HMS Lancaster completes Navy's first Arctic deployment of 2021

The Royal Navy has completed its first deployment into the Arctic in 2021 after a joint operation with the Norwegians.

Frigate HMS Lancaster linked up with HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl and F-16 jets for a patrol of the Norwegian Sea and combined training in the confined waters of Norway’s fjords.

On entering the Arctic Circle, Lancaster and Thor Heyerdahl worked together to improve the smooth operation of the two allies across the full range of naval warfare in the High North: navigation, communications and dealing with threats below, on and above the waves.

Two Norwegian Air Force F-16s provided the two ships with a realistic ‘foe’ in the Arctic skies.

Late winter storms caused the warships to seek the shelter of the fjords which afforded extra training for bridge teams in confined waters – and allowed the ship’s company some rare Arctic sightseeing while conducting damage-control drills.

“Without an emergency service to call on at sea, it is down to the professional training and teamwork of our sailors to carry out these safety critical evolutions such as damage control, firefighting and casualty handling. These exercises ensure we are ready for any incident that could occur day or night,” explained Warrant Officer Si Hargreaves, Lancaster’s Executive Warrant Officer.

Our Norwegian friends have been a pleasure to work with and the ease with which we integrate proves the value of the NATO alliance

Commander Will Blackett, Commanding Officer of HMS Lancaster

Once the storm had passed, the two ships parted company, with Lancaster returning to patrol UK waters over the Easter period.

“As two close neighbours and allies we share common interests and security concerns in our area of responsibility,” said Commander Lars Larsson, commanding HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl.

“During our recent training, we have enhanced our ability to effectively  cooperate  and safely conduct maritime operations in all domains. This is enhancing cohesion among allies and our common security in the North.”

 

Lancaster’s Commanding Officer Commander Will Blackett added: “This has been a busy but rewarding period, and once again I am proud of my team who have dealt with challenging conditions throughout. 

“Our Norwegian friends have been a pleasure to work with and the ease with which we integrate proves the value of the NATO alliance – HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl is an impressive ship and I look forward to further operations together in the future.”

HMS Lancaster returned to Portsmouth this morning to give her ship’s company Easter leave and allow for maintenance on the frigate herself after being battered by the winter seas.