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|HMS Daring - Great Balls of Fire|
|Friday, 15 October 2010|
After a prolonged stay in Norfolk, HMS Daring sailed to join the USS Enterprise and her strike group at sea for the exercise otherwise known as C2X.
The Strike Group totalling 12 vessels and over 70 aircraft have been operating within the US Navy's exercise areas off the Eastern Coast of America.
US naval assets include an aircraft carrier, 3 cruisers, 3 destroyers, 3 frigates and 1 supply ship. The norwegian frigate 'Fridtjof Nansen' and Daring are the only 2 non-US assets taking part. Daring has already played a significant part in the exercise. After just one day at sea with the Strike Group, Daring was tasked to take up the duty of checking in and checking out all of the exercise aircraft. The pilots of the F18s, Prowlers, E2Cs and Seahawks had nothing but positive comments for the warfare specialists manning the circuits, and Daring's radars and command system appeared to be working superbly, providing a full air picture and passing that out to all the other allied units. Watching the awe inspiring deck operations on USS Enterprise is a real privilege.
This 'C2X' as it is referred to is designed to test the might of the USN in their ability to conduct warfare in all spheres of influence; a bit like our BOST in the South Coast Exercise Areas but on a larger scale. A few members of the warfare team got the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to 'cross deck' and spend 24 hours on the carrier.
Lt Si Cox, one of Daring's Fighter Controllers, who organised the visit, had this to say:
'It was a dream come true, we were stood literally 15 feet from the wing tips of jets as they landed and took off; the heat from their jet blast felt as if it would melt your face. The Americans really know what they're doing, everything runs smoothly and in under a minute they can get four F18s off the deck. Recovering them is a bit trickier but it's all done on a voiceless procedure from the flight deck which shows you just how well they need to know their job. You could almost reach out and touch the aircraft as they come in to land, that's how close we were. The pilots are very cool; when they're not flying they run the flight deck – after all they're the best ones to know if the jets are 'too high or too low'! I was like a kid in toy shop and I think I annoyed some people with my geeking'.