Royal Navy’s global mission during Armed Forces Week

It may be Armed Forces Week in the UK – it’s Armed Forces Week around the world for the Royal Navy.

As we approach the half-way point of 2020, 20 Royal Navy units – ships, submarines, Naval Air Squadrons, Royal Marine Commando formations – have been deployed on front-line operations, demanding the efforts of 8,891 serving men and women.

Right now, the Navy’s global mission means its men and women are protecting the UK’s interests in the Middle East, Mediterranean, Atlantic, Caribbean and South America – as well as around the mother country.

RFA ArgusHMS Medwaya contingent of Royal Marines and soldiers, plus an air group of Merlin and Wildcat helicopters are in the Caribbean on notice to respond to hurricanes as well as supporting the international fight against drug smuggling.

Survey ship HMS Enterprise is working in the eastern Mediterranean having been as far east as Japan, Vietnam and Singapore in an epic deployment well into its second year.

Fresh from monitoring the progress of a Russian destroyer through the channel, frigate HMS Westminster is gearing up to take part in Exercise Dynamic Mongoose in Norway – the second of NATO’s annual set-piece submarine hunts.

Joining her in Scandinavia will be HMS Kent – which has just completed another major NATO exercise in the Baltic – and the Merlin helicopters of 814 Naval Air Squadron.

Patrol ship HMS Forth is on duty in the Falklands as she clocks up her first six months safeguarding the South Atlantic islands.

It’s midwinter for Forth… and high summer in the Gulf where the largest concentration of Royal Navy personnel can be found outside the UK.

Two frigates – HMS Argyll and Montrose – plus RFA support vessel Cardigan Bay and the minehunters under her wing, HMS BrocklesbyShorehamLedbury and Blyth keep the sea lanes in the Middle East open daily, under the direction of the RN’s headquarters in the region, UKMCC, and assisted by the engineers and logistics experts at the UK Naval Support Facility in Bahrain.

Ledbury and Blyth are soon to be replaced by HMS Chiddingfold and Penzance respectively, which are working their way across the Mediterranean right now.

A whole raft of Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are at work in and around the UK, led by future flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth. She is completing her training with F-35 Lightning jets in the North Sea ready to lead her carrier task group on its maiden deployment in the new year.

HMS Tyne and Mersey are ensuring fishing stocks are not denuded by illegal trawling; new overseas patrol vessels HMS Trent and Tamar are performing training before deploying on long-term overseas missions.

And, of course, somewhere beneath the waves there’s a Vanguard-class submarine on a nuclear deterrent patrol.