The Royal Navy’s amphibious helicopter carrier HMS Ocean has sailed from Plymouth to take part in the largest NATO exercise in 13 years.
Carrying Royal Marines from 45 Commando and Merlin, Apache and Chinook helicopters from the Fleet Air Arm, Army Air Corps and RAF, the ship will join a task group of 70 warships from across NATO. HMS Ocean will host the task force commander Rear Admiral Tony Radakin.
Exercise Trident Juncture provides the ideal chance to train with and work alongside navies from NATO allies and partner nations in the region. The Royal Navy’s Maritime Battle Staff will use the event to prepare to command the naval element of the NATO Response Force in 2016, as NATO prepares for the multitude of challenges that face its member states.
Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will be held through October and November, predominantly in, over and on the seas around Portugal, Spain and Italy. It is one of a series of long-planned exercises to ensure that NATO Allies are ready to deal with any emerging crisis, from any direction, and that they are able to work effectively with partners in tackling any crisis. Over 36,000 personnel from 30 nations will take part – that includes NATO Allies as well as seven partner nations. And those partner nations are Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine.
HMS Ocean is the Royal Navy’s is designed to deliver troops to the centre of the action by helicopter or by landing craft. They can operate six helicopters from the flight deck with space in the hangar to hold, transport and maintain many more aircraft. HMS Ocean’s crew of 450 personnel includes 9 Assault Squadron Royal Marines who operate the four landing craft to land troops and vehicles ashore. The 21,500 tonne ship has a top speed of 16 knots and a range of 8,000 miles.