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11 April 2011, 09:21 | Updated: 11 April 2011, 09:24
A flotilla of five Royal Navy P2000 fast patrol craft will call in at Portland Harbour from April 11-13.
HM Ships Raider, Biter, Charger, Exploit and Smiter are all part of the University Royal Naval Units (URNU) squadron and are gathering at Portland Marina ahead of a squad exercise to be held at Portsmouth.
Usually based at ports close to the university or universities with which they are linked, these boats don’t often come together in such numbers.
During the short visit, the five craft will host a number of local guests for a reception and capability demonstration, before returning to sea on Wednesday morning with cadets and guests embarked for the transit to Portsmouth.
The squad exercise on the Solent will put the interoperability of these fast past boats to the test in this annual training event.
The five visiting P2000s are:
HMS Smiter - the Glasgow universities' vessel, usually based at HMNB Clyde
HMS Biter - Manchester universities' ship, home port in Liverpool
HMS Charger - Liverpool universities' boat, also based in Liverpool
HMS Exploit - the P2000 for the Birmingham universities, normally based in Wales
HMS Raider - Bristol's craft, normally based in her namesake city
There are currently 14 URNUs supporting the countries' leading universities in England, Wales and Scotland.
The organisation's mission is to "educate a wide spectrum of high calibre undergraduates who show potential as society's future leaders and opinion formers in order to better inform them of the need for and role of the Royal Navy, and to develop awareness of career opportunities in the service".
Each URNU is commanded by a Royal Navy lieutenant who is responsible for 51 undergraduates who each join the URNU as RN Reservists for their three or four years at university. Training is conducted one evening a week in shore units at or near the university and at sea, over the weekends and during the vacations, by a dedicated Archer Class P2000 20-metre patrol craft.