Lynx helicopters from 847 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) have been helping to train Nigeria Armed Forces. As part of HMS Oceanâ€™s embarked Squadrons they visited the Joint Maritime Security Training Centre (JMSTC) in Lagos while the ship visited the country.
While HMS Ocean was berthed alongside, conducting diplomatic work, military training and out-reach work in local communities, the shipâ€™s TAG assisted in training ashore. The first task was to take part in the Nigerian Navy Fleet Review to celebrate Nigeriaâ€™s 50th anniversary of their independence from the Britain. Two Lynx helicopters joined a formation of three Nigerian Navy Air Arm helicopters as their President reviewed the assembled fleet.
The following day aircraft conducted trooping training with Nigerian maritime security personnel. This involved familiarisation with the British Lynx helicopters, followed by trooping flights with small teams of soldiers. The Nigerian personnel based at the JMSTC were being trained by a small team of international military instructors. On the anniversary of their independence the centre was officially handed over to the Nigerian training team.
As HMS Ocean was due to depart Lagos the embarked Squadrons were instructed to be on standby for counter piracy operations. Utilising the wide range of experience within the 847 NAS the aircrew and aircraft were rapidly prepared. For three days the aircrew, aircraft and maintainers were poised to conduct flying at short notice. Ultimately the necessity did not arise.
847 NAS has had a small detachment embarked on HMS Ocean since the start of June. The Lynx Mk7 battlefield helicopters were initially joined by their sister Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) â€˜Junglyâ€™ Sea King Mk4 support helicopters. After the large scale AURIGA amphibious exercise off America the Sea Kings of returned to the UK to deploy on operations in Afghanistan. The embarked Squadron was then joined by a flight of Lynx Mk3 Maritime helicopters for counter-piracy and counter-trafficking operations. HMS Ocean and the TAG are now sailing towards Sierra Leone to conduct further military training and maritime security patrol.
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