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.”


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Geoffrey Roach

Toby Ellwood ready to resign over defence cuts!

Gavin Williamson shocked at proposals put before him!

Johhny Mercer MP leads fight back”


All the above hitting the headlines this morning.

Mr Bell

HMS Ocean doing sterling service again.
about to be cut…
alongside our lpds Albion and Bulwark.
write to your mps now!

andy reeves

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

Daniele Mandelli

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… Read more »

andy reeves,

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… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

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… Read more »

Lee H

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… Read more »

andy reeves,

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


I have just emailed my MP as well.

Mr Bell

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?

Daniele Mandelli

I’m against it. Escort fleet too low already.


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… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

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

andy reeves,

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.

andy reeves,

as usual


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… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

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.

andy reeves,

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.

andy reeves,

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