Exercise Leesplash - 08/05/2006

The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group during an exercise.

By Gavin Carr

Members of the public in Helensburgh will get “front-row” seats to witness a rarely seen military capability when the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group test their skills on July 8th and 9th.

The group of Royal Navy sailors and Royal Marines act as first-responders to submarines in distress, leaping from aircraft into the water to deliver life rafts, rations, first aid and communications equipment to vessels in distress.

During the upcoming exercise, the team will jump from military aircraft adjacent to Helensburgh seafront, descending into the waters of the Firth of Clyde.

Rear Admiral John Weale CB OBE, Head of the Royal Navy Submarine Service and Flag Officer Scotland and Northern Ireland, said:  “Submariners usually stick to the underwater environment so it’s very rare to see them take to the air like this.

“The Submarine Parachute Assistance Group provide a valuable capability and are ready at six-hours’ notice to fly to a submarine in distress anywhere in the world to aid rescue efforts.

“Hopefully, weather permitting, it should be a spectacular sight for those on the Helensburgh seafront and surrounding areas.”

Formed in the 1960s, the team are qualified submariners, medical staff and Royal Marines, currently based at the Submarine Escape Training Tank in Gosport.

Each are trained in water entry parachute skills and often work in conjunction with the NATO Submarine Rescue System, operated from HM Naval Base Clyde.

Jumps are planned to take place at approximately 5pm and 9.30pm on Monday, July 8, and at 4pm and 7pm on Tuesday, July 9.  The exercise will be dependent on the weather so could be delayed or postponed if conditions are particularly poor.




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