The British Royal Navy and the RAF cooperated with the USA to destroy and sink a warship in the first such exercise in 18 years.
The Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster, a Wildcat helicopter and three Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets of the RAF took part in the live-fire exercise using high-powered weapons to sink the US frigate USS Boone.
Exercise Atlantic Thunder, which took place in the North Atlantic, was the first time the Typhoon fighter was used to drop live ammunition on a warship at sea.
It was a rare test of complex weapons against a realistic target far out at sea and tested the power and precision of naval and air forces, giving the Allies real-world experience and demonstrating the capability of many advanced combat and targeting techniques.
“The Type 23 frigate HMS Westminster fired two Harpoon anti-ship missiles at the same time a US P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft fired a munition of its own, hitting the ex-USS Boone at the same time,” said HMS Westminster Commander Ed Moss-Ward.
“The Wildcat crew remained in the air and guided a Typhoon fighter to fire Paveway IV precision-guided munitions against the target. The frigate’s Wildcat helicopter quickly followed and dropped Martlet surface-to-air missiles. This was the first time a Royal Navy helicopter had guided Paveway IV to its target.’
A US Navy spokesman said all toxic materials and contaminants had been removed from the USS Boone, which has been decommissioned since 2012, before it was used as a target.
With information from: Evening Standard