Aerial replenishment keeps HMS Duncan going

Two Royal Naval vessels have undertaken an aerial transfer of stores and goods in the heat of the Gulf.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria spent a day with the Royal Navy’s newest warship, HMS Duncan, completing a Replenishment at Sea (RAS) by Merlin helicopter.

During her deployment to the Gulf, Fort Victoria has had a busy time providing fuel, stores and ammunition to ships of the Royal Navy enabling them to continue operations away from the UK. 

Carrying out a RAS is a core function of the RFA in order to extend the reach and capability of British warships with Fort Victoria having carried out several since she arrived in the region three months ago, mainly ship-to-ship.

This was a perfect demonstration of why the RFA is so important for maritime capability.

Captain Stephen Norris

A Merlin helicopter from 820 Naval Air Squadron took part in the airborne RAS, known as a Vertical Replenishment (VERTREP). 

Flight Commander, Lieutenant Commander Simon White, said: “It’s always a pleasure to work with the RFA, and it’s great training for us.”

Fort Victoria Commanding Officer, Captain Stephen Norris, was pleased with how quickly his ship readied itself for the movement of goods and the important role the RFA plays in keeping the Royal Navy on the go.

He said: “This was a perfect demonstration of why the RFA is so important for maritime capability. 

"It is very satisfying to know that because of the fuel and the stores we have provided, HMS Duncan is able to continue her current operations without interruption.”

Building on the success of the VERTREP, and to maximise the opportunity of working with Fort Victoria, the Merlin team then performed a series of deck landings and aviation training serials. 

Duncan is currently working with the UK’s international partners performing maritime security operations in the Gulf region.