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Helicopter carrier HMS Ocean and her aircraft have been taking part in exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

The exercise, Doğu Akdeniz, has been run since 1987 and tries to squeeze the gamut of naval operations into its ten-day run, this year focused on the waters off Aksaz in south-western Turkey.

The exercise seeks to educate NATO forces about potential threats and risks of a crisis in the eastern Mediterranean region, how to collectively deal with such a crisis, train staffs in the art of planning a complex peacekeeping/evacuation operation, and, at the coalface, teach sailors, marines, soldiers and aviators from different nations in the art of working together say the MoD.

According to a Royal Navy press release:

“The Commando Helicopter Force from RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset committed four aircraft to UK flagship Ocean for her autumn deployment: two battlefield Wildcats – used to reconnoitre ahead of the main body of ground forces – and two troop-carrying Merlin Mk3s, able to ferry 16 fully-kitted-out commandos into battle.

Thirty warships and submarines, more than two dozen aircraft and some 3,500 military personnel were involved, with the host nations providing the bulk of participants – 18 ships and submarines and a dozen aircraft and helicopters.”

Merlin pilot Lt Tom Richards said:

“The casualty evacuation and winch transfer serials were extremely challenging but immensely rewarding flying. Also being able to operate as one of several NATO participants allowed us to improve our ability to work with other nations – as demonstrated during the humanitarian aid phase as we shared the tasking with an SH-70 Sea Hawk and Cougar from the Turkish Navy and air force.”

 

22 COMMENTS

  1. Toby Ellwood ready to resign over defence cuts!

    Gavin Williamson shocked at proposals put before him!

    Johhny Mercer MP leads fight back”

    WRITE/ EMAIL YOUR MP NOW1

    All the above hitting the headlines this morning.

    • just done it today
      1)destroyers breaking down all over the planet
      2)aircraft carriers without aircraft
      3)steel being cut for type 26 5 years late
      )the type 31 being desisigned on the back of a fag packet
      4)ocean going?
      5)a navy of patrol ships
      6)a nothing said about japan getting f35b’s before the u.k

      • Andy, some perspective please, or we might as well all go and jump in the canal.

        “destroyers breaking down all over the planet”

        It happens. That the RN is too small is the main impact as a replacement cannot be sourced without mucking up the fleet schedule.

        “aircraft carriers without aircraft”

        Yawn. Not this bugbear again. The carrier is NOT READY so what does it matter?

        “the type 31 being desisigned on the back of a fag packet”

        Lets wait and see but regards cost what do you choose? A smaller navy of high tech escorts or a bigger escort fleet with a mix of both allowing our best assets to be used doing what they were designed for? I choose the later.

        “ocean going?”

        20 years old, built to commercial standards and no replacement planned.
        Crew needed in a struggling RN to be used for HMS Prince of Wales.

        “a navy of patrol ships”

        The RN has 14 odd Archer Patrol boats used by RN University Units and will have 5 under armed expensive OPV’s. Hardly a big fleet.
        The 8 T26 and 6 T45 are cruiser sized. 2 Fleet carriers, SSN’s and SSBN’s and you say a navy of patrol boats? Ok.

        “a nothing said about japan getting f35b’s before the u.k”

        Who gives a monkeys? Are they enemies? We get F35 when WE are ready.
        The crews to form these F35 units are still on Op Shader using Tornado GR4 and the other F35 units are beginning to form or work up.
        It is not an issue.

        • perspective? carrier not ready then why is it being comissioned into the fleet?japan has received several f 35b’s the u.k as the only level 1 partner in the project should get ours first.everybody knows the navy is too small, but we have 15 ssn’s in mothballs if at least a couple were docked up fitted an brought back to service things would look brighter. my brother who has just come off the recently retired torbay assured me that there was no problem with the boat and it didn’t need retiring.perspective? the problem is at the top , not in my front room as for the opv, the sigma class corvette, a ship of similar size carries a 76mm oto melara main gun twin triple anti submarine torpedo mounts two quad launchers for anti air missiles and 4 exocets, a bit of imagination to do this to our opv’s. and designate them as light frigates.as for the the archers fit the 2omm canon they were designed for, train them to act in squadrons they’d fill the anti piracy role that currently draws well needed ships away from where they should be operating.

          • Andy. Thanks for reply.

            “perspective? carrier not ready then why is it being comissioned into the fleet?”

            Your first mention of the carrier concerned having no aircraft. The carrier will now be commissioned then start flight trials off the US east coast. THAT is why it is not ready.

            “japan has received several f 35b’s the u.k as the only level 1 partner in the project should get ours first.”

            Being Level 1 does not mean a race to get the aircraft! It is industrial participation and UK input due to our paying some of the development costs and our close R&D link between the USA and BAE Warton and its Special Projects Site, within which much work on stealth has been conducted.

            “everybody knows the navy is too small,”

            Agree.

            “the problem is at the top , not in my front room as for the opv, the sigma class corvette, a ship of similar size carries a 76mm oto melara main gun twin triple anti submarine torpedo mounts two quad launchers for anti air missiles and 4 exocets, a bit of imagination to do this to our opv’s.”

            Agree, I’d like to see our smaller vessels better armed.

            “as for the the archers fit the 2omm canon they were designed for, train them to act in squadrons they’d fill the anti piracy role that currently draws well needed ships away from where they should be operating.”

            These vessels act as URNU training vessels.
            Indeed they could be used in UK waters and armed in case of a bigger threat.
            As for using them for anti piracy, I think you will find the best asset for that is a RFA type vessel with a helicopter and RM, neither of which are compatable with the Archer Class!!

      • Hi Andy
        Destroyers are not breaking down all over the planet, we do not have that kind of global reach. Destroyer developed problems and on the balance of risk vs operational requirements it was decided to return to the UK. The US 7th fleet, the largest of the USN Fleets is currently having major problems, manning, moral, training and equipment. It affects us all, regardless of size.
        The CVF hasn’t been handed over the RN yet so whether it has aircraft or not is irrelevant. OIC is forecast sometime early next decade, it will have aircraft then – as designed and more importantly as required.
        Type 26, yep late as always and never the number you are going to expect. However the design is now baselined and when they start building these things normally sort themselves out. T23 will have to keep going for a couple more years. Again this is something that all navies, worldwide, deal with.
        T31e, the various designs that are being competed have been on the open market for a few years now. No fag packet, but naval architects designing warships for a variety of customers in the low to medium market. We have now entered that market and the only company who has complained is BAES, who do not have a design.
        Ocean going, in the last 6 months RN has deployed over much of the globe, most recently to the Caribbean to deliver aid. Definition of an Ocean going navy is the ability to do it – not do it all the time.
        A Navy of patrol ships. Ocean going patrol ships but patrol ships, doing what they were designed to do – patrol.
        F-35B, why is it important who gets what first? IOC for F-35B as far as I understand it around 2021, that should be the only thing that is important. People seem to get confused with what an operational platform is. A country getting something first doesn’t mean that they can employ the weapon system – because thats what the F-35B is, something that needs to be tested, trialled, integrated and made ready for Initial Operating Capability. A point in time where HMG can deploy a capability, made up of a variety of weapon systems and platforms used by the trained men and women who operate them.

      • about time somebody showed the courage of their convictions, its good to hear that the forces do have SOME supporters in parliament.

  2. Do not forget to add we have a growing navy, expanding and growing defence budget and our fabullous £178 billion 10 year equipment plan. It is all going swimmingly.
    army smallest size since Napoleonic wars
    navy cut, cut, cut about to lose 1000RMs and all our amphibious assault ships
    2 more type 23s likely to be sold off to chile.
    There is zero good news

    • Would losing 2 GP Type 23s to Chile actually matter if they were replaced by HMS Forth and Medway and we kept the batch 1 Rivers?

        • I know its scraping the barrel but until 2020 there isn’t actually anything to escort. If the army loses 12,000 then the RAF and RN will have to be seen to make significant ( symbolic) sacrifices . If for arguments sake a F-35 reduction is seen to be the RAF’s then the RN might have to choose between a couple of ( past their sellby date) frigates or say, mothballing Albion and Bulwark – modern ships and a key capability. Inter service politics. Actually none of these cuts is irreversible when the economy has weathered the Brexit storm except for selling the LPDs which would be suicidal.

          • Your reasoning makes sense Paul.
            Certainly least damaging capability wise but doubt 2 Frigates saves the required money.

    • political smoke and mirrors as for the fleet expanding, if dreadnaut was built in portsmouth in less than a year the clyde should turn out at least two ships per year or not get the contract in the first place.

  3. The defence review is being headed by Mark Sedwill, a diplomat who served in Afghanistan and is now the national security adviser at the Cabinet Office.

    The results will be out in New Year.

    Ocean will go and Albion and Bulwark. 1,000 RM to go. A slow down in frigate orders. A slowdown in F35 orders. Army reductions including cut in new armoured vehicle purchase.

    British forces to be around two thirds those of France.

    UK is in serious debt. The debt aggravated by Brexit vote.

    • Yes, the Brexit divorce bill and concomitant reductions in GDP growth will hit tax revenues hard. The government is being responsible in acting proactively to rein in public spending. The NHS and education are ring fenced. Cutting benefits further would lose them the next election. So we are seeing disproportionate pressure on defence spending. A £2 billion cut in a budget of £40 billion is borderline – stop doing things rather than do less of some things. Of all the options I would say reducing the standing army by 12,000 is the most sensible. But there are lots of ex army officers who are conservative MPs so expect irrational shooting of ourselves in the national foot to continue. We might lose the RM and the LPDs, but hey, why look after your sense of identity as a nation when you can protect your regimental cap badge?

      • Spot on Paul. Damned cap badge mafia!

        I don’t want any cuts at all but a few thousand off the army, with some of that money going to fund extra sailors, I think is doable.

        Amphibs, Ajax, warrior upgrade, should remain.

        I even read about an option to remove Wildcat! Nuts! That would leave the RN with 30 Merlin to do carrier embarked ASW squadron, , ships flights, Crowsnest, and an OCU.
        Hopefully speculation as that is one cut that is really barking mad.

        • Agreed. Cutting Wildcat would neuter the Type 31s. Daft idea. Whether we should have a fleet of NH90 replacing both Wilcat and Puma is a moot point.

        • give the soldiers a swimming test and a ship to go on, manpower shortage? solved. one thing i’v e often wondered about is; why don’t shore training courses finish at the same time? if they did then large drafts to ships identified to be in most need could be crewed.

      • maybe merge the fleet air arm and r.a..f and stop the inter service squabbling over who gets to play with the f 35 merge the s.a.s and s.b.s maybe go the whole hog and follow the japanese model for a u.k defence force

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