Navy Information – Reporting from the Fleet

The Navy’s most profitable weapon system of the post-WW2 period – the Sea Skua – has been fired for the final time as HMS Portland’s Lynx launched three of the missiles within the mid-Atlantic.

The mixture of Lynx and Sea Skua is credited with wiping out the core of Saddam Hussein’s Navy within the first Gulf Struggle and knocked out Argentine vessels within the Falklands in 1982.

BOMBED-UP for the final time, this can be a Lynx Mk8 getting ready for the ultimate firing of the Royal Navy’s most profitable weapon since WW2.

The Sea Skua missile all however worn out Saddam Hussein’s Navy single-handedly within the first Gulf Struggle in 1991, wrecking 14 enemy ships.

However with the Lynx helicopter which carries it simply weeks away from being retired, the missiles have been launched for the ultimate time in the midst of the Atlantic as HMS Portland let rip – solely the third time this century stay Sea Skuas have been fired.

It took a day’s preparation to prepared the helicopter and three missiles (a Lynx can truly carry 4) for the ultimate firing because the frigate, which has been the Lynx’s dwelling for the previous eight months, headed north from the Azores.

Solely one of many sailors liable for sustaining the helicopter or taking care of its weaponry had ever totally tooled a Lynx up earlier than.

The Lynx engineers load the Sea Skuas on the helicopter’s outer pylons

Once they have been completed, Portland launched her big inflatable ‘killer tomato’ goal – usually used for gunnery follow.

Lifting off at close to most weight, with sufficient gasoline for a sortie of simply 70 minutes, most of which was spent scouring the Atlantic to ensure there wasn’t slightest probability of hitting a service provider vessel, whereas the staff in HMS Portland’s operations checked their radars and sensors to ensure the skies over the vary have been freed from different plane.

After a 35-minute search, the world was declared clear and the plane cleared to fireplace. After guaranteeing all checks have been full and a closing test of the firing bearing the crew chosen a missile and Flight Commander Lt Laura Cambrook pressed the crimson hearth button.

There adopted an preliminary silence because the system carried out its preliminary checks after the button was pressed, earlier than the missile was felt to drop.

There was one other seemingly interminable silence earlier than the missile rocket motors fired up and the primary Sea Skua was away.

“A really loud whoosh was heard contained in the Lynx earlier than we noticed the missile showing in entrance of the helicopter flying very quick into the gap,” mentioned Lt Cambrook who fired two of the three missiles, together with her pilot, Lt ‘Jack’ Leonard launching a 3rd.

And never one hit dwelling – intentionally. The missiles have been set to skim excessive of their goal – permitting Portland’s gunners the possibility to hone their abilities and end off the massive crimson inflatable.

Sea Skua has been in service for the reason that Falklands in 1982, when it was rushed into motion and was used to disable a number of Argentine vessels.

What a Sea Skua launch seems like – as seen over the past check firings off Wales in 2014

It actually made its mark in 1991 – not least as a result of the US Navy had nothing related, so Sea Skua-armed Lynx have been despatched in to catch Iraqi ships as they tried to interrupt out off Babiyan Island. Most have been shot up in what the Individuals dubbed a ‘turkey shoot’.

With Lynx retiring from service on the finish of March – there’s a closing fly-past by the remaining helicopters over southern England on Friday March 17, climate allowing – Sea Skua can be ending its service as its not suitable with the Lynx’s successor, Wildcat.

The latter will obtain two new replacements for Sea Skua: the heavy anti-ship missile Sea Venom, and the smaller Martlett for use towards RIBs and small boats.

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