RFA Argus Helicopters and RCIPS helicopter on a recce of Grand Cayman
845 Naval Air Squadron Merlin and 815 Naval Air Squadron Wildcat from the RFA Argus with the RCIPS #H145
Helicopter carrier/ support ship RFA Argus arrived in Cayman waters yesterday morning.
Hurricane season is about to begin and Royal Navy or Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in the Caribbean are called upon almost every year to assist island communities with disaster preparedness and they will now be able to play a part in ensuring the UK Government is ready to support its territories during the pandemic.
Cayman Islands' governor, Martyn Roper has indicated that the ship will not be landing its helicopters on the Islands and the crew will not be coming ashore due to the Covid-19 situation.
Today the RFA Argus is flying two of its helicopters: the 845 Naval Air Squadron Merlin and 815 Naval Air Squadron Wildcat alongside the RCIPS helicopter on a recce of Grand Cayman.
The RCIPS helicopter met the Navy helicopters airborne and conducted a familiarisation over the radio in loose formation. They looked for key areas and landing sites (no landings were made) in preparation for the upcoming hurricane season and the usual general brief of the Islands.
The team will also be conducting a drug interdiction exercise with the RCIPS Marine Unit.
An overflight of Cayman Brac is planned for this afternoon.
Onboard the 175-metre ship are Royal Marines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Royal Navy sailors as well as aviators from 815 Naval Air Squadron and 845 Naval Air Squadron.
Argus’ task is distinct from the mission of the Security Assistance Team (SAT) that recently arrived from the UK. The SAT are here to assist the Cayman Islands Government to plan and to mitigate against any security issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The team are already engaging with local officials through virtual meetings while in quarantine.
The vessel also has Disaster Relief stores on board, as well as Royal Engineers and other specialist personnel who can help with repairing and restoring vital services. As standard procedure, the ship will remain in the region during hurricane season as vital support if needed.
The ship has already scouted Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla and Montserrat.