Royal Navy frigate HMS Northumberland has been involved in a major maritime exercise involving the navies of 27 nations in Karachi.
Exercise Aman (Urdu for ‘peace’) was hosted by the Pakistan Navy and aimed to show the commitment of nations involved in tackling terrorism and other crimes in the Indian Ocean. The exercise also provided a chance for the navies involved - some of which don’t work together very often - to hone their skills.
Commander Paddy Dowsett, the Commanding Officer of HMS Northumberland, said:
The opportunity to exchange ideas with Chinese, American, Australian, Emirati and Italian sailors - all in the same forum - was a fascinating experience.
At sea, exercises included gunnery blasting ‘killer tomato’ inflatable targets, performing counter-piracy demonstrations, carrying out cross-deck landings (which means helicopters from the various participants practise landing on different warships), and staging a combined search and rescue exercise.
Commander Dowsett added:
Both the harbour and sea phases of Aman provided my ship’s company with an all-too-rare insight into both the culture and tactics of our key regional partners.
In many respects the harbour phase, with its packed programme of social, cultural and sporting activities, was as important as the days spent at sea.
HMS Northumberland is working as part of the Combined Maritime Forces - a coalition of 27 nations committed to maritime security from the Red Sea to the shores of the Seychelles and Pakistan - carrying out patrols to tackle pirates, terrorists and smugglers.
The ship is due to return to Plymouth in May after nearly 8 months away.