Royal Marines were carried into ‘battle’ by a new steed when they tried out the US Marine Corps’ stunning Osprey as Britain’s task group trained with the Americans and Kuwaitis in the Gulf.
For the first time the helicopter-cum-aircraft set down on the deck of Britain’s flagship, HMS Bulwark during Exercise Cougar Voyage as UK and US amphibious task forces linked up.
Bulwark is heading the UK Response Force Task Group on its annual Cougar deployment involving 3 Commando Brigade, while USS Makin Island is the flagship of Amphibious Squadron 5 and the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Three times the size of HMS Bulwark, the 42,000-tonne Wasp-class assault ship is the home to a dozen Ospreys – the world’s first tilt-rotor aircraft, it can land, take off and hover like a helicopter, then can fly like a traditional propeller-driven aircraft at speeds over 300mph and heights above 25,000ft once airborne.
The unique aircraft has paid infrequent visits to Royal Navy aircraft carriers over the past decade – but never before to Bulwark, so its arrival drew a lot of attention from the ship’s company.
As part of the week-long ground, air and amphibious Cougar Voyage exercise, US Marines joined their Green Beret counterparts from the Royal Marines aboard support ship RFA Lyme Bay for combined training.
Press release, Image: UK Navy