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Top Commander pays a visit to Illustrious

Three days into the operation to deliver aid to the Philippines, HMS Illustrious has been visited by the Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force and Commander, US Marine Forces Japan.

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Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

Arriving onboard the Portsmouth based warship, in an MV-22 Osprey, Lieutenant General John E Wissler was accompanied by Commodore Clive Walker Royal Navy, Commander Joint Forces Logistics Operations.

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Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013
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Lieutenant General John E Wissler visits HMS Illustrious Credit: Crown Copyright 2013

HMS Illustrious commander on Philippines aid efforts

ITV Meridian presenter Amanda Piper has been speaking to Commander Kerry Harris of HMS Illustrious, as the ship continues to provide aid to the Philippines. The vessel arrived in the country on Monday 25th November.

Its crew are expected to still be in the Philippines over Christmas, assisting with the crisis relief effort after Typhoon Haiyan.

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HMS Illustrious en route to the Phillipines

HMS Illustrious has today departed Singapore en route to the Philippines.

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HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

During 48 hours alongside Sembawang naval shipyard in Singapore, over 500 tons of disaster relief aid was loaded into the hangar by the men and women serving in HMS Illustrious.

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HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

During the time alongside in Singapore, additional medical teams embarked along with personnel from 24 Commando Royal Engineers, as well as a humanitarian expert and a logistics adviser from DFID.

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HMS Illustrious is en route to the Phillipines Credit: © UK Crown copyright 2013

HMS Illustrious passes through busiest shipping route

HMS Montrose alongside HMS Illustrious Credit: Royal Navy
Crew salute HMS Montrose Credit: Royal Navy
On the look out for ships coming too close Credit: Royal Navy

HMS Illustrious has been escorted through the Strait of Hormuz by frigate HMS Montrose as she continues on her Gulf deployment.

The carrier is due to start exercises in the Gulf of Oman as part of Cougar 13, which is the annual workout of the Royal Navy's rapid reaction force.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's busiest shipping routes and, at its narrowest point, is only 21 miles wide. Over 20% of the worlds petroleum passes through this waterway.

HMS Illustrious's Navigation Officer, Lieutenant Commander Richard Hewitt said, "This is the second time we have transited the Strait of Hormuz.

"With such a large ship to manoeuvre in such a busy shipping area, we to make sure we remain vigilant to vessels approaching too close."

Aircrafts unique landing on the HMS Illustrious

The MV-22 Osprey coming into land on the HMS Illustrious Credit: Royal Navy
The aircraft lands and takes-off vertically Credit: Royal Navy
Sunset over the Red Sea Credit: Royal Navy

A MV-22 Osprey aircraft has landed on the HMS Illustrious for the first time in six years.

The Osprey is the world's first tilt-rotor aircraft and has a unique way of vertically taking off and landing.

The aircraft is mainly a heavy lift troop carrier and has been deployed in both combat and rescue operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

Six years ago, HMS Illustrious became the first non-US ship to fly an Osprey and was pleased to welcome one back on board.

The visit gave the aircrafts crew a good chance to demonstrate its flexibility.

HMS Illustrious is currently part of the Response Task Force Group on Cougar 13 operating in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Horn of Africa.

Helicopter carrier refuelled at sea

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HMS Illustrious and FS Somme Credit: Royal Navy

Royal Navy helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious has held a Replenishment-At-Sea (RAS) with a French tanker as she continues her passage through the Mediterranean. The Portsmouth-based ship had to travel in close proximity to the FS Somme to allow fuel lines to pass from the tanker to Illustrious.

A delicate operation, this required tight control over the movement of the ship to avoid any stress on the lines and breaking the procedure.

Usually practised by the Royal Navy with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, this saw international partnership working in action, with the sailors overcoming any language barriers to get the job done.

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Missiles fired in "Lusty" exercise

Hellfire Apache
A Hellfire missile fire by an Apache on exercise in the Mediterranean Credit: Royal Navy

The Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious has been helping test fire anti-tank missiles in the western Mediterranean.

Two Apaches from 656 Squadron AAC were launched from the deck to fire live Hellfire missiles.

The two gunships sent five Hellfire missiles into specialist targets up to 2.5km (1.5 miles) away, obliterating them and sending debris and shrapnel spinning across the sea.

The Hellfire was used extensively in last year’s Libyan campaign – the first time the gunships had been used in anger at sea.

In spring, HMS Illustrious carried out the first live Hellfire firings in UK waters and now has repeated that exercise in the Med.

The firings allowed Illustrious’ specialist air engineer weapons supply team to practise safely moving the missiles from the magazine to be loaded onto helicopters.

Ready for take off at sunrise Credit: Royal Navy
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