HMS Albion fended off attacks from Spanish jets as they tested their air defence skills in the Baltic Sea, say the Royal Navy.
HMS Albion is currently at the centre of the UK’s Littoral Response Group (North) deployment, which is now participating in large-scale NATO exercises – Baltops – alongside 17 other nations.
“Before linking up with the Baltops task group, Albion came under simulated attack from two Spanish Typhoons of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which fired mock anti-ship missiles at them. The assault ship sprang into action as the jets were detected and the operations room coordinated their defence to thwart the inbound fighters. Upper deck weapons crews and Phalanx operators were called on to report inbound aircraft or missiles and engage under the direction of the Principal Warfare Officer, Lieutenant Commander Natalie Burns.”
Burns was quoted as saying:
“The aircraft flew simulated missile profiles against the ship in order to test our reactions and defensive procedures before conducting Combat Air Support (CAS) training with the Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC) team from 29 Commando. During an air defence exercise the Operations Room will be at the fullest state of readiness to enable us to fight the ship and protect the people within it. Personnel will be closed up to report incoming threats to the Principle Warfare Officer and Command, and the Electronic Warfare team will advise on how best to employ the ship’s decoys in order to protect the ship.
Training with live assets is really beneficial as it adds a crucial element of realism, especially for the upper deck weapons crew and Bridge team who are able to practice calling in ‘real threats’. The ability to train with NATO partner nations also provides excellent opportunities for embarked staff to hone their skills in the maritime environment, ensuring that the ship and her staff, are continually prepared for deployed operations.”
The Spanish jet are currently on a four-month operation working with Italy and Turkey on NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission, which has seen them guard the skies over the region since May.
The jets are kept on quick reaction alert 24/7 to fly security sorties in the Baltic skies, you can read more here.