RFA Mounts Bay is pre positioned and ready to respond as Tropical Storm Issac grows. It is likely to be upgraded to a hurricane in the coming hours. 

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Kottlowski said “There is a growing consensus that this system could threaten the Lesser Antilles during the middle or latter part of the week”. Fortunately, the current track of Isaac will take it south of the areas that were worst hit by Irma and Maria last year.

Crucially, Mounts May may also have to respond to Hurricane Florence too. According to the US National Hurricane Center, Florence is expected to become a major hurricane.

‘There is an increasing risk of coastal storm surge flooding and freshwater flooding from heavy prolonged rainfall when the hurricane approaches the U.S.’

NHC on Florence

On 5th September, Mounts Bay confirmed it was monitoring the hurricane as it tracked west towards the US. However, should both Florence and Issac have catastrophic effects, the Foreign Office would likely prioritise assistance to the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

She currently has a detachment of Royal Marines onboard, as well as a Wildcat HMA2 operating in the region for the first time since the Wildcat entered service.


HMS Queen Elizabeth is notably currently docked at Naval Station Mayport preparing for F-35 trials.

Mayport is south of the projected track of Hurricane Florence, however there has been some speculation as to whether Queen Elizabeth could be tasked to respond. It is understood she has stores onboard that would facilitate her providing humanitarian assistance.

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Blue Fuzz
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Blue Fuzz

Wildcat HMA2 were photographed operating in the region during Op RUMAN in 2017 – so apparently not the first deployment of the type there as claimed in the article.

Lusty
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Lusty

It has been reported that Queen Elizabeth has stored ~700 tonnes of Aid aboard in case it is needed for Hurricane relief operations. Of course, her 6 embarked Melin helicopters, and the Wildcats operated by Monmouth and Mounts Bay would also prove crucial.

Chris
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Chris

(Chris H) What better advert for the UK and the new carrier to have her deployed South East. Great training for the flight deck and Merlin crews on QE and some key reassurance to the islanders to see this beauty off their coastlines.

Just for once F-35 trials can wait a few weeks. There will be far more pressing requirements if that Hurricane hits.

Anthony D
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Anthony D

Mmm not sure about that Chris. With a bay class ship in place, sounds like the right capability. Delaying a complex, carefully choreographed work up plan for carrier strike to get a pr win doesn’t sound like the right priority to me. Carrier strike is there to defend our vital national interest and the gap in carrier aviation is a managed risk.

Jonathan
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Jonathan

So are those temporary hangers going to be a permanent feature of the bays when on deployment ?

Steve
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Steve

Really makes you wonder why they sold the 4th bay class. These seem insanely flexible in peace times, which most military assets aren’t really, and so should be easily justify their cost. Another bay available to send would have made a big difference last year and looking likely also this year. Also why the smaller wildcat abroad and not the larger merlin with its improved carry weight and why only 1? Land protected by us is under threat by a likely threat, we have more capability and should be sending it already to react, and not waiting for the aftermath.

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

To save 10 million a year if I recall somewhere.

Ridiculous wasn’t it?

Andy G
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Andy G

QE perfectly positioned to provide great relief to the Carolinas, better positioned than FEMA or USN probably.

Steve
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Steve

The question is whether QE is ready to do such a role. On the face of it, it looks like she is but we don’t know what’s still going on fit out wise behind the scenes.