The UK’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Fort Victoria (A387) has participated in a series of multi-cab helicopter flight operations, displaying its operational flexibility.
The tanker completed a refitting and overhaul programme in January, followed by a period of trials and Operational Sea Training. It is currently engaged with the International Coalition Forces operating in the Gulf.
Presently, the tanker vessel is deployed at the Gulf as the Kipion Ready Tanker, where it operates with its own squadron, as well as serving as a launch pad for squadrons of other nations.
849 Sea King Airborne Surveillance and Control (SKASaC) Squadron has been operating on the vessel following its deployment in May 2015.
The tanker vessel’s current squadron, Okinawa Flight, has received the first maritime Night Vision Device qualification for the SKASaC Force.
The squadron have also achieved multi-spot operations, providing situational awareness and fighter control support to the French carrier, Charles De Gaulle, which is supporting the fight against the terrorist outfit, ISIS.
849 Squadron senior pilot lieutenant commander Simon Wood said: "The ability to be in the best position to provide the wide area maritime picture to the Charles De Gaulle and her battle group has paid dividends.
"Training of this quality is very hard to come by and the experience of working with a multinational force of ships, helicopters and jets has enabled Okinawa Flight to hone their skills.
"During the period the ship has acted like a ‘mini carrier’ for us and is rapidly becoming a home from home."
The vessel also provides a platform for the deck landing training for a Merlin helicopter of the Oman based 820 Squadron.
Additionally, the UAE uses RFA Fort Victoria for landing of two helicopters, a Chinook and an Apache.
Image: A United Arab Emirates Chinook helicopter takes off from RFA Fort Victoria. Photo: courtesy of Royal Navy.