Osprey’s flying visit to HMS Illustrious

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IS IT a bird? Is it a plane? Well, sort of.

Flying off into the sunset, this unusual-looking aircraft has been spending time on the flight deck of Portsmouth-based HMS Illustrious.

JUMPING SHIP The Osprey Aircraft from the USS Kearsarge completed several deck landings on board HMS Illustrious during a joint operation en route to the Gulf region

JUMPING SHIP The Osprey Aircraft from the USS Kearsarge completed several deck landings on board HMS Illustrious during a joint operation en route to the Gulf region

The Royal Navy aircraft carrier became the first non-US ship to fly an Osprey six years ago.

So when the carrier passed the USS Kearsarge and its embarked Ospreys on the way to the Gulf recently, one of them made the journey across.

Lieutenant Commander Nigel Terry is the deputy head of HMS Illustrious’ flight department.

He said: ‘Opportunities like this present an invaluable opportunity to continue to work together with other nations.

‘This is absolutely essential in modern naval operations.

‘It allows us to grow our understanding of our different procedures as well as providing valuable training for our deck crews.’

Piloting the US Marine Corps aircraft as it landed at dusk was a Royal Navy officer, Lieutenant Alan Wootton, a former Army Air Corps pilot who transferred to the Royal Navy.

He is on a three-year exchange with the US Marine Corps.