Royal Marines from 42 Commando have conducted a simulated assault launched from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Recently sold HMS Ocean could carry up to 690 Embarked Military Forces (EMF) – Royal Marines and Aviation Group personnel – in addition to her ship’s company. HMS Queen Elizabeth can embark up to 900, in addition to their ship’s company, in support of their missions and tasks and a flexible mix of aircraft subject to the operational tasking.
According to the Royal Navy, the troops were processed from their accommodation, through the ship, collecting kit, including weapons and ammunition in a carefully orchestrated process, in through the massive hangar and onto the flight deck to simulate being launched ashore by helicopter.
“The Royal Navy’s amphibious assault capability has to now been provided by assault ships HMS Bulwark and Albion and the Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH), HMS Ocean.
Whilst HMS Queen Elizabeth does not have the surface assault capability with landing craft of the specialist ships, her four-acre flight deck provides plenty of scope from which to project manpower and equipment ashore using the variety of helicopters she will be able to host.”
Having previously served on HMS Ark Royal, the Ship’s Amphibious Operations Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Mark Searight Royal Marines says the training today is as relevant as it ever was:
“We are mirroring exactly what we did in our previous carriers and HMS Ocean; our SOPs are almost identical. But there has been a degree of the Marines having to relearn some of the skills that we took for granted before our most recent land campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Marines are an adaptable force; that’s our USP as the UK’s amphibious forces. So to ask them to spend time at sea is not a surprise or a task too far for any of them. But we’ve taken some time away from conducting major sea campaigns so this sort of training is extremely valuable.”
In order for the ship to demonstrate an initial capability to operate in the Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) role, it should be able to project Royal Marines and their equipment ashore by aviation, prove ship to shore communications, sustain the troops for the period they are ashore and recover them back to the ship on completion say the Royal Navy.