To Test New Support Ship, Royal Navy and French Navy Join Hands

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Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal
Vaibhav Agrawal is the founder editor of Bhraman (a Digital Travelogue). As an independent journalist, he is passionate for investigating and reporting on complex subjects. He has an extensive background in both print and digital media, with a focus on Travel and Defence reporting. *Views are personal

In order to assess the pulling strength and abilities, the huge assault ship, HMS Albion was hauled last the coast of Devon by the FS Garonne along with honing the Royal Navy’s own emergency procedures and the Anglo-French naval co-operation.

With an objective of providing a multitude of services right from dealing with pollution in the aftermath of spillage at sea, supporting diving operations to assisting submarines and surface ships, including the Salvage operations, the Garonne is one of the four new specialist Loire-class support ships which has been built and designed particularly for the French Navy.

All about the ships

They have also been designed in a way that makes them capable of doing France’s next-generation carrier which is due to enter the services in around mid-2030 and shall be displacing 75,000 tonnes, the metropolitan support and assistantships have been classified as bâtiments de soutien et d’assistance métropolitains.

Sometimes the damage is too extensive or the breakdowns or beyond solving in the house even though the sailors are trained extensively with the objective of fixing problems without the need for any outside help, yet sometimes the ship also requires a towing to a safe haven.

To test the Garonne’s towing ability, the next largest British Warship namely HMS Albion that is equipped with a weight of 18500 tonnes, 29 wide and 176 M long, has acted as the breakdown victim while on the other hand with HMS Queen Elizabeth deployed, her sister Prince of Wales is currently undergoing maintenance in Portsmouth Naval Base.

With the Garonne throwing her a line, it was pretended to be a  dead one in the water in the Channel by the Plymouth-based amphibious assault ship figuratively and physically. 

The MoD’s Salvage and Marine Operations that is responsible for providing towing, salvage and heavy-lift capability, the complex exercise was overseen by them from the British side.

Enduring capabilities 

According to a SALMO representative on board HMS Albion, the enduring seamanship capability between international maritime partners is maintained which is fundamentally ensured by such exercises while it also tests that in the event of an emergency, HMS Albion’s ability to be towed safely exists.

In order to operate as a global navy, the ability to integrate effectively and quickly with International partners proves to be a key component, supporting global Britain, as said by another official.

To prove the ability for working with NATO’S submarine rescue system (NSRS), Intensive trials along with training was carried out before participating in the towing exercise, by Garonne. 

Docking with the escape hatches along with carrying out an evacuation, the jointly owned Norwegian, French and the United Kingdom system is capable of diving down to a submarine in distress. 

For clearing any debris or wires entangling the vessel along with confirming the location of disabled submarines and supplying them with the life support equipment, a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)  is used which is one of the key parts of the system.

Joint working

For carrying out tests with new technology that shall result in speeding up of emergency reaction time, the NATO’S Submarine Rescue System team, headed by the Commander of the Royal Navy, worked with Garland’s crew with the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).

In order to support the Global submarine rescue network, the NSRS is designed to be transported anywhere across the world within 72 hours while it is based at the home of the United Kingdom’s submarine service at Clyde Naval base which is present in Scotland.

A new level of operational flexibility for the system shall be provided by this first deployment of NSRS to the Loire-class following the successful training off the South Coast of the UK.

For ensuring greater integration between the two navies, in an extensive workout with the French warships, the destroyer HMS Dragon took part and airpower off the Brest peninsula, exercise sky sharks in the previous month on top of the above-cited joint working.


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