In darkness on the coast of Normandy, 3 small boats are on the shore waiting for the criminal gang to give them permission to launch.
Once they launch they will stay together for 45 minutes, then take different directions to maximise their chances of success.
They launch on a heading for southern England. Ultimately, one boat will head for the SW, one for the S and the third for the SE.
All 3 boats and passengers were unaware that, as they left Normandy, the RAF in Scotland launched a P-8 Poseidon aircraft to track vessels crossing the channel. It took the P-8 less than an hour to be on task over the channel.
The 3 boats were all immediately located by the P-8, by now each taking their own bearings, one for the SW, one for the S and the final one for the SE.
The Command and Control for this operation, which included the Border Force vessels HMC Searcher (a cutter) and HMC Nimod (20M RIB) and the Royal Navy vessel HMS Somerset as well as the P-8 and the ground forces was accomplished using the communications capability SlingShot. A single beam covering the complete operational area, from Scotland to Normandy, a distance of over 800 km.
The P-8 passed the co-ordinates of the 3 vessels to all the surface vessels and the ground forces ensuring all elements and agencies were aware of the physical location of the gang’s small boats.
HMS Somerset was furthest West having sailed out of Plymouth, so picked up the small boat closest to them. HMC Nimrod intercepted the boat heading towards Dorset and finally, HMC Searcher intercepted the small boat heading towards the Dover area. A number of agencies were also on the Command and Control net ensuring ground elements could coordinate with the various vessels to collect the criminals once the ships docked or to transport the cargo to shore for onward processing as required.
The operation ran seamlessly with all agencies and platforms enjoying the all informed radio net provided by SlingShot extending their existing radio range of operation to 1000s of Km utilising Inmarsat’s geostationary satellite service, L-TAC. The Communications on the Move also allowed all operationally deployed elements to communicate without the necessity to pause and acquire the satellite, and so potentially allowing the targets crucial time.
SlingShot was designed and manufactured to support multi-agency operations that require the dynamic and responsive communications that are demanded by the Commander. Small, light and easy to operate this capability has been proven, and continues to be proven, on numerous operations around the world.