Atlantic deployment warships return
Two warships have arrived back in UK waters following a four-month deployment in the western Atlantic.
With grey skies overhead, the Portsmouth-based aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and Type 42 destroyer HMS Liverpool docked in the Hampshire harbour to cheers from up to 600 well-wishers who came to see the 650 British sailors arrive home.
The deployment of the Carrier Strike Task Group involved a total of around 2,000 UK, US and French personnel on board the two ships along with a number of others, plus the French submarine FS Perle and Harrier GR9 jets and Merlin, Sea King and Lynx helicopters.
The mission, known as Exercise Auriga 2010, was designed to demonstrate the UK's ability to deploy, operate and sustain a task group out of area for a prolonged period.
It focused on a series of large-scale multi-national exercises hosted by the US and Canadian navies, with the principal aim of enhancing the task group's operational capability.
During the deployment sailors also took part in celebrations such as presenting the carrier to the Queen at the Canadian Navy's centennial international fleet review, and hosted dignitaries including David Cameron and First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope.
Commanding Officer of HMS Ark Royal, Captain John Clink, said: "Ark Royal as the Carrier Strike Group Flagship has had a successful deployment and it is thanks to the hard work of the ship's company that we have achieved so much.
"Flying from the sea is complex, exciting and takes a great deal of teamwork and effort.
"I think we can be justifiably proud of a job well done as we strive to prove and improve our capabilities.
"All very fitting for a ship which celebrates her silver jubilee this year."