A mid Atlantic encounter has given a Royal Navy frigate the chance to exercise her capability alongside French colleagues.
Plymouth based Type 23 frigate, HMS Argyll, has been operating off the west coast of Africa since early March working with international partners to provide global maritime security where it is needed.
A small amphibious task group from the French Navy, comprising of the FS Mistral and the FS Henaff was also in the same area and the opportunity to exercise together was too good for the three Commanding Officers to turn down.
Commander Tim Neild, the Commanding Officer of HMS Argyll, said:
“Interoperability and working with foreign navies is today, more than ever, the key to ensuring global maritime security.
“The opportunity to work with the French Navy, with whom we have very strong links, reinforces our commitment to one another and has provided a break from Maritime Security to exercise more conventional war-fighting skills.”
After conducting some close quarter manoeuvres, testing the skills of the Bridge and Navigation teams, the highlight of the encounter was a co-ordinated gunnery serial in which Argyll and the French Corvette, FS Henaff, fired their medium range guns against a large floating target.
With friendly rivalry the order of the day, both ships fired in turn to see who could get closest to the target.
Argyll’s Lynx helicopter, which had provided safety cover during the gunnery, then conducted a series of deck landings onboard the French Amphibious Assault Ship, FS Mistral, before turning to a photographic role in order to get some aerial shots of the Anglo-Gallic formation. Commander Tim Neild added:
“Argyll is just one of the many capable frigates and destroyers in the Royal Navy able to conduct a wide range of operations from Humanitarian Aid and Disaster relief at one end of the spectrum through to whites of the eyes war-fighting at the other.
“Opportunities to train such as this allow us to hone our skills at the sharp end whilst maintaining a watchful eye on world events.”
HMS Argyll now looks forward to the next chapter in her deployment which will see her conducting further operations with West African nations and several high profile visits.
Naval Today Staff, April 16, 2013; Image: Royal Navy