UK Frigate, Allies Hone Escorting Skills
Cargo ships, carrying valuable cargo are likely to become targets of pirate attacks, especially in narrow areas such as the Strait of Hormuz or the Bab al Mandeb Strait.
To be able to counter such attacks, HMS Westminster teamed up with its allies from Bahrain and the US in a fast paced exercise, Falcon Defender, which served as a perfect opportunity for the crews to align their practices and hone their escorting skills.
The exercise saw the involvement of the Royal Bahrain Naval Force ships, the United States ships (USS) Carney and Chinook and two US Sea Hawk helicopters to practise escorting a cargo ship.
The cargo ship was played by Forward Repair Ship RFA Diligence.
Lieutenant Rob Couzens the Navigating Officer on board HMS Westminster, said: “It was quite a sight watching all these vessels sailing together at speed and quite inspiring to see our allies working alongside us so well.”
HMS Westminster’s Able Seaman Specialist Jack Vant, part of the ship’s Force Protection team, added: “With Seahawks buzzing overhead and US Navy ships roaring past, this was by far the most exciting and realistic exercise I have seen so far this deployment. I enjoyed every minute of it.”
The Type 23 frigate has been very busy during her deployment as her crew staged a submarine hunt east of the Suez Canal, where the frigate is wrapping up her anti-piracy deployment in anticipation of the arrival of her sister HMS Somerset, which will take over in early February.
In November, the frigate took time out from her busy counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics operations in the Gulf for a workout with Indian Navy Ship (INS) Delhi, within the framework of her engagement with the regional navies.
|Type 23 Frigate SPECIFICATIONS|
|Range||14,485 km (9,001 mi) at 15 knots|
Naval Today Staff, February 5, 2014; Image: Royal Navy