The UK Royal Navy’s Albion-class amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark is participating in the two-week-long Exercise South West Swordin.
The exercise is said to ensure the ship’s preparedness to engage in the Anglo-French exercise in the Bristol Channel and Irish Sea by being trained in the basics of disembarking troops and their equipment ashore.
The Anglo-French exercise, which will be held later this year, is aimed at assessing the nations’ joint operational readiness to combat an international crisis.
An aerial fleet comprising of Merlin helicopters from 846 Naval Air Squadron, Wildcats from 847 Naval Air Squadron (both based in RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset), and RAF Chinooks from 27 Squadron (based in RAF Odiham, Hampshire) also engaged in landing and takeoff operations off Bulwark’s flight deck.
HMS Bulwark commanding officer captain James Parkin said: "Intensive amphibious training of this nature is vital to ensure we are ready to respond when the government requires Bulwark to act.
"The first week of South West Sword was excellent as the maritime, air and land parts of amphibious operations came together for the first time this year.
"It’s especially good to see the new Merlin ‘Junglies’ of the Commando Helicopter Force at sea, working with Bulwark for the first time."
The exercise is aimed at preparing the nation’s on-call assault ship for operations on a moment’s notice and subsequently training experienced personnel and preparing newer members of the ship’s crew.
Last year, HMS Bulwark concluded its 60-day international search-and-rescue mission in the Mediterranean Sea, which involved carrying out migrant rescue operations along with three Merlin MK 2 Helicopters.
Image: An image of HMS Bulwark during the exercise. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.