A US Marine Corps Osprey has landed on the flightdeck of HMS Ocean for the first time in over five years.
The landing was the first step in demonstrating the partnership between the amphibious helicopter platform and the US Marines Corps (USMC) ahead of the major NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, which gets underway in a few weeks time.
The USMC MV22 Osprey, callsign ‘Elvis’, visited HMS Ocean in the Atlantic off Portugal at the start of the Royal Navy’s annual Cougar deployment of the UK’s high readiness maritime joint expeditionary force – with Trident Juncture 15 one element of the deployment.
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"The Osprey landing was a preliminary visit before the USMC train alongside the Royal Navy in Exercise Trident Juncture – delivering Royal Marines and US Marines to the heart of the action.The Osprey is a marvellous aircraft and the opportunity to work alongside aviators from the US Marine Corps is a real privilege."
Commander Steve Deacon, Commander (Air) HMS Ocean
However, Trident Juncture is just the start of the partnership with the lessons learned through working with NATO allies being built on when the Osprey returns to Ocean for several weeks later in the Cougar deployment.
Commander (Air) in HMS Ocean, Commander Steve Deacon, said: “The Osprey is a marvellous aircraft and the opportunity to work alongside aviators from the US Marine Corps is a real privilege.
"This serial ran very smoothly and the Americans were able to qualify their crews for the more complex serials that will take place later in the deployment.”
Major Ian Moore Royal Marines is the Air Operations Officer and lead planner for the Osprey embarkation.
He added: “The MV22 landing on Ocean’s flightdeck for the first time in five years represents the culmination of many months of work on both sides of the Atlantic.
“This marks the first important step ahead of the forthcoming embarked period where we will be able to demonstrate the USMC and Royal Navy’s ability to work together at sea.”