Royal Navy sailors have started trained alongside their US Navy counterparts on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp, with training having started at the end of June.
According to a US Navy press release, the Royal Navy sent six Sailors to integrate into Wasp’s flight deck operations to prepare them for their upcoming Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.
Royal Navy sailor Richard Clark said:
“Living with one another is good for integration, so when we work together, when we have your aircraft come to our flight decks, and vice versa, we’ll have a bit more awareness of how we each operate. It helps us work with you better on different platforms when we need to.
This is the first group of guys who are not 1st Classes. Some of them have never been on a ship before, so for the younger guys, it’s good for them to get experience.”
The Royal Navy stopped working with fixed wing aircraft in 2010, so the reintroduction of carriers in the British fleet requires personnel who can safely run a flight deck.
USS Wasp is deployed with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to support maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts in the US 6th Fleet area of operations. The US 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied, joint and interagency partners.
The USS Wasp is a multipurpose amphibious assault ship. The vessel and her sister ships were the first in the US Navy specifically designed to accommodate new Landing Craft Air Cushion vehicles for fast troop movement over the beach and Harrier II jets which provide close air support for the deployed assault force. The United States Marine Corps expects to operate its Harriers until 2025.
Wasp also accommodates the full range of Navy and Marine Corps helicopters, the tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey, conventional landing craft, and amphibious vehicles.
Since 2011 the ship has mostly been assigned to F-35B Lightning II testing.
In June 2016 she deployed for the first time in 11 years with a six-month tour to the Middle East planned.