This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has praised the Royal Navy’s professionalism after witnessing the advanced sea training which prepares British, allied and partner warships for operations.
Mr Fallon flew today, 24 July, to the Royal Navy’s newest Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan in the English Channel near Plymouth, from where he observed the rigorous training ships’ companies go through.
The intense training simulates flood and fire emergencies, as well as air attacks from fast jets and submarine and missile engagements. It also tests each crew’s ability to deal with the pressure surrounding a series of potential setbacks.
Escorted by Rear Admiral Ben Key, Flag Officer Sea Training, Mr Fallon also witnessed ‘action messing’, the emergency distribution of meals in the ship’s mess, which was used to feed hundreds of British citizens for real during the evacuations from Libya in 2011.
Michael Fallon said:
It is has been deeply impressive to witness the professional and intense training that takes place here to prepare the Royal Navy for operations around the world.
His visit coincided with a milestone for Royal Navy operations. In Camp Bastion, Sea King helicopter crew members from 854 Naval Air Squadron witnessed the lowering of a White Ensign, marking the final contribution of the last fully-formed Royal Naval unit on operations in Afghanistan.
The Defence Secretary said:
I am pleased to be able to pay tribute to the contribution made by 854 Naval Air Squadron, which has played an essential role in supporting troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
The Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas, said:
The contribution of the SKASaC force over 5 years has been magnificent, taking the fight to a determined enemy in a vastly unfamiliar environment. Their vital work saved many lives and proved the value of the aircraft over land.
As well as the Fleet Air Arm, thousands of members of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines have previously served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Herrick.