After completing a refit, RFA Lyme Bay is now back in the fleet.
Since leaving her home of Falmouth, Lyme Bay has been based in the equally familiar ports of Portland and Devonport on the South Coast, conducting safety and readiness checks for aviation, machinery breakdown drills, damage control, fire-fighting and administrative checks and the like, say the Royal Navy in a release.
“Ahead of impending Operational Sea Training (OST) – and in-order to prove aviation capability – the amphibious support ship embarked an 815 NAS Wildcat helicopter, based at RNAS Yeovilton, for the day.”
“Following our drydocking and refit in 2017, together with the hard work and preparations by the ship’s company, Lyme Bay is ready for OST,” said Commanding Officer Captain Jed MacAnley RFA.
“On successful completion, we will resume our duties delivering global maritime operational support to the Royal Navy – and our coalition partners – wherever and whenever required.”
Having completed regeneration, Lyme Bay’s enhanced capabilities will be tested for the first time during a demanding four weeks of OST, due to complete at the end of March. This will be closely followed by forthcoming Exercise Joint Warrior 18 off the west coast of Scotland in April according to the Royal Navy.
The Bay class are operated by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and are officially designated as ‘Landing Ship Docks’. Each Bay class vessel is capable of carrying up to 24 Challenger tanks or 150 military trucks in 1,150 linear metres of space. The UK operates three Bay class vessels after selling the fourth to Australia.
Under normal conditions, a Bay class ship can carry 350 soldiers, but this can be doubled to 700 in overload conditions. The flight deck is capable of handling helicopters up to the size of Chinooks, as well as Merlin helicopters however while the class have no hangar, a temporary shelter can be set up to house a single helicopter. The well dock can carry one LCU Mark 10 or two LCVPs, and two Mexeflotes can be suspended from the ship’s flanks.