After spending four years in mothballs and another two undergoing a £90m refit, the Royal Navy’s amphibious assault ship HMS Albion is deploying early next week to become the flagship of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2.
“It is a huge privilege for us to fly the flag of the NATO task group commander in such a high profile deployment,” Captain Tim Neild, HMS Albion commanding officer, said.
“This symbolises the importance that the UK and the Royal Navy places on our role in NATO and in assuring the collective defence and security of NATO allies and partners.’”
Over the coming months, HMS Albion will undertake presence and security operations as well as conducting multi-national exercises aimed at increasing the way the navies of the task group work together.
HMS Albion officially returned to the fleet in July 2017, in a rededication ceremony attended by Princess Anne.
In late 2011 the ship was placed at extended readiness, following the decision by the UK government in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to operate only one of two amphibious ships at a time.
In 2015 Babcock Marine began work on the ship’s rejuvenation. In one of Devonport’s largest dry-docks Albion rested temporarily whilst her hull was inspected, and major invasive structural work and re-preservation of the paint scheme was undertaken. The ship received an improved radar, a new command system and the Phalanx close-in weapons system.