The exercise was another step in proving the usefulness of attack helicopter operations not only from land, but in the maritime domain as well

Capt Sam Shattock RFA.

For 2014 the American Apache unit practiced deck landings and acted as scouts (eyes and ears) for the Bay-class ship, while Cardigan Bay’s flight deck team got used to operating with a gunship, rather than more typical Royal Navy Lynx and Merlin helicopters.

The Apaches were joined for Spartan Kopis by medical Black Hawks of the 214th Air Ambulance Detachment and, on the water, by the fast patrol boat/gunship USS Thunderbolt. 

After two days of training with Cardigan Bay, the Apaches had honed their ‘operating at sea’ skills sufficiently to switch to ‘attack mode’ as they were charged with defending the ship against any threats posed by Spartan Kopis – notably the Thunderbolt.

“Spartan Kopis was the first opportunity for a UK Navy unit to be directly supported by US attack helicopters,” said Cardigan Bay’s Commanding Officer Capt Sam Shattock RFA.

“The exercise was another step in proving the usefulness of attack helicopter operations not only from land, but in the maritime domain as well.”

Marine Engineer Officer (RFA)

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