More than 300 Royal Navy sailors, aircrew and Royal Marines have been supporting ongoing air strikes against ISIL forces in the Middle East as part of a US Navy carrier battle group.
Portsmouth-based frigate HMS Kent, two Sea King helicopters from 849 Naval Air Squadron and support ship RFA Fort Austin joined Carrier Strike Group One, led by the USS Carl Vinson whose F/A 18 Hornets have been striking at ISIL targets as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The Sea Kings, using their radars to provide the task group early warning of any threats by sea or air, joined EA-18G Growlers of Electronic Attack Squadron 139 and E-2C Hawkeyes AWACs aircraft in Gulf skies as part of efforts to support air strikes and shield the task group.
As well as the 100,000-tonne carrier at the heart of the force, the task group comprised cruiser USS Bunker Hill, three Arleigh-Burke class destroyers as well as HMS Kent.
HMS Kent is one of more than half a dozen Royal Navy warships and RFA support vessels deployed east of Suez over the Christmas period. And more than 3000 Royal Navy, RFA and Royal Marine personnel are deployed across the world over the festive period.
HMS Kent’s operations come as the US and Royal Navies set out their vision for future co-operation with the Combined Seapower narrative.
Press release, Image: UK Navy