Flag Officer Sea Training (United Kingdom)

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Flag Officer Sea Training
- FOST -

Crest of FOST - Flag Officer Sea Training.gif

Coat of arms of the FOST
active 1958 to 2020
Country United KingdomUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Armed forces United KingdomUnited Kingdom (Naval War Flag) United Kingdom - Royal Navy
Type Mission training facility
Strength 270 trainers (2008)
Insinuation Flag Officer Surface Flotilla (from 1995: C-in-C Fleet)
Former locations Portland
Nickname Portland
Beacon on the breakwater in front of the port of Portland used by the FOST

The Royal Navy's Flag Officer Sea Training ( FOST ) had been responsible for Fleet Operational Sea Training (also FOST) and Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) at the Portland base near Weymouth in the British county of Dorset since 1958 Operational training for the crews of warships to carry out. The aim of the facility was to check the level of training of the ship's command and crew and to strive for the highest quality.

In 1995 FOST was relocated to Plymouth and on May 1, 2020 the training commander was given the designation Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training (COM FOST), as the management is no longer with an admiral ( flag officer ), but with a sea captain ( Captain, RN ) is in the honorary rank of Commodore .

Since 1962, the larger units of the Bundesmarine / German Navy have also regularly undergone Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) at the FOST, which was then referred to as German Operational Sea Training (GOST).


Frigate HMS Llandaff , the first unit to undergo training at FOST in the fall of 1958

In the United Kingdom, a new system of service in the armed forces was introduced in 1954. For the Royal Navy this meant that their ships had to work with completely new crews more frequently than before. Under the then First Sea Lord , Lord Louis Mountbatten , the Flag Officer Sea Training was introduced in September 1958 , which was carried out in the form of a special, originally seven-week course (called " shakedown" ). Crews of newly commissioned ships received familiarization courses in the operation of the facilities and systems and their interaction. This provided initial experience in dealing with all eventualities that they would potentially encounter in later service at sea and in combat.

Portland was chosen as the location because the open sea is reached immediately after leaving the port and, apart from other naval bases and civil sea or ferry ports, the exercises and maneuvers of the participating ships were subject to few nautical restrictions for the practice and training operations.

The Flag Officer Sea Training moved to Plymouth in 1995 as the Portland base closed in 1999. At the same time, FOST switched from the command area of ​​the Flag Officer Surface Flotilla (FOSF; Admiral of the surface units) to the Commander-in-Chief Fleet (C-in-C Fleet; fleet chief).


After moving to Plymouth and the changed subordination in 1997, FOST became the central and only command with responsibility for the entire operational training of the sea and land-based units of the Royal Navy. Submarines and smaller units undergo training in the FOST department in Faslane, Scotland .

In 2008, FOST had 270 instructors called " Seariders" . The training company took place in 46 weeks per year, so that the annual capacity of the training was 25 units.

FOST had its own helicopters, which enable the instructors to get onto the ships with minimal delay during intensive training phases. For cost reasons, different equipment (aircraft and motor yachts to represent opponents) was rented in each case.


The actual training and testing phase was called Basic Operational Sea Training (BOST) and usually lasted six weeks. These were combined examinations of the technical condition of the ship and checks of the operational readiness of the crew, including a weekly combat scenario with nautical and artillery role duty , with particular emphasis on the area of ship security.

Before the start of any training, the FOST Command carried out a Material Assessment & Safety Check (MASC, formerly Staff Sea Check ). The material clarity on board was checked in detail for a day . The result indicated whether the unit was " safe to train" . If deficiencies were found, FOST refused to let personnel go on board and the training did not take place.

Days of massed exercise were known as “ Thursday War” or “ Weekly War” . Up to 30 Seariders came on board and steered or observed a training mission in which the aim was to guide a vehicle to be protected (mostly the tanker under the FOST) to a destination without delay. The exercise was to fend off simulated submarine, surface and air attacks and to avoid mines. In later years of the FOST, simulated attacks by pirates and terrorists were used to practice dealing with asymmetrical threats . The "opponents" in the exercises were British, German, Dutch and (later) Polish submarines (who trained their skills in this way), Hawk and Learjets (civilian chartered) and yachts (which were also civilly rented). The end of such a day of intensive combat exercises was an oral and written maneuver criticism, ie an assessment of the ship's command and all sections (“ assessment ).

An extensive disaster exercise was carried out during one of the harbor weeks . The aim was to practice rescue measures on land after a simulated natural disaster as realistically as possible (extinguishing fires, rescuing people, caring for the injured, recovering the dead, restoring infrastructure, supplying the population with essentials).

Units of the Royal Navy could also complete a so-called continuation training of 1 to 2 weeks duration, a directed continuation training geared to a specific mission or a mobile sea training on the transit, also in the operational area.

With the Basic Operational Sea Training, FOST carried out level 1 (" Tier-1 ") training for individual units and their crews. Stage 2 (" Tier 2" ) for jointly operating associations or task groups took place twice a year as part of the Joint Warrior exercise (formerly the Joint Maritime Course and Neptune Warrior ).

International orientation

In addition to training the Royal Navy personnel, FOST was also able to provide operational training for naval units from NATO and Commonwealth countries. About a third of the capacity was used in this area.

Similar facilities of the navies of India and Pakistan correspond to the model of the British FOST . In the United States exists as a counterpart , the Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV) of the US Navy . When the USS Forrest Sherman went through a short version of BOST in 2012, comments from the crew were that it was " even more intense than INSURV" .

Even after the relocation in 1995 and the restructuring in 2020, the operational training at COM FOST continues to enjoy the same high reputation as that which has been provided by the FOST since 1958.

Use by German units

Corvette Braunschweig (F260)

Practically all former members of the former Destroyer Flotilla of the German Navy and the Operational Flotilla 2 of the German Navy participated in the operational training in Portland and later in Devonport. In 2008, the frequency of training for German units was 6 to 7 per year.

In the structure of the German Navy, the use of the FOST was in the area of ​​the commander of the fleet . The Naval Office was responsible for content and expertise .

The Federal Navy and the German Navy permanently stationed a liaison officer with the rank of frigate captain at the FOST. At the same time he was in charge of the operational training staff of the operational flotilla 2. Together with another officer and five Portepee NCOs , he formed the German Liaison Team . (As of 2008)

At the end of the 44th training trip abroad, the training ship Germany (A59) called at Portland in August 1974.

The destroyer Schleswig-Holstein graduated from the BOST in 1974. The then commander and later commander of the fleet , Dieter Franz Braun , describes in his memoir that the relationship between the commanders and the FOST training staff was not always free of tension.

The Cologne frigate graduated from the BOST in Portland in October 1978 and from February 24 to March 24, 1981.

In summer 2006 the frigate Sachsen completed its GOST in Devonport (Plymouth) and in autumn 2007 the frigate Hamburg followed .

2011 was the first time a Corvette of Class 130 , the Braunschweig , the FOST.

German units were often among the best of the year in training at FOST. In 2007 z. B. the frigate Rhineland-Palatinate among the three best FOST participants, in the first half of 2008 the frigate Karlsruhe had the best result of all participating units.

The six-week GOST was divided into a port, a sea and another port week and finally three sea weeks. Before taking part in the GOST, the units went to Neustadt for a ship safety course for two weeks .

From 2019, the German Navy also carried out the GOST in domestic waters, but based on the British FOST model. One of the reasons was that the Royal Navy with new units, e. B. two aircraft carriers , had an increased need for training capacity. The first unit to complete the GOST in this way was the frigate Lübeck in autumn 2019 .


Flag Officer Sea Training

The position held:

From July 2015 also Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (training):

Commander Fleet Operational Sea Training

  • Commodore Andrew Stacey, since June 2020

Web links

Commons : Flag Officer Sea Training  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. FOST Royal Navy ( en ) MOD, 2017. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  2. ^ Navy Command Secretariat: Release of Information. In: www.whatdotheyknow.com. April 27, 2020, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  3. Björn Müller: This is how Bundeswehr warships are "ready to fight". In: Pivot Area. December 15, 2015, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  4. a b c d e f Andreas Uhl: 50 years of Flag Officer Sea Training. In: www.globaldefence.net. Holger Paletschek, September 19, 2008, accessed on July 5, 2021 .
  5. ^ A. Cecil Hampshire: The Royal Navy Since 1945 . William Kimber & Co. Ltd., London 1975, ISBN 0-7183-0034-3 , pp. 176 .
  6. ^ Navy marks 50th year of world-renowned training. In: Royal Navy History. UK Government, 2009, archived from the original ; accessed on July 5, 2021 .
  7. a b c Flag Officer Sea Training. In: helis.com. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  8. Joris Janssen Lok: FOST: Preparing the RN's ships for action . In: Jane's Defense Weekly . July 15, 1995, p. 31 .
  9. Richard Scott: FOST . In: Jane's Defense Weekly . January 27, 2005.
  10. ^ Flag Officer Sea Training. In: Indian Navy. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  11. OPERATIONAL SEA TRAINING WING. In: Pakistan Navy. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  12. ^ Board of Inspection and Survey (INSURV). In: Official US Navy Website. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  13. ^ American warship put to the ultimate test by Royal Navy trainers. In: Navy News. Royal Navy, April 12, 2012, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  14. FLEET OPERATIONAL SEA TRAINING. In: Royal Navy. MOD, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  15. Fleet Command (inventory). In: Bundesarchiv, BArch BM 10. Retrieved on July 5, 2021 .
  16. Flag Officer Sea Training (FOST): Vol. 2. In: Bundesarchiv, BArch BM 1/1370. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  17. ^ Jürgen Rhades: School ship Germany . Bernard & Graefe Verlag, Koblenz 1987, ISBN 3-7637-5221-8 .
  18. Blue Braun: Memories of the Navy 1956-1996 . 2nd Edition. Carola Hartmann Miles Verlag, Norderstedt 2013, ISBN 978-3-937885-47-6 , p. 288 .
  19. Michael Berk, Norbert Wendt, Klaus-Dieter Triebel: Combat training. In: fregatte-koeln.de. Retrieved July 5, 2021 .
  20. Andreas Uhl: F 124-Lessons Learned for F 125? In: globaldefence.net. January 25, 2008, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  21. The frigate “Brandenburg” completed its German Operational Sea Training from June 2nd to July 2nd. For the second time, the training was conducted exclusively by German leaders. In: bundeswehr.de. July 22, 2020, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  22. Michael Halama: Training on New Paths. In: Wilhelmshavener Zeitung. December 17, 2019, accessed July 5, 2021 .
  23. ^ A b Colin Mackie: Senior Royal Navy Appointments from 1865: Flag Officer, Sea Training. In: Gulabin. January 2017, p. 245 , accessed on July 5, 2021 (English).
  24. George Allison: Flag Officer Sea Training Organization renamed. In: ukdefencejournal.org.uk. June 29, 2020, accessed July 5, 2021 .