Brocklesby sets sail to use new minehunting system

HMS Brocklesby leaving Portsmouth to begin a NATO mission in the Baltic [Picture: LA(Phot) Owen King]

Royal Navy minehunter HMS Brocklesby left Portsmouth yesterday for a six-month mission which will see her use her state-of-the-art mine warfare system for the first time.

HMS Brocklesby will become part of a NATO group including mine countermeasures vessels from Germany, Belgium, Latvia and the Netherlands, and a Danish frigate, which will embark on the clearance of live Second World War ordnance from the English Channel, North Sea and Baltic.

This operation will allow Brocklesby to use Seafox, her new state-of-the-art mine warfare system, which comprises a remote-controlled unmanned submarine with a camera and is capable of destroying ordnance in depths of more than 300 metres.

Prior to beginning the operation, the NATO group will travel to Copenhagen where they will attend a ceremony to mark Denmark taking command of NATO’s mine countermeasures group in the region and will then sail to the Mediterranean for a month of exercises.

HMS Brocklesby's Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Tom Tredray, said:
"It will be busy but varied – it is always interesting working with ships from foreign navies and I know the younger members of the ship's company in particular are looking forward to that.

"We also have a number of goodwill port visits lined up in France, Italy, Spain and Germany."

The ship's company are also looking forward to speedier internet and email access – Brocklesby is one of the first ships in the Royal Navy to be fitted with an upgraded broadband system.

The ship is due to return to Portsmouth in July 2009. (news

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