Members of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron Seven Seven (HSM-77) “Saberhawks” aboard United States carrier USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN 72) embarked on United Kingdom Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Victoria (A387), May 3.
The embarkation, led by Lieutenant Commander Aric “Bull” Edmondson, U.S. Navy, is the first U.S. helicopter detachment to be embarked on a Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) asset in this area of operation, and also the first time on a Royal Fleet Auxiliary.
The MH-60R Seahawk is fitted with advanced surface search radar and provides enhanced capability in counter-piracy operations.
Captain Ian Pilling, commanding officer, RFA Fort Victoria stated: “This is a great opportunity to explore the UK/ U.S. interoperability whilst providing a significant force multiplier to the embarked CTF151 battle staff.”
Fort Victoria is currently flagship for Commander, Combined Task Force (CTF) 151, Royal Thai Navy Rear Admiral Tanin Likitawong and his multi-national battlestaff. This is the first time Fort Victoria has embarked a multi-national task force and this is the first time the Royal Thai Navy has commanded CTF 151.
CTF 151 is a multi-national mission-based Task Force, working under the Combined Maritime Forces to conduct counter-piracy operations in the Red Sea, Gulf of Oman, Somali Basin and Arabian Sea.