Flagship Albion returns home after landmark experimental deployment

Topic: Fighting armsSurface Fleet

UK flagship HMS Albion today returned from her three-month experimental autumn deployment to the Mediterranean.

The assault ship sailed back home to Devonport having led Littoral Response Group (Experimentation) (LRG(X)) on a series of exercises which will help shape the Royal Navy and Royal Marines of tomorrow.

Working together with HMS Dragon and RFA Lyme Bay, the task group has focused on developing the tactics and technology which will drive the Future Navy and Royal Marine’s Future Commando Force.

They tested new equipment, such as drones, which could be used for resupplying equipment to commandos on the ground, miniature aerial helicopters for surveillance and underwater autonomous sonars to help map beaches for landings.

In all 40 experimental concepts have been tested in nine major exercises, largely focused around Cyprus in October and November.

In addition to experimentation, the task group worked with NATO allies and regional partners to promote stability and security in the Mediterranean.

The ships, helicopters and Royal Marines trained alongside forces from Cyprus, France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Turkey and Ukraine.

Albion and Lyme Bay, which is home in Portland next week, also took part in NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian, where they investigated over 200 cargo vessels, tankers and container ships, operating on a vital commercial transit route between Asia, Africa and Europe.

“The Littoral Response Group task group has paved the way for the Future Navy and Future Commando Force,” said Commander Jason Eacock Albion’s Executive Officer.

“This deployment has focused on testing new ideas, concepts and kit to help us constantly adapt in a changing world. Additionally, we have also completed vital work in the Mediterranean, North Africa and Black Sea Regions alongside our NATO and regional allies to support regional security and stability.

“I am extremely proud of what has been achieved from our sailors and Royal Marines during this three-month deployment, especially with the added pressures and complications from Covid. We now look forward to reuniting with our family and friends for the Christmas holidays, and we thank them for supporting us during our time away.”

LRG(X) was the first time away for many of the ship’s company; the youngest sailor onboard HMS Albion, Able Seaman Tom Curry said: “This is my first deployment since joining the Royal Navy. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to leave the ship – but this meant that we embraced life onboard.

“To see how we are shaping the future for both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines has been really exciting.”

Although the LRG(X) deployment has finished, the beginnings of what they have achieved has just started. The Royal Navy and Royal Marines will continue to develop and learn from the deployment and prepare for future testing in the New Year.

To see how we are shaping the future for both the Royal Navy and Royal Marines has been really exciting

Able Seaman Tom Curry, HMS Albion