RFA Fort Victoria, has returned to the UK after a 195-day deployment with the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group. The 33,675-tonne Auxiliary ship arrived back at Defence Munitions (DM) Crombie in West Fife on Sunday, December 12.
Speaking of the Carrier Strike Group deployment, Commanding Officer of RFA Fort Victoria Captain Chris Clarke said: “RFA Fort Victoria has proven that she is an indispensable part of the Carrier Strike Group.
“She and other RFAs are the means by which the Royal Navy has the flexibility to maneuver and sustain itself to potentially strike at a time and place of its own choosing.”
He continued: “Over the seven-month deployment we have steamed just under 40,000 miles, we’ve crossed the equator, had four port visits, transferred 27,000 tonnes of fuel and 350 tonnes of ammunition, food, spares and provisions while underway at sea. We have also undertaken 635 helicopter landings from our three embarked Merlin Mk4s of 845 Naval Air Squadron.”
Captain Clarke and his 120-strong crew on board Fort Victoria set off from the Fife depot in late April this year.
She, and her sister vessel RFA Tidespring, joined the Carrier Strike Group for operations in the Indo-Pacific region.
Made up of fast jets, helicopters, destroyers, frigates, nuclear-powered submarines, RFA support ships and the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers, the Strike Group acts as a self-contained force that can work independently or as part of wider operations.
The Royal Fleet Auxiliary plays a crucial role, allowing vessels the ability to stay at sea for long periods by replenishing stores of fuel, ammunition, food and other essentials while remaining on the oceans.
While deployed, RFA Fort Victoria conducted 44 such replenishments at sea with ships from six different nations. She also conducted the first operational replenishment for the Queen Elizabeth class.
“Crombie is, in many ways, RFA Fort Victoria’s spiritual home,” said Captain Clarke. “That’s why it is entirely fitting that after a long and arduous deployment away from the UK, we’ve returned to the welcoming atmosphere of this depot where we set out from earlier in the year.”
Crombie is, in many ways, RFA Fort Victoria’s spirit