New Royal Navy patrol ship HMS Tamar has welcomed a Merlin Mk2 helicopter on board for the first time.
The Flying Tigers of 814 Naval Air Squadron provided the submarine-hunting helicopter for the training as the vessel patrolled the coastline in the south-west.
Lieutenant Commander Michael Hutchinson, HMS Tamar's Commanding Officer, said: "This first Merlin landing, completed on New Year’s Day, was the latest demonstration of the increasing capability of the ship and the first interaction with Culdrose’s Merlins."
The naval variant of the Merlin Mk2 hosts submarine-hunting sensors and processors, as well as a flying operation room for two members of the aircrew.
It is also more than twice as heavy as a Wildcat helicopter which HMS Tamar worked with last year.
Culdrose, the home of 814 NAS, also provided a team of drone specialists to investigate how they and their pilotless aircraft could be used on frontline operations.
Two Flights from 700X Naval Air Squadron, the Royal Navy’s only drone unit, are also aboard HMS Tamar.
The Royal Navy’s newest operational warship sailed from Portsmouth on New Year’s Eve.
The aim is for Tamar to develop new tactics and hone skills while working with Royal Marines.
Although the new River-class ship has no hangar, her large flight deck can host most military helicopters.
Tamar was commissioned into the Royal Navy fleet after a ceremony at HMNB Portsmouth in December.
Cover image: The Merlin helicopter lands on HMS Tamar (Picture: MOD).