in Defence

HMS Albion prepares for amphibious test

Posted 13 October 2017 · Add Comment

The clouds do their best to obscure the harvest moon which casts its bright light on a docked-down HMS Albion as a large LCU Mk10 landing craft returns to 'mother', carrying the naval leaders of tomorrow for their first extended period at sea: six weeks aboard the assault ship.

The future flagship (she assumes the title next year from Ocean), is beginning a month and a half of intensive amphibious training - her core business - as part of her Operational Sea Training (OST) package, after which she'll be able to deploy wherever Whitehall determines she is required.

She conducts OST with plaudits ringing in her ears, having been formally handed back to the Royal Navy from the Defence Equipment and Support arm of the MoD, who oversaw Albion's £90m two-year refit.

The private firms, engineers and ship's company have been praised for the speed and efficiency with which they brought a sleeping giant back to life (Albion was mothballed for four years following the 2010 defence review) and are now turning her into a potent fighting machine.

Above: HMS Albion has been in refit since 2011 and in January 2017 350 sailors joined her to start the final preparations to get her ready for going back to sea after coming out of refit at HMNB Devonport.
Courtesy Royal Navy

In a world where defence projects normally take longer and cost more than anticipated, Albion returned to sea three days earlier than planned back in the summer - and has maintained the pace throughout sea trials, conducted with such aplomb that Commodore Rob Bellfield, the new Commodore of Devonport Flotilla was more than happy to welcome the ship back into the bosom of his 'family'.

He said the regeneration of the ship over the past three years was an example of how the Navy, industry and MoD could work together successfully.

"With a strong command lead and an extremely enthusiastic and engaging ships company, the ship is immaculate which is indicative of the ship's company's collective pride," he told the 330 sailors and Royal Marines.

HMS Albion has a brief period between the end of sea trials and start of OST.

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