Medway and Argus come together for training in Caribbean

HMS Medway and RFA Argus have tested each other in joint training serials, from high-speed manoeuvres to flying drills, in Caribbean waters.

The ships are at the centre of a Royal Navy task group in the region that is ready to respond if a major hurricane were to hit.

Argus has recently been in Curaçao for maintenance after a demanding few months, while Medway has just completed a counter-narcotics patrol (another of the main responsibilities for the task group).

Now the ships have worked together to put their crews through their paces.

The training began with offshore patrol vessel Medway sailing astern to Argus, before increasing speed to conduct close-up passes of the support ship/helicopter carrier.

Once clear ahead, both ships carried out a series of high-speed and difficult manoeuvres. Moving the ships at speed and within close range of each other requires careful communication between both ships and pushes the navigators, signallers and bridge watch keeping teams to the limit. They have to respond quickly and precisely.

To add further complexity to the training, a Commando Merlin Mk4 helicopter from Yeovilton-based 845 Naval Air Squadron was taking off and landing between both ships.

The Tailored Air Group – made up of three Commando Merlins and a Wildcat of 815 Naval Air Squadron – are embarked on RFA Argus to provide disaster relief but they took the meeting with Medway as an opportunity to practise landing on her flight deck.

It is great training that practises ship handling and reacting quickly.

Second Officer Jake Bryan, RFA Argus’ navigating officer

Lieutenant Teddy Bradley, operations officer on HMS Medway, said: “Finishing a counter-narcotics patrol with these officer of the watch manoeuvres as a task group was a fantastic opportunity to train our Bridge Team in ship handling and yeomanry, skills they’re going to need in a two-carrier navy.

“Add in flying and it demonstrates just how versatile Medway and the Batch 2 OPVs really are and why they are the Royal Navy’s choice for forward presence in the Caribbean.”

Second Officer Jake Bryan, RFA Argus’ navigating officer, added: “With plenty of sea room we had a good opportunity and safe environment to train. This is such a good way to really test our teams.

“The fast communications needed pushed our signallers, and the officer of the watch has to be very aware of safety in all manoeuvres. It is great training that practises ship handling and reacting quickly.”

The ships will now continue with their respective tasking.

HMS Medway is sailing south where she will rendezvous with the Dutch ship HMNLS Groningen to carry out more training. Meanwhile RFA Argus is heading north to resume patrols.