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HMS Manchester

HMS Ark Royal HMS Albion HMS Ocean HMS Sutherland HMS Liverpool RFA Fort George RFA Largs Bay 3 Cdo Bde 814 NAS 815 NAS 829 NAS 845 NAS 846 NAS 847 NAS 849 NAS 1(F) Sqn

HMS Kent

40 Cdo/845 NAS/846 NAS/ 854 NAS/FDG/MASU

HMS Sabre/Scimitar HMS Tracker HMS Raider SPAG


HMS Chatham RFA Diligence

HMS Talent HMS St Albans




RFA Argus HMS Westminster

800/801 NAS HMS Archer


HMS Portland HMS Clyde RFA Black Rover

Plus one ballistic missile submarine on patrol somewhere beneath the Seven Seas

HMS Northumberland HMS Somerset HMS Enterprise HMS Chiddingfold HMS Middleton HMS Pembroke HMS Grimsby RFA Bayleaf RFA Lyme Bay RFA Cardigan Bay

Fleet Focus Fleet Focus

IT’S not often that there’s a concentration of Royal Navy assets that’s longer than the sizeable forces mustered in

And HMS Sutherland was letting fly with a dummy torpedo during anti-submarine exercises (see opposite). Also on this side of the Atlantic, HMS Manchester bagged some £1.5m cannabis thanks to the alertness of her 815 NAS aircrew (see page 4). In the South Atlantic, HMS Portland is enjoying (we use the term loosely) FIXmas – a Falklands Christmas, celebrated in June (see page 20). To Afghanistan now, where the men of 40 Commando continue to make sacrifices (see page 7) in their efforts to support the people of Helmand (see page 8). In the Gulf, HMS St Albans has handed over Telic duties to her sister HMS Somerset; before leaving Bahrain, the Saint conducted a rare exercise with minehunters Chiddingfold and Middleton (see pages 6 and 9). Submarine HMS Talent took part in anti-submarine exercises

force in her 25th birthday year – she celebrated that impressive anniversary in style off Nova Scotia (see right). When not forming a giant 25 on the fl ight deck, the ship’s company have been heading the carrier strike element – Ark, Sutherland, Liverpool and RFA Fort George – of Auriga (see pages 22-23), while HMS Albion has been in charge of the amphibious element – completed by 3 Cdo Bde, HMS Ocean and RFA Largs Bay (see page 21). There’s also a fair smattering of Fleet Air Arm units – (deep breath) elements of 814, 815, 829, 845, 846, 847 and 849 NAS. Before teaming up with the amphibious force, the carrier group could be found in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy (see the centre pages).

either the Gulf or Afghanistan. But this month it’s quite clear where you’re most likely to bump into Jack, Jenny or Royal: the eastern seaboard of the USA on the Auriga 2010 deployment. It’s fallen to the nation’s fl agship, HMS Ark Royal to lead the

Ark marks milestone

TWENTY-fi ve years to the day HMS Ark Royal made her inaugural entrance to Portsmouth, Britain’s fl agship marked the birthday on the other side of the Atlantic. While Ark’s maiden entry to her home port was greeted with a fanfare,

large crowds, and a rendition of Sailing by a Royal Marines Band, her 25th birthday was witnessed by two Lynx fl iers and a photographer. In clear skies off the Canadian coast, the trio helped choreograph iant

hundreds of the ship’s company who formed a giant ‘25’ on the aft of the carrier’s fl ight deck. Back in July 1985, the carrier’s arrival in Portsmouth was hailed by the media as best of British and all that. Ark’s builder, Swan Hunter, delivered the then £320m ship four and a half months early; there had even been a team of 15 cleaners aboard with buckets and mops to ensure the carrier was ready.

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Her main armament came courtesy of Sea Kings and Harriers, her principal foe the Soviet Navy, who sent a ship to monitor Ark’s journey from Newcastle to Portsmouth. And a quarter of a century later? Swan Hunter no longer build warships. The Soviet Empire has crumbled. And, er, Ark’s deck is fi lled with Sea Kings and Harriers… … just not the same ones. These days it’s Harrier GR9s and

there are loads of repeats on the telly...) the University Squadrons are deploying with their students. HMS Raider and Tracker made a mammoth journey to Gibraltar (a month-long round trip), HMS Archer travelled a few yards... but she did have the First Sea Lord onboard (see page 4). And finally, however good (or bad) the words, the pages of Navy News are nothing without the award-winning imagery of the RN Photographic Branch, which has held its annual Peregrine Trophy recognising the best lensmen and women (see pages 14-15).

Before Kent’s appearance in the Welsh capital, survey ship HMS Scott visited to take part in centennial commemorations of Capt Scott’s departure for Antarctica (see page 11). With it being high summer in Blighty (you can tell because

with 820 NAS and HMS Northumberland in the Gulf of Oman (see page 5). The latter temporarily broke off her anti-piracy mission to resume her traditional role of sub hunter (see page 16). You’ll be pleased to know that Talent did not require the support of the Submarine Parachute Assistance Group, or SPAG, who practised a boat rescue in Gibraltar (see page 16). One boat which is in need of help is HMS Alliance; a £6m appeal has been launched to restore the veteran submarine which is on display at the RN Submarine Museum in Gosport (see page 38). HMS Kent headed to Sweden to foster links between Scandinavia and the UK (see page 10) before returning to Britain for national Armed Forces Day celebrations in Cardiff (see page 13).

Among those witnessing today’s crew forming up for the huge 25 was Rocky Salmon, who served aboard the carrier in the early days as a young sub lieutenant on his fi rst ship. A quarter of a century on, he’s her ‘wings’ – Commander Air. “I had a brilliant time on my fi rst deployment – and I’m having a brilliant time on my last,” said Cdr Salmon. “The technology has moved on, of course, and things change, but not the people. The feeling on the ship is exactly the same. It’s still that feeling of a whole team effort.” The 25th birthday came at the end of a hectic seven days for Britain’s fl agship, which is leading the four-month Auriga task force deployment to Canada and USA. Ark played host to British premier David Cameron in Halifax, followed by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, then took part in the International Fleet Review to mark the centennial of the Royal Canadian Navy where the carrier was among 30 vessels reviewed by the Queen (see pages 21-25). “All in all, a pretty standard week in the life of Ark Royal,” joked her Commanding Offi cer Capt John Clink.

“But there is also something special about this ship. Ark Royal is a very famous name, perhaps the most famous warship in the world. “The men and women on board knuckle down at every turn, they show amazing resilience and enthusiasm.” Ark’s celebrations will conclude in the autumn with 25th anniversary commemorations of the carrier’s formal commissioning. Picture: LA(Phot) Gregg Macready, HMS Ark Royal

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Airborne Surveillance and Control Sea Kings. They’ve been joined on the carrier by Merlins, a twinkle in the Admiralty’s eye back in 1985.

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