The Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose has spent a busy week on the NATO weapon and sensor range at Stavanger, in southern Norway.
The ship arrived in time for a much-anticipated weekend alongside in one of the busiest and oldest ports in Norway, berthed in the heart of the city, adjacent to the new Opera House.
After a day of harbour checks, the ship went to sea on this advanced test range for 3 days, with the aim of the process to provide objective checks of the accuracy and effectiveness of the Ship’s weapons, sensors and navigation equipment.
The programme included static and dynamic ranging, along with Anti-Ship Missile Defence, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti Surface Warfare serials, focusing on ensuring that every bit of her capability, fresh from an extensive refit last year, was sufficient to support the Ship’s future tasking.
This NATO range is well used by UK and alliance units – sister ships HMS Somerset and HMS Sutherland used it late last year, and it is often used by members of Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) 1 and 2 to conduct trials on their sensors.
SNMG 2 is currently commanded by the UK with the Type 45 Air Defence Destroyer HMS Duncan.
The ship’s Navigator Lieutenant Byron Linn said of the experience ‘It’s great to take the ship out of UK waters and enjoy the challenge of navigating through the beautiful Norwegian fjords’.
One of the ship’s Warfare Officers, Lieutenant Kevin Cabra Netherton said “It’s been a busy week but I’ve enjoyed pushing the ship to its limits to see how it copes with a full spectrum of war fighting serials.”
While HMS Montrose was alongside in Stavanger, the Commanding Officer - Cdr Conor O’Neill, took the opportunity to meet the Deputy Mayor of Stavanger – Bjorg Tysdal Mo and the Harbour Master – Maritime Chief Trond Andersen.
Norway and the UK have strong ties, dating from before the Second World War, not least as Free Norwegian Navy warships were based in our namesake town of Montrose, on Scotland’s East Coast, during the conflict.