Royal Navy helicopters have been stirring up the dust of the Mojave desert in the largest live-firing exercise the Royal Marines have been involved in during 2015.
Exercise Black Alligator took place at an area called 29 Palms, roughly half way between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Three Merlin Mk3 helicopters, about to move to the Commando Helicopter Force’s home at RNAS Yeovilton in Somerset, have been patrolling the skies over California, along with American Black Hawks.
The exercise also included Royal Marines from 29 Commando, based at Bickleigh, near Plymouth.
The helicopters flew them into action as troops, artillery, mortars and battle tanks moved in to attack a 1,000-building mock town in a nine-day ‘battle’ .
These stunning pictures were captured by Commando Helicopter Force photographer Mez Merrill.