The UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has praised the Royal Navy’s professionalism after witnessing the advanced sea training which prepares British, allied and partner warships for operations.
Michael Fallon flew on Friday to the Royal Navy’s newest Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan, from where he observed the rigorous training Ships’ Companies go through in the English Channel near Plymouth.
The intense training simulates air attacks from fast jets, submarine and missile engagements, flood and fire emergencies and tests each crew’s ability to deal with the pressure surrounding a series of potential setbacks.
Escorted by Rear Admiral Ben Key, Flag Officer Sea Training, Mr Fallon also witnessed action messing – the emergency distribution of meals in the ship’s mess – which was used to feed hundreds of British citizens for real during evacuations from Libya in 2011.
His visit coincided with a milestone for Royal Navy operations. In Camp Bastion crew members from the Sea King helicopter 854 Naval Air Squadron witnessed the lowering of a White Ensign, marking the final contribution of the last fully formed Royal Naval unit on operations in Afghanistan.
854 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) played a vital role, flying the Sea King Mk 7 Airborne Surveillance and Control Squadron (SKASaCS) aircraft for more than 9,000 hours over 2,000 sorties to support troops on the ground as part of 903 Expeditionary Air Wing.