in Defence / Features

HMS Illustrious in the Philippines

Posted 4 December 2013 · Add Comment

Since arriving in the Philippines, HMS Illustrious and her 'floating warehouse' of emergency supplies have been a hub of activity.

The Royal Navy’s amphibious aircraft carrier arrived in the Philippines on 25 November after a short stop in Singapore to load up 500 tonnes of humanitarian aid under the direction of the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Teams of personnel have been working 24-hours-a-day in her hangar to sort and pack the much needed supplies, ready for distribution ashore, and the flight deck has been operating constantly since the 23,000-tonne ship arrived.

Since the start of Operation Patwin, the UK’s contribution to the multinational humanitarian aid effort, 356 pallets of supplies have been distributed ashore. This equates to roughly 130 tonnes of stores, including 2,048 family food packs (each enough to feed a family of 5 for 1 week), 5,400 tarpaulins, 46 debris clearance packs (shovels, wheelbarrows, hammers, saws, tarpaulins, rice bags and assorted tools), and 1,500 litres of water to those islands which do not have a fresh water supply.



Above: A Merlin helicopter from 829 Naval Air Squadron delivers aid to communities on Sicogon Island in the Philippines.
Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Nicky Wilson, Crown copyright

Royal Navy Sea King and Merlin and British Army Lynx helicopters have been streaming to the islands around the coast of Panay every few minutes to deliver the supplies.

Together, they have completed 252 flying hours and 227 vertical replenishments (where the aircraft hovers over the flight deck to collect an underslung load without landing).

Speaking on 2 December, Commander Nick Walker said: "After five days of intensive air operations, yesterday was the most active so far. Five helicopters transported 40 tonnes of stores in 61 underslung loads, with 50 sorties taking internal freight and landing our teams and DFID officers ashore.

"I don’t think there has been a busier day on the flight deck since Illustrious converted to a helicopter carrier in 2010. Although the majority of the flying occurs in daylight hours, supporting the air effort with aircraft maintenance, deck and load preparations and planning and briefing is a 24-hour operation.

"I am immensely proud of all those involved and what they have enabled the Air Group to achieve for the people of the Philippines.

Alongside food aid and equipment distribution on numerous islands, there have been opportunities for soldiers, sailors and marines to get their hands dirty. Teams have been sent ashore on six islands to assist with such things as repairing generators, buildings and fishing boats and debris clearance.

Above & below right: Flight deck operations aboard HMS Illustrious in the Philippines.
Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Nicky Wilson, Crown copyright

Lieutenant Commander Andy Reeves led a team repairing a school roof in Bitoon on Calagnaan Island. He said: "It’s a huge honour to be involved in this kind of operation. My team and I have found it incredibly rewarding to be able to make a difference on the ground to the people of the Philippines, who have been through so much in the last few weeks."

HMS Illustrious will continue to visit further island clusters around the central Philippine island of Panay to assess the needs of the local communities and provide vital assistance.

 

* required field

Post a comment

Other Stories
Latest News

MoD award 150m Scout cannon contract

The Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has announced that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a £150 million contract to supply a new cannon capability for the UK Armed Forces.

Airports Commission reveals its recommendations

The Airports Commission has today published its final report, in which it sets out its recommendations to government for expanding aviation capacity in the UK.

HMS Queen Elizabeth comes to life

HMS Queen Elizabeth's mighty diesel generators have been powered-up marking a major milestone on the way to her becoming an operational warship.

MoD looks to SMEs and academics to shape future military comms

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is developing a new approach to land and littoral communications that will support military operations in future decades.

CAA warns airspace infringement hotspots face big reduction targets

The number of serious airspace infringements at six of the highest risk air traffic zones in the UK, should be cut by as much as 50% over the next 12 months, to head off the need for further action, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has

Boost for UK aerospace industry

Business Minister Anna Soubry today opened new cutting edge research facilities in Coventry and announced new technology projects to keep the UK a world leader in aerospace.

Farsound Skyscraper 3mths
See us at
DSEI 2015 button Mar-Sep15