Armada takes to the sea

Some of the 14 P2000 naval ships and three coastal forces heritage trust vessels that took part in exercises in the Solent this week
Some of the 14 P2000 naval ships and three coastal forces heritage trust vessels that took part in exercises in the Solent this week
A soldier with the 4th Mechanised Brigade is pictured engaging the enemy during Operation Qalb in Helmand, Afghanistan. PPP-151019-121639001

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SPECTATORS in the Solent were treated to a rare sight as all of the Royal Navy’s 14 patrol boats took to the sea to tackle a set of manoeuvres.

All of the Archer-class ships staged a series of close formations, churning the waters of the eastern Solent white as they raced along at speeds of more than 20 knots.

The boats, which joined the navy in the late 1980s, have just completed a five-year revamp which has added 10 knots to their top speed and will help keep them in service into the mid-2030s.

The ships are based across nine locations in the UK.

With the end of their Easter deployments there was the rare chance for every vessel to converge on Portsmouth for a few days. Wartime gunboats MGB81 and HMS Medusa joined in the three-hour display.