Royal Navy helicopters have fired new missiles for the first time as UK and US forces target a warship in the biggest such exercise for two decades.
HMS Westminster, a Wildcat helicopter and three RAF Typhoon jets put on a formidable display of firepower alongside US allies, exploding a specially prepared ex-US Navy warship in the North Atlantic.
The decommissioned frigate, USS Boone, was hit with an array of high-powered weaponry, including the Royal Navy’s new laser-guided Martlet missile.
The exercise, named Atlantic Thunder, was the first of its type for the Royal Navy in 18 years and took place alongside US Navy and US Air Force counterparts.
Commander Ed Moss-Ward, commanding officer of HMS Westminster, said the exercise demonstrated that UK and US naval and air forces can work together to deliver “an end-to-end kill chain” against a ship at long range.
“The integration of high-end weapons, sensors and communications with our Nato allies is key to the collective warfighting capability of the alliance demonstrated by the sinking exercise.
“The firings have supported the development of the Royal Navy’s targeting and weapon capabilities, and afforded the opportunity to conduct realistic training to validate tactics and operating procedures.”
Britain’s Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster fired two Harpoon anti-ship missiles at USS Boone at the same time as a US P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft launched one of its own.
Combined, 660kg of high explosives hit the ship simultaneously.