The Naval Service annual fleet exercise, Exercise Rua, is taking place from the 26th to the 28th of June 2012 off the South and South West Coast of Ireland.
The Naval Service are currently conducting a major fleet exercise off the South West Coast of Ireland involving armed boarding parties, search and rescue drills, helicopter winching of personnel, troop insertion operations and conventional naval manoeuvres.
The purpose of Exercise RUA is to test and enhance the Irish Naval Service’s operational readiness both as individual ships, operating collectively as a fleet as well as operating with the other services of the Defence Forces and relevant government agencies.
The Naval Service patrol the 15% of EU waters which are under Irish sovereign control and which provide an estimated €3.4 Billion in resources to the Irish exchequer annually or approx 1.2% of GDP.
In the last five years the Naval Service have also intercepted €1.7 Billion worth of drugs in Irish waters. The Naval Service have carried out 757 boardings and eight detentions so far this year and carried out 1264 boardings and 10 detentions last year.
The Flag Officer Commanding the Naval Service, Commodore Mark Mellett, commented on this week’s exercise saying:
“The three day exercise has provided an excellent opportunity for the Naval Fleet to be exercised across the full spectrum of maritime operations. RUA is a shorthand for our strategic vision for the Defence Forces, we seek to be continuously Relevant, Useable and Adaptable to the State. The performance of the men and women of the Naval Service during the exercise has demonstrated to me the immense professionalism of the Naval Service; this epitomises the high standards across the entire fleet.”
This weeks exercise is a tri-service exercise involving army troops being inserted by sea to conduct operations and Air Corps CASA maritime surveillance aircraft operating in conjunction with the Naval Service. Customs and Excise as well as the RNLI are also taking part in this week’s exercise.
The Naval Service is the maritime component of the Defence Forces and is the primary sea going agency of the state and continue their normal operational duties during this exercise protecting Irish maritime interest at sea.
Naval Today Staff, June 28, 2012; Image: Defence Forces Ireland