The US military’s unique tiltrotor has been training with amphibious ship RFA Mounts Bay prior to deploying to the Baltic this spring.
According to a news release on the Royal Navy website, the US Air Force’s 7th Special Operations Squadron dropped in on the support vessel off Portland with their MV-22 Osprey, the ‘tiltrotor’ which takes off and lands like a helicopter, then rotates its propellers to fly like a conventional aircraft.
“Operated by the US Marine Corps and US Air Force, it’s the main battlewagon for carrying American marines and related units into battle. Royal Marines rely on the Merlin Mk4 to carry 24 commandos into battle at a time (based a short distance from Portland at RNAS Yeovilton with 845 and 846 Naval Air Squadrons).”
The Ospreys have dropped in on Royal Navy flight decks over the past decade, but not on a Bay-class ship until now.
“The vessels provide additional space to carry marines/troops and their equipment in support of Albion-class assault ships which spearhead any UK amphibious operation.”
Further link ups are planned later this spring when Mounts Bay joins HMS Albion and the UK’s Littoral Strike Group heads to the Baltic for exercises with US and NATO forces, including the region’s largest annual naval workout, Baltops.