KC3 Voyager tanker ZZ334 was linked with Joint Warrior but it landed at Glasgow International on Friday 29 September as did a German Air Force Transall. Both were making their first visit to the airport.
BNS Louise-Marie (F931) is a Karel Doorman-class frigate of the Marine Component of the Belgian Armed Forces. She is the second of two of this class that were purchased from the Royal Netherlands Navy on 22 December 2005. Prior to this transfer Louise-Marie was known as HNLMS Willem van der Zaan (F829). The ship is equipped with two quad launchers for the Boeing Harpoon Block 1C anti-ship missile. Harpoon has an active radar seeker with inertial mid-course guidance, a 220kg warhead and a range of 120km. For short-range air defence, the ship has a Mk.48 vertical launch system (VLS) for Raytheon Sea Sparrow missiles, which uses semi-active radar guidance and has a range of 14km. Sixteen missiles are carried.
The main gun is a 76mm Oto Melara MK.100 which has a range of 16km against surface targets and 12km for anti-air. Its rate of fire is 100 rounds per minute. Two Oerlikon 20mm light cannon are also fitted as is the Thales Nederland Goalkeeper close-in weapon system (CIWS), which consists of a 30mm seven-barrel gun providing a rate of fire of over 4,000 rounds a minute.
On the left in the above shot is frequent Joint Warrior participant BNS Primula (M924), of the Belgian Naval Component. She was launched on 20 December 1990 at the Mercantile-Belyard shipyard in Rupelmonde and was the tenth and last of the Tripartite-class minehunters delivered to Belgium. The Norwegian Navy`s HNOMS Rauma (M352) is on the right. Both vessels made their way up to the KGV at Glasgow before the exercise got underway and I caught them again passing Erskine when they headed out to sea several days later.
The Canadian Armed Forces often feature in Joint Warrior, sending not only personnel, but ships and aircraft, usually of the Maritime Patrol variety to Lossiemouth. Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal (F336) was the sole Canadian participant on this occasion and she berthed at the KGV Dock for a the weekend prior to the exercise. She was commissioned at Montréal on 21 July 1994, and designated a French Language Unit. The ship`s motto is: `Ton bras sait porter l’épée` (We stand on guard for Thee).
On 4 January 1995, Montreal sailed from Halifax to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) Standing Naval Force Atlantic in the Adriatic Sea, blockading the former Yugoslavia. On 10 August 1998, she departed Halifax to join the NATO fleet off Florida and paid an historic visit to St.Petersburg, Russia, to celebrate the 300th Anniversary of the Russian Navy. In 2000, she represented Canada in the Millennium International Fleet Review in New York City, and then escorted the Tall Ships to Halifax. In 2002, she underwent a refit and afterwards deployed on Operation Apollo, the Canadian effort to support the international campaign against terrorism. In 2003, in an initiative with the Dutch Navy, she tested the Sirius sensor, a new technology capable of detecting and tracking small surface targets, low flying aircraft and anti-ship missiles. In 2004, she participated in Fisheries and Oceans operations, an international and national exercise that saw her cross the Arctic Circle.
In 2005, the ship conducted a six-month deployment to Europe in which she deployed to the Netherlands on exercise, then joined Operation Active Endeavour patrolling the Mediterranean to help detect, deter and protect against terrorist activity by monitoring shipping and providing escort to non-military vessels through the Straits of Gibraltar. In 2006, she participated in Operation Caribbean Lion as well as an exercise in northern Canada carried out in order to ensure sovereignty in the Baffin region. She continues to support Canada’s domestic and international objectives and is stationed in the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Royal Danish Navy
Two Danish warships took part in this Joint Warrior, namely HDMS Peter Willemoes (F362) and HDMS Vaedderen (F359) and both are pictured passing BAE Systems yard at Scotstoun early on Friday 29 September. Peter Willemoes is one three Iver Huitfeldt-class guided-missile frigates in service with the Danes. The vessels use the basic Absalon hull design which enabled Denmark to construct these vessels at a far lower cost than most comparable warships. The three relatively new frigates perform an air defence role with Standard Missiles and have the potential to use Tomahawk cruise missiles, a first for the Danish Navy. Flagship HDMS Absalon (L16) and her sister ship Esbern Snare (L17) are regular JW participants but neither was involved this time round. These latter vessels are primarily designed for command and support roles, often working in conjunction with the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates.
Another Joint Warrior veteran, HDMS Vaedderen (F359) is no stranger to the Clyde although she can usually be found patrolling the Danish Sovereign waters around the Faroe Islands and Greenland. She is one of four Thetis-class Ocean Patrol Vessels currently in service with the Danish Navy.
ENS Sakala (M314) of the Estonian Navy is a modernised Sandown-class Minehunter purchased from the Royal Navy as ex-HMS Inverness (M102) in 2006. She was one of twelve of this class built by Vosper Thornycroft and was launched on 27 February 1990. The current ship's name comes from an ancient Estonian county Sakala which is today known as Viljandimaa or Sakalamaa. The ship`s coat of arms comprises several elements, namely a black shield which represents the rich soil of Sakala and ethnic Estonian men's clothing, a rose pointing towards the capital of Sakalamaa and swords representing Sakala's important role in the country`s fight for independence in ancient times as silver stands for loyalty. The ship's motto in Latin is `In nomine libertatis` meaning "In the name of freedom".
FS Provence (D652): The European Multi-Purpose Frigate is a major joint French and Italian project, known as FREMM (French Frégate Européenne) in the French Navy. The Italian Navy`s version has been designated Bergamini-class. Provence is equipped with an advanced sensor package and her armament includes Aster anti-air missiles as well as 8x MM40 Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missiles. Her vertical launch system can accommodate both anti-aircraft, anti-missile and land-attack cruise missiles. The vessel usually operates with a compliment of 145 crew. The fourth FREMM Frigate Auvergne was delivered to the French Navy earlier this year with the total batch of six expected to be operational before the end of 2019.
Other French naval vessels taking part this year but not captured on camera were FS Primauguet (D644), FS Commandant Blaison (F793), FS Pegase (M644) and FS Somme (A631). The Durance-class Command and Replenishment Ship Somme initially positioned herself off Arran’s east coast and later visited the MOD facility on Loch Striven but did not appear on the Upper Clyde, staying mostly out at sea. In addition to her main role as a fleet tanker, Somme is configured as a flagship. In October 2009, whilst serving as the command vessel for French forces participating in Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name used by the U.S. government for the Global War on Terrorism between 2001 and 2014, she was mistakenly identified as a civilian vessel by pirates in waters approximately 250 nautical miles (460 kilometres) off the coast of Somalia. The assailants, utilising two powerful motor boats and armed with automatic weapons, launched a night attack but the Somme’s crew repelled the assault without sustaining damage or casualties and captured five of the pirates.
FGS Sachsen (F219), lead ship of the German Navy`s trio of Sachsen-class air defence Frigates, was berthed at Aberdeen Harbour on Sunday 17 September. The `Sachsens` are as large and just as capable as many destroyers and at €2.1 Billion for just three vessels, their construction is the most expensive shipbuilding project ever undertaken for the German Navy. Soon after this shot was taken, the warship sailed for Faslane on the Clyde prior to its participation in Exercise Formidable Shield 17 which will ran between 24 September and 18 October at the U.K. Ministry of Defence's Hebrides Range located in the Western Isles. The purpose of Formidable Shield is to test NATO's theatre ballistic missile defence (BMD) capabilities and improve allied interoperability in a live-fire integrated air and missile defence (IAMD) environment. Assets from Canada, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States all took part and with the dates of JW172 overlapping, some warships including FGS Sachsen took part in both exercises.
As Sachsen passed under the Erskine Bridge on Wednesday 27 September she passed the coastal freighter Kurkse which was outbound from the KGV en route to Gijon in Northern Spain. She had sailed to the Clyde from Warrenpoint with an empty hold and with no obvious cargo on deck, I`m unsure of the purpose of her visit.
FGS Sulzbach-Rosenberg (M1062) is a Type 332 Frankenthal-class mine hunter. These ships are built of non-magnetic steel. Hull, machinery and superstructure of this class is similar to the original Type 343 Hameln-class minesweeper, but the equipment differs. All active ships are currently stationed in Kiel on the Baltic Sea. Slightly modified Frankenthal-class minehunters are also operational with the Turkish Navy where they are referred to as the `A class`.
German Air Force
C-160D Transall 50+76 of the German Air Force made its first appearance at Glasgow International Airport on 29 September, a visit that was likely connected with Joint Warrior. The Transall was designed and produced as a joint venture between France and Germany and the name is an abbreviation of the specially formed consortium Transporter Allianz, comprising the companies of MBB, Aerospatiale and VFW-Fokker. As well as serving with the German and French Air Forces, the type has been exported to South Africa and Turkey, as well as a small number of civilian operators. The Transall, which first flew in 1963, will gradually be replaced in French and German service by the Airbus A400M Atlas.
The only Italian warship to take part this time was ITS Luigi Risso (F595) which was one of the batch that berthed at Glasgow`s KGV Dock before the exercise began. She is the Italian Navy's sixth Frégate Européen multi-mission (FREMM) vessel, and was delivered to the Italian Navy in early 2017. Under the FREMM contract, ten frigates will be built for the Italian Navy and eleven for the French Navy. The FREMM frigates can be deployed for a range of missions including maritime and anti-terrorism patrol, monitoring sea-borne migration, counter-piracy operations, humanitarian aid, and disaster relief. Luigi Risso made a surprise return to Glasgow after the exercise concluded and although I missed her inbound, I managed a few shots as she headed downriver on Sunday 22 October.
A couple of Italian Navy aircraft called in at Glasgow Airport: Piaggio P-180AM Avanti MM62211 (f/v) landed at 17:50 hrs on Wednesday 4 October and continued on its way an hour later. The following morning, NH Industries NH90 NFH (SH-90A), serial number MM81598, (f/v) also made a brief appearance. The helicopter was probably operating from the Luigi Risso.
LVNS Virsaitis (A53) is a Vidar-class coastal minelayer / command and support ship with the Latvian Navy. Dating from 1978, she was built for the Royal Norwegian Navy as minelayer at Bergen by Mjellem & Karlsen. She was originally named NoMS Vale (N53) after Odin's son Vale from Norse mythology and was was given to the Latvian Navy in 2003. Her sister ship HNoMS Vidar (N52) was sold to Lithuania in 2006 and given the name Jotvingis. She now serves with them as a command and support ship.
Royal Netherlands Navy
The only shot of Royal Netherlands Navy vessels I managed to get this time round was this dire offering of HNLMS Tromp (F803) and HNLMS De Ruyter (F804) berthed at Faslane on Sunday 1 October, several hours before they set sail. I had driven round to Roseneath mid-morning but, on hearing that the first ship wasn`t due to slip her moorings until 13:15 hrs, I decided to head back to Erskine and try and catch a few KGV departures.
The Royal Netherlands Navy`s four De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates are highly advanced air-defence and command warships, the others being HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) and HNLMS Evertsen (F805). During international exercises, including previous Joint Warriors, performance of the sensor suite and weapons platform have been proven to be exceptional and in other navies these vessels would more likely be classified as destroyers. The De Zeven Provinciën-class vessels have been successfully deployed in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa with their advanced sensors able to trace and track small slow-moving or even static surface targets. The lead ship`s name, De Zeven Provinciën, is a reference to the seven provinces which signed the treaty known as the Union of Utrecht in 1579 to unify the northern provinces of the Netherlands. Until then the country had been under the control of Habsburg Spain. HNLMS Tromp, De Ruyter and Eversten are all named after famous Dutch admirals.
The Royal Netherlands Navy's Submarine Support Ship & Torpedo Tender HNLMS Mercuur (A900) was also involved in JW172 and spent several days at the KGV Dock at the end of the exercise.
The Royal Netherlands Navy's Submarine Support Ship & Torpedo Tender HNLMS Mercuur (A900) was also involved in JW172 and spent several days at the KGV Dock at the end of the exercise.
Royal Norwegian Navy
HNOMS Rauma (M352) is an Alta-class minesweeper that dates from December 1996. Like the almost identical Oksøy-class, these vessels have a fibre-reinforced plastic catamaran hull which gives off a very low magnetic signature. Two large fans located on each side create an air cushion between the two hulls and a front and aft rubber skirt, lifting the vessel, reducing drag and enabling a high cruise speed. The shock and damage caused to these vessels by any exploding mines is likely to be greatly reduced as only a small portion of the hull is in contact with the water.
HNOMS Rauma and LVNS Virsaitis (A53) of the Latvian Navy anchored off Greenock before the exercise.
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The only Spanish participant this time round was SNS Álvaro de Bazán (F101). She is the lead ship of five air-defence frigates, which are also known as the F100-class. The sixth of the batch, the Juan de Austria, was cancelled due to soaring construction costs. The F100s are among the few non-US warships to carry the Aegis Combat System and its associated AN/SPY-1 radar, technology which enables them to track hundreds of airborne targets simultaneously. They are also the first Spanish Navy vessels to incorporate ballistic resistant steel in the hull, along with power plants mounted on anti-vibration mounts to reduce noise and make them less detectable by submarines.
United States Navy
My main reason for going to the Gare Loch on Sunday 1 October was to photograph the three departing US Navy Arleigh Burke destroyers as I`d missed them on their way in to HMNB Clyde several days previously. A US sub was also berthed at Faslane, but with the weather so bad I didn`t even attempt to spot it, let alone photograph it from the opposite side of the loch - a pity because the rugged mountain skyline makes a super backdrop on clear days.
A trio of Royal Navy MCMVs led the way with USS Donald Cook (DDG 75) (below left), USS Mitscher (DDG 57) and USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) (above & below right) leaving one after another shortly afterwards.
Although it was gusty and pouring with rain, the wind direction on Rhu Spit enabled me to stay in the car with the tailgate open and shoot in comfort from the back seat. If I`d wandered down to the navigation light as usual, I`d have been soaked within minutes plus the images wouldn`t have been much better considering the restricted visibility.
A fourth Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS MCFaul (DDG-74) (not illustrated) arrived at Faslane on Monday 9 October, as did the Royal Navy`s Type 45 Daring-class destroyer HMS Dragon (D35). USS McFaul is named in honour of U.S. Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer Donald L. McFaul (20 September 1957 – 20 December 1989) who was killed in action at Paitilla Airfield during Operation Just Cause, the 1989 United States invasion of Panama. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Navy Cross for his heroism while pulling another SEAL to safety. Only two Navy Crosses were awarded during this operation.
USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE-13), pictured here at Anchorage T, Tail o` The Bank, off Greenock on Saturday 30 September, is one of 14 Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo ships currently in service with the United States Navy`s Military Sealift Command.
Launched on 29 October 2011, USNS Medgar Evers replenishes ships at sea with ammunition, food, repair parts, stores and small quantities of fuel. Two dedicated ships provide these supplies to the U.S. Marine Corps.
The vessel is named in honour of Medgar Wiley Evers (2 July 1925 – 12 June 1963), a Mississippi-born World War II veteran and civil rights activist. He served in the US Army from 1943 to 1945 and fought in the Battle of Normandy in June 1944.
In the 1950s he worked to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi and enact social justice and voting rights. He was shot and murdered in June 1963 by Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan. All-white juries failed to reach verdicts in the first two trials and it wasn`t until 1994 that Beckwith was convicted in a further state trial, based on new evidence.