The Navy Academy supports the Belgian-Netherlands mine counter measures vessels (MCMV) and other Belgian “small vessels” (e.g., coastal patrol vessels) during their work up period.
At the end of a long maintenance period and prior to being operationally ready, the BEL/NLD MCMV’s are subjected to a series of tests and trials known as the “Safety and Readiness Check” (SARC) trajectory.
The SARC’s are numbered from 1 to 6
SARC 1 and 2 are conducted to test whether the ship can sail. A “fast cruise” day is an operational program when alongside during which all safety roles are trained (e.g., abandon ship, man overboard, …). During this period, crew members conduct safety team training planned, organised, and coached by different experts from NAC (e.g., navigation, deck, FF, DC, engineering, …).
As from the SARC 3 onwards, the training program is planned and organised by Mine Counter Measures Operational Sea Train (MOST). NAC provides support to this work-up by delivering experts as coach of the ship’s crew. The SARC 3 is a period of one week during which the ship has its work up to the Ready for Sea (RFS) status.
The next step at MOST is the SARC 4, a two weeks period during which the ship conducts a weekly practise operational program (including Naval Mine Warfare (NMW)) to obtain the certification Ready For Exercise (RFE). At that moment, the ship can participate in NATO exercises but is still one step away from being able to participate in a real NMW operation. The last control period, the five-six weeks SARC 5 followed by the “test” SARC 6, is conducted in a multi-threat scenario. After a successful completion, the vessel will earn the “Ready for Duty” (RFD) status and is ready to be deployed anywhere at any time for any NMW operation.
Crew and vessel are evaluated by the NMW experts on:
- The execution of systems check.
- The preparation of an MCM operation
- The correct use of procedures in an MCM environment.
- The use of all sensors in different environmental conditions.
- The safe use of all weapon systems.
Those evaluations are executed in the simulator and at sea. The Navy Academy possesses a state of the art simulator capable of testing ship’s crew in any MCM environment using their on board systems and weapons.
The Navy Academy is also responsible for the small fire arms training of the crews.