Osprey’s First Landing on RFA Mounts Bay Is the Beginning of a Great Friendship

Personnel from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Naval Air Squadrons witnessed a historical moment, as the one and only Osprey ‘tiltrotor’ aircraft landed, for the first time, on a RFA vessel, the Mounts Bay.
An Osprey aircraft operated with RFA Mounts Bay, for the first time in history 6 photos
Photo: Royal Navy
An Osprey operates with a RFA vessel for the first timeAn Osprey operates with a RFA vessel for the first timeAn Osprey operates with a RFA vessel for the first timeAn Osprey operates with a RFA vessel for the first timeAn Osprey operates with a RFA vessel for the first time
The exciting event took place during the first deployment of the Littoral Response Group (North) task group to a joint operation in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea regions, where it participated in U.S.-led exercises. But this special moment required months of prior training and preparation.

The Osprey flew into Dorset from the RFA’s Mildenhall station, in Suffolk, and used the HeliOperations training facility in Portland as a military base, while working with the RFA ship. The training’s objective was to practice safe operations on and off the Mounts Bay’s deck and it looks like it was a success.

In order to make sure that the ship and the aircraft had a smooth encounter, the crew on the ship joined forces with personnel from the 1700 and 847 Naval Air Squadrons.

This marked the first time that an Osprey landed on a Bay-class ship, such as the RFA Mounts Bay. These types of ships are meant to provide support for the main assault ships, by carrying troops and equipment, and are an important part of amphibious operations. The unique aircraft has had encounters with Royal Navy ships before, but not with ones from the RFA.

And, as thrilling as it was for those directly involved in the training, this was more than just a simple exercise. The plan is to eventually convert one of the Bay-class ships into a Littoral Strike Ship, in the near future, meaning that it will have greater responsibilities in commando operations, and will work closely with U.S. troops and aircraft, including the Osprey.

According to RFA officials, this was just the first step towards getting the approval to operate Osprey aircraft on Bay-class ships.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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