Submarine summit at Faslane
A Vanguard Class submarine, HMS Victorious, leaving its base at Faslane on the Gareloch. Picture by the Royal Navy
Hundreds of submariners of all ranks gathered for their annual conference, held in the HMS Neptune Super-mess at HM Naval Base Clyde in June.
The conference was hosted by Commander Faslane Flotilla, Commodore Jim Perks and Assistant Chief of Staff Submarines, Commodore Bob Anstey with the event opening with a video address from Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Ben Key.
The theme of this year’s conference was “Innovation for the Future” and this was touched on throughout the day, with many of the presentations highlighting how innovation and change will impact on the future of HM Naval Base Clyde.
The Base will be the future home of the entire UK Submarine Service with the last two Trafalgar class boats moving from Devonport to the Clyde by 2020, the final four Astute class will join their three sister boats there by the mid-2020s and the Dreadnought Class of deterrent submarines expected in service from the early 2030s.
Indeed, Dreadnought was the focus of this year’s key note speech, presented by Mr Paul Blythe of BAE systems. The presentation included a computer-generated 3D fly through of the future Royal Navy submarine.
Comparable in size to the Vanguard class submarines, the next generation of nuclear deterrent submarine is widely considered to be one of the world’s most complex engineering challenges. Technological advances, threat changes and new methods of production mean the submarines will be a completely new design.
One of the new design features is innovative new lighting onboard, which will allow the crew to simulate night and day – a first for a Royal Navy submarine.
Work has already started on the new Submarine Escape, Rescue, Abandonment and Survival (SMERAS) Training Facility, which will see the Naval Base become the Submarine Centre of Specialisation. The facility is due to complete in May 2019 and will provide highly specialised training for submariners well into the future.
After lunch, Rear Admiral Submarines, John Weale OBE, left, addressed the audience to thank the Submarine Community and the wider Submarine Enterprise for their continued hard work and support over the last year. He spoke of the change of operational focus from engineering to capability and warfighting, highlighting the importance of innovation in Scotland and in the wider Royal Navy. For the Royal Navy to retain its world class capabilities then it will have to continue to innovate, adapt and evolve to meet the changing operational circumstances.
Conference organiser, Commander Jim McGuire said: “This is one of the key events in the Submarine Service regimental calendar and I was pleased to see that it was well attended by all areas of the submarine enterprise. It is important that we continue to develop the format of the conference with the aim of reaching as many of our fellow submariners as possible.”