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L to R Lt Matt Price RN, Lt Mike Howarth, Lt Cdr Brian Dobson Rtd

Submariners contribution to CHF

Published: 23 May 2012

Aircrew and aircraft engineers from 845 Naval Air Squadron were rather perplexed when they spotted 3 venerable submariners who are serving with the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) in deep discussion inside one of their Sea King helicopter. On further examination they discovered the submariners were attempting to enhance the aircraft’s capability by adding a mock up of a periscope. After a moment's discussion the concerned engineers discounted the idea stating that whilst the periscope would provide a 360 view outside the aircraft, it would be too costly to install!

It was very apparent that one of the periscope designers, Lt Mike Howarth CHF Logistics Officer, had no previous experience working with aircraft, but he had served in submarines for 23 years. He is one of only 22 men in the RN who have earned the coveted gold pin for more than 20 patrols in one of the RN’s Trident and Polaris submarines.

“I knew the modification would pose some problems but as I am sometimes required to fly I thought the scope would add another dimension to the role of CHF!!.” explained Mike, “However on a serious note, there are some striking similarities in the way submariners and Junglies have to think, source and plan ahead to meet strict timelines, priorities and, of course, sustain the Force for long periods away from their home base. We are also continually training for war in CHF and the Junglie ethos of ‘train hard fight easy’ is definitely comparable to that of the submarine service.”

Lt Matt Price, Executive Assistant to the CO, CHF has served in the submarine service for 3 years completing 4 deterrent patrols in HMS Vengeance. “There is certainly a lot of banter between the Submariners and our Fleet Air Arm counterparts but our goals are the same – providing the front line with an efficient support and logistic capability.”

Lt Cdr Brian Dobson Rtd an ‘old and bold’ submariner has served as the CHF Support Manager for 10 years. An experienced above and below water Naval Officer he has served in a number of ships including HMS Sheffield and the submarine HMS Sovereign as the Logistics Officer. Commenting on his experience with CHF he added, “CHF has a amalgam of officers who have a wide variety of experiences to offer the Force. CHF is an extremely dynamic unit and has been involved continually on Operations since 1991. Despite the fast Operational tempo, it’s still a great place to work for both civilians and servicemen alike.”


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