UK: HMS Argyll Prepares for Gulf Mission

HMS Argyll Prepares for Gulf Mission

Pilot Lt Ralphie Lorenz safely guides his Lynx helicopter back to ‘mother’ as HMS Argyll conducts an intensive training package in the Mediterranean on her way to the Gulf.

In the coming weeks, the Devonport-based frigate will take over from HMS St Albans on the key maritime security mission in the Gulf – supporting the free passage of lawful trade on the high seas and clamping down on any illegal activities they come across.

Argyll sailed from Devonport at the end of last month and, after a brief pit stop in Gibraltar, has continued eastwards through the Med with training exercises daily for her ship’s company and Royal Marines boarding team to ensure they’re ready for the challenges of six months east of Suez.

Among the training serials the 200+ souls aboard have conducted are night flying and winching exercises involving the 815 Naval Air Squadron Lynx and a ‘crash on deck’ (lots of water from the fire-fighters, no actual crash, thankfully).

At 22 years old, Argyll is now Britain’s oldest frigate – but also the nation’s most potent as she’s the most recently refitted of the Type 23 fleet; an 11-month £20m refit in Rosyth gave her the latest version of the Seawolf air defence missile system, a new main gun, new command system, one new main gas turbine, two generators and among other improvements.

It took 13 months to prepare for the Gulf mission, including two months of Operational Sea Training – likened by some ships to ‘pre-season’ training – in May and June and a ‘High Seas Firing’, the launch of a live Seawolf missile at a drone target.

Before deploying the frigate spent two weeks loading stores and ammunition, and specialist equipment designed specifically for her impending mission was installed.

Source: royalnavy, October 19, 2011