Skip to main content



03 May 2024

Extending Hans across the ocean Royal and German Navies step up training ties

Extending Hans across the ocean Royal and German Navies step up training ties
Royal Navy Image
Royal Navy Press Release
The Royal and German Navies are to step up their 66-year partnership preparing the latter’s warships for front-line action worldwide.

In return, the Royal Navy will benefit from the use of U-boats to train British – and other warships which make use of its world-renowned combat training organisation, FOST.

The German Fleet will also provide one of their auxiliary oilers such as FGS Berlin or Bonn when Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships are unavailable as the ‘duty FOST tanker’ due to other operational commitments.

Rear Admiral Axel Schulz, Commander German Navy’s 2nd Flotilla based at Wilhelmshaven, visited frigate FGS Hamburg, being put through her paces in the South Coast Exercise Areas off Plymouth before putting his signature next to that of Commodore Andrew Ingham, Commander FOST, on the new memorandum of understanding.

The result should be the increased ability of major German units to slot seamlessly into operations with the Royal Navy or NATO (and vice versa) and increased training capacity where exchange personnel are employed.

In its various incarnations and locations (presently Fleet Operational Standards and Training in Devonport Naval Base) FOST has been helping Hans… and Franz and, more recently, Hannah and Emilia, since 1958.

Some 50,000 Matrosen (German for matelots) and nearly 250 ships and units have been prepared for deployments with first the West German Bundesmarine and, since reunification Deutsche Marine tested on Operational Sea Training.

The German Navy operates its own counterpart to FOST, the Einsatzausbildungszentrum Schadensabwehr Marine (EAZS M) – Combat Training Centre and Damage Control Navy – in the picture-postcard town of Neustadt on the Baltic coast between Kiel and Lübeck.

The training at FOST offers broader preparation – a bespoke workout for Royal Navy and allied ships featuring mock attacks by air and sea, disaster relief provision, complex multi-ship manoeuvres, operating alongside other NATO ships, as well as geo-political and environmental considerations for crews to bear in mind.

No Royal Navy ship can deploy on front-line operations before it has passed a FOST assessment.

View all News