HMS Albion Returns To Devonport After Mediterranean Deployment

The Royal Navy flagship has returned to her home base of Devonport after a three-month deployment to the Mediterranean. 

HMS Albion was in the region as part of the Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) – or LRG(X) – series of exercises alongside HMS Dragon and RFA Lyme Bay.

The deployment saw the vessels develop the Future Navy and Royal Marines' Future Commando Force, trialling more than 40 experimental concepts in nine major exercises.

The ships tested new equipment including drones, which could be used for resupplying equipment to troops on the ground, and underwater autonomous sonars to help map beach landings.

As well as the experimentation, the LRG(X) deployment also focused on working alongside NATO allies and regional partners to promote stability and security in the Mediterranean.

The task force trained with military allies from Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.

HMS Albion and RFA Lyme Bay also took part in NATO's maritime security operation, Sea Guardian.

HMS Albion sails into Devonport.
HMS Albion sails into Devonport.

Commander Jason Eacock, Executive Officer and second in command of HMS Albion, told Forces News the deployment had come with some obvious challenges.

He said: "In such a challenging period... that we’ve all been in with the global pandemic, it was touch and go whether we would leave on time or not, but we did leave on time, we’re back on time and we achieved all our objectives along the way.

"So it's been a real challenge but a very successful trip indeed."

He continued: "There’s been lots of personal sacrifice over the course of the last three months. There’s been no leave so people have remained on board the ship throughout. 

"COVID has impacted on every single way of life from the start in our quarantine period and [when] we did defence engagement activity as well.

"The festive season is almost upon us and there’s been a lot of support from our families and loved ones back home and the excitement is palpable around the ship."

Although the deployment is over the Royal Navy and Marines will continue to develop and learn from LRG(X) and prepare for future testing next year.

Cover image: HMS Albion sails into Devonport (Picture: Royal Navy).

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