The UK Royal Navy’s Sandown-class minehunter HMS Penzance and Hunt-class mine countermeasure vessel (MCMV) HMS Chiddingfold have successfully completed an intense weapon and seamanship training in the Gulf.
The two vessels have been conducting patrols in the Middle East region since December 2014 to provide freedom of navigation, while supporting the 30-nation Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) organisation in the Gulf.
The crews practised a coordinated gunnery exercise against targets and flares, as well as high-speed manoeuvring and communicating drills.
As part of the gunnery drill, both ships engaged their 30mm guns, General Purpose Machine Guns and Mark 44 Miniguns.
Royal Navy HMS Penzance gunnery officer lieutenant Matt Cary said: "It was really beneficial for us to conduct this training with Chiddingfold today.
"We’ve proven that we can engage hostile contacts in multiple environments, utilising a range of weapons in a coordinated engagement.
"Having trained for this in the UK, we are proving that we are clearly capable of operating to a high level whilst deployed on operations."
In January this year, HMS Penzance joined the US and Iraqi warships, as well as an Apache gunship, in a simulated pirate attack at the northern tip of the Gulf near the Al Basrah oil terminal.
HMS Chiddingfold completed a month-long examination of the navy’s operational sea training in Scotland in 2013.
Image: HMS Chiddingfold sailing astern of HMS Penzance. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.