RFA Argus acts as the target ship during Royal Marines boarding training in the Mediterranean (Picture: Royal Navy).
RFA Argus acts as the target ship during the Royal Marines boarding training in the Mediterranean (Picture: Royal Navy).
Sea vessels

Royal Marines take on pulsating boarding drills with Algerian forces in Mediterranean

RFA Argus acts as the target ship during Royal Marines boarding training in the Mediterranean (Picture: Royal Navy).
RFA Argus acts as the target ship during the Royal Marines boarding training in the Mediterranean (Picture: Royal Navy).

Royal Marines and Royal Navy helicopters have swooped in on their own vessel during adrenaline-fuelled boarding training alongside Algerian forces.

RFA Argus, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary aviation support and casualty ship, acted as the 'unfriendly' target vessel for Marines and Algerian counterparts to board and take control of in a simulated hostile battlefield training scenario.

A Wildcat maritime patrol helicopter from 847 Naval Air Squadron used her radar to locate RFA Argus, whilst another Wildcat swooped in with a 42 Commando sniper team, who then got on board. The sniper teams can provide cover for other commandos, while also being able to shoot out the engines of drug-running speedboats.

Small boats from 47 Commando, carrying personnel from 42 Commando and the Algerian forces, then approached and began to board RFA Argus.

Once Argus' flight deck was secure, an Algerian Super Lynx and Wildcat helicopters pounced, allowing marines to fast rope onto the deck and overwhelm the pretend enemy.

The drills are part of a Mediterranean mission for RFA Argus, who is part of the amphibious task force known as Littoral Response Group North, spearheaded by HMS Albion.

Lieutenant Commander Mathew Askham, Tailored Air Group Commanding Officer, said: "This kind of joint training – with different nations throughout the Mediterranean including North Africa – has been a huge part of the response group's role over the past three months.

"These interactions are crucial to developing relationships with our military counterparts and allows us to learn from each other for future joint operations."

RFA Argus is in Vigo in Spain before heading home for Christmas. The ship is affiliated to the port after rescuing 12 Spanish sailors from the Delfin Del Mediterraneo, which sank 248 miles southwest of Cape St Vincent in 1998.

Argus' actions, overcoming waves of up to 40ft, earned her the Silver Medal of Galicia.

While in Vigo, RFA Argus will host dignitaries and sailors will visit the Villagarcia Cemetery, the British Naval Cemetery.