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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Missiles tested in the Med

HMS Illustrious has been on exercise near Gibraltar.