A 600ft military landing ship is currently doing training exercises off the coast of Bournemouth

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, named after the bay in Cornwall, is currently in Poole Bay this Friday afternoon, September 15. 

The Royal Navy is training soldiers and maintaining equipment “to make sure we are fighting fit for the challenge”, according to its website, and is operating from Portland. 

Weighing in at more than 16,000 tonnes fully loaded, Mounts Bay can carry up to 1,150 linear metres of vehicles inside (this can include 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks”. 

She also has a flight deck fitted to the back of the craft, capable of holding helicopters as large as a Chinook. 

Bournemouth Echo:

Despite having a top speed of around 20 knots (roughly 23mph), she can travel a distance of 8,000 miles across oceans. 

Her last deployment was conducting counter narcotics operations in the Carribean back in 2020 to support the US Coast Guard. 

The Royal Navy said: “Since launching in 2004, RFA Mounts Bay’s role has been to support vital amphibious operations and exercises, all over the world.  

“These involve offloading embarked troops, including Royal Marines Commandos, in all weather conditions. 

“RFA Mount’s Bay is capable of carrying amphibious vehicles and landing craft, so all necessary personnel can reach shore and complete their operation, whether that’s taking food and supplies to a disaster-hit area or supporting forces who are already on the ground.”