Portsmouth ship’s crew proves valuable in training those who fight at sea

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SAILORS from HMS Lancaster spent an action-packed two months helping train those who fight beneath, on and above the waves.

Submariners, aviators and warfare officers all have the Portsmouth-based frigate to thank for an intensive work-out the ship gave them off the south coast of England.

First to make use of the Type 23 frigate were the Lynx crews of 702 Naval Air Squadron who needed to gain some experience of operating the nimble helicopter at sea. The Lynx is the backbone of frigate and destroyer operations around the globe.

No warship deploys without one, or the larger Merlin, on the flight deck.

Across eight intensive days, trainee pilots made 350 landings on the frigate’s relatively small flight deck during more than 60 hours of flying operations.

The Lynx’s successor Wildcat paid a visit to the ship during its thorough trials, which has also seen it working with helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious.

Commander Peter Laughton, the ship’s commanding officer, said: ‘This has been both a challenging and rewarding period of training, where Lancaster has made a real difference to the future operational output of the Royal Navy.’