RFA Argus has finally sailed after months alongside at the docks undergoing routine maintenance - and the fitting of a Phalanx closed-in weapons system.

This comprises a radar guided cannon, which can destroy incoming missiles, hostile boats and enemy aircraft.

Aided by three tugs, Argus sailed for trials off Falmouth then on to Lyme Bay to conduct military exercises.

The Government announced that RFA Argus, probably the best known vessel calling at Falmouth, will remain in service beyond 2030 after she was supposed to be decommissioned in 2024. Whether or not the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine, or the strengthening of NATO in Eastern Europe, played a part in the decision is an unknown factor.

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Argus is an aviation training vessel/Primary Casualty Receiving Ship of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

With a 100-bed medical complex on board, she acts as a floating medical facility during times of crisis or war but is not classed as a hospital ship under the Geneva Convention.

A&P Falmouth is responsible for maintaining and supporting Argus, HMS Scott, Lyme Bay, Mounts Bay and Cardigan Bay under the terms of the Future In-Service Support contract which runs until 2028.

The ship is affiliated to Vigo after she rescued 12 Spanish sailors from the Delfin Del Mediterraneo, which sank 248 miles south west of Cape St Vincent in 1998.

Argus raced to the scene and launched her helicopter and, despite waves of up to 40ft, was able to rescue the sailors. The ship received the Silver Medal of Galicia for her crew’s actions.

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Now 50 years old, Argus has a distinguished record since being completed in Italy in 1981 and requisitioned by the MoD for the Falklands War of 1982.

Acquired by the MOD after the conflict she underwent a massive conversion at Belfast before entering service with the RFA.

She has taken part in many operational theatres including first Gulf War in 1991, Bosnia (1993), Kosovo (1999), Sierra Leone (2001), second Gulf War (2003) and off Sierra Leone supporting military personnel sent to help control the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Argus sailed from Falmouth on this mission and returned to a triumphant welcome on her return.