RFA Tidesurge is carrying out trials with the largest British military helicopter type, the Chinook.
The Royal Navy say that the trials, conducted off Portsmouth and in the Navy’s South Coast Exercise Areas, will help to write the operator manual for the Tide class, allowing all four ships to launch and land Chinooks on deployment.
RFA Fort Victoria served as the launchpad for Sea King intelligence-gathering missions in the Indian Ocean, while RFA Mounts Bay is carrying out anti-drug running patrols in the Caribbean, and is on standby to provide help should a hurricane barrel through the region. According to a release:
“The ability to use a Chinook means heavier loads – such as humanitarian aid – can be carried, or more troops (up to 55, with kit) put on the ground, allowing more to be achieved than with the Fleet Air Arm’s Wildcat or Merlin helicopters.
A specialist team from the MOD’s home of aviation testing and trials at Boscombe Down are operating Chinook, recording countless readings on how the helicopter handles in various weather and sea conditions for what are known as First of Class Flying Trials.”
“This is another step on the journey into service. RFA Tidesurge’s officers and crew are now looking forward and ahead to the service of dedication and being welcomed into the RFA flotilla family,” said Tidesurge’s Commanding Officer Captain Miles Lewis RFA.