British Navy Ships Call at Naval Defence Exhibition, UAE

British Navy Ships Call at Naval Defence Exhibition, UAE

HMS Northumberland, HMS Ramsey and HMS Shoreham were in Abu-Dhabi last week directly supporting United Kingdom Trade and Industry and British Defence companies who had stands at the Naval Defence Exhibition, one of the largest Defence and military sales exhibitions in the world.

With high-powered delegations from around the globe and military consultants in abundance on the show floor, some $10bn worth of contracts were announced over the first 2 days alone!

Minehunters Ramsey and Shoreham were given prime jetty space in front of the Exhibition and welcomed hundreds of military and governmental personnel onboard, as well as people from the Defence industry.

Companies were keen to show off the high-tech equipment usually onboard and demonstrate kit they were selling, the tours allowed visitors to put some of the equipment into context properly.

The Executive Officer of Ramsey, Lieutenant Jon Skinner, said,

“This is a massively impressive exhibition in a region that is the focus of huge Defence Exports efforts.

“The considerable RN presence at NAVDEX has continued to build key relationships with regional nations and shows our support for UK industry.”

This could help British companies win bids for new business and develop partnership deals with Gulf nations by demonstrating the effectiveness and reliability of equipment made in the UK.

There was great interest in the Ships alongside with hundreds of visitors each day, increasing throughout the week. Business and military people visited alike, keen to learn about the Royal Navy’s minehunting capability (regarded as one of the very best in the world) and what day to day life on board a warship is like.

Numerous senior military officers and MOD staff attended, using the ships to host dignitaries and conduct interviews, including Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, Chief of the Air Staff and Vice Admiral Philip Jones, the Fleet Commander.

Commanding Officer of Shoreham, Lieutenant Commander Mark Hammon, said,

 ”Visits like this are key for the Royal Navy, it allows us to build on the excellent relations we have with our Gulf partners, and allows us to support UK trade and Industry in demonstrating the world class equipment and technology Britain has to offer.”

The Fleet Commander was accompanied by Commodore Simon Ancona Royal Navy, United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander, who is based in Bahrain but responsible for operations across the Gulf, Indian Ocean and Red Sea.

They both took time to talk at length with the sailors, asking about the challenges that face the crew in the day to day running of ships in this operational theatre.

Later in the week members of both Ships’ Companies had the opportunity to meet His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. His Highness expressed gratitude for the Royal Navy’s presence and was keen to hear that the men and women of the Ships were enjoying the UAE.

When time permitted, the Ships’ Companies seized the opportunity to explore both NAVDEX and IDEX, looking round the next generation of defence hardware and engaging enthusiastically with exhibitors and visitors.

Highlights included interactive shooting ranges, next generation armoured vehicles and even a jetpack simulator!

Able Seaman Liam Gustard said,

 “I’ve had an excellent time, the opening ceremony was brilliant and it’s always great to go to somewhere as exciting as Abu Dhabi.”

HM Ships Ramsey and Shoreham departed NAVDEX in a multi-national formation with French, US and Italian ships, sailing from Abu-Dhabi in similarly glorious fashion to their entry.

The British MCMVs have now returned to their more usual role of maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Naval Today Staff, March 11, 2013 Image: Royal Navy