Operating from one of QinetiQ’s T3E ranges, Ministry of Defence Aberporth, Exercise SHARPSHOOTER 22 (EXSS 22) allowed the ship’s personnel to use live ammunition from medium and close-range weapons against dynamic remote controlled surface vessels and static targets.

Experts from Inzpire’s maritime and collective training divisions worked closely with the Fleet Operational Sea Training (FOST) team to understand the customer’s needs and develop a scenario that would meet training objectives.

The scenario was then, with QinetiQ’s range capability, presented to the ship’s team with time-sensitive tactical dilemmas, created to rehearse the rapid prioritisation and engagement of high-threat targets travelling at real-world speeds.

The first two days tested the ship’s ability to operate its gunnery systems against static targets in a deliberate fashion with maritime patrol aircraft, coastal defence cruise missile and coastguard enemy interactions overlaid.

During this phase, Inzpire provided additional capacity to the FOST team both ashore and afloat by simulating the maritime component commander’s operational staff work and orders, to enable the immersive delivery of EXSS 22.

The close liaison between QinetiQ staff and the exercise director supported the dynamic range management needed to enable the smooth and safe conduct of the training.

This collaborative approach also provided flexibility to adapt the plan due to challenging weather conditions, with minimal impact to the ship’s team.

In a true multi-agency approach, the exercise was also supported by analysts from the Maritime Capability Trials and Assessment (MCTA) team as well as members of 148 (Meiktila) Commando Forward Observation Battery, 29 Commando Regiment and Royal Artillery, who supported the ship’s medium range gunnery firings.

The final day saw an increase in complexity of the scenario. Using its weapon systems and live ammunition, the ship responded to multiple targets including fast inshore attack craft while managing threats from maritime patrol aircraft and synthetic coastal defence cruise missile attacks.

On completion of the training period, Inzpire personnel facilitated interactive debriefs with the ship’s company and FOST staff, noting any key lessons to ensure maximum training benefit. It was noted by all parties that EXSS 22 added a layer of scenario complexity not seen in previous SHARPSHOOTER packages, all enabled through QinetiQ’s range and target expertise.

Personnel from across Inzpire’s collective training, space and cyber divisions provided additional content and subject matter expertise throughout the event, which enhanced the multi-domain aspects of the training and supported the MOD’s aim of achieving greater lethality and agility across warfare domains.

“By developing and delivering dynamically managed training vignettes, Inzpire provided an immersive tactical wrapper, which allowed the ship’s team the freedom to operate weapon systems against QinetiQ’s array of targets thereby enabling them to more effectively train as they would fight,” said Nick Borbone, Head of Inzpire Maritime Division.