British flagship HMS Albion and amphibious vessel RFA Lyme Bay joined up with the ITS Giuseppe Garibaldi and her escorts in the central Mediterranean.

According to the Royal Navy, Albion and Lyme Bay have formed the core of the UK’s Littoral Response Group which has spent the autumn conducting trials and exercises to help shape the amphibious forces and Royal Marines of the future.

“After participation in NATO’s Mediterranean maritime security mission, Operation Sea Guardian, the British ships began the long journey home to the UK – which brought them into contact with the Italian Navy for some combined training. The Garibaldi is home to AV-8B jump jets (the US-built version of the Harrier) which tested their ability to evade the British defences during an air defence exercise.

The carrier group – completed by frigate ITS Carlo Bergamini and tanker Stromboli – conducted combined training with Albion and Lyme Bay, from basic communications through to manoeuvring in close proximity, some helicopter ‘cross-decking’ and an anti-submarine exercise, before a ceremonial sail past prior as the two allies went their separate ways.”

The British vessels are due home later this week.

“They even gave us a package containing a crate of Peroni and freshly-cooked pizzas,” said delighted pilot Captain Tom Arkell RM in a news release.

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AV-8B’s… I remember watch 6 of them in a row taking their bow at Farnborough as they were just entering service with the RAF. That was back in the early ’90’s. Happy memories.

It seems our Littoral Response Group have been very busy indeed on this deployment with lots of high profile exercises and visits. Shape of things to come?

Will be very interesting to see what lessons come out of this trip and how the Royal Marine future force structure shapes up.

Cheers CR

Supportive Bloke

Niggly point: the AV-8B was never in service with RAF.

I think you may mean the GR7-9 series that were in service with RAF?


Isnt that a bit like saying the M4A2 was never in British Service but the Sherman III was?

Sceptical Richard

No, the GR7/9 doesn’t have a radar. The AV8-B does. The air intercept radar from the F16 and it is armed with AIM120 AMRAAM, which the GR7/9 is not.


Back in the day, the radar equiped AV-8B was called the AV-8B Plus. But since all the Harrier operators apart from the UK (I’m not including the FA.2 variant for the RN) acquired that version, it sort of disappeared from nomenclature.


And a lot earlier than the 90’s??


Hi Bill, this is the Harrier II we’re talking about, designated AV-8B in the US and Harrier GR5, later GR7 / GR9 in RAF / FAA service. I assume you are thinking of the original Harrier. In which case, yes, it entered service in the late 60’s. Although the British variants were subtly different, they were developments the American AV-8B which, of course, was itself developed from the original Hawker Siddeley Harrier.

John Clark

Thanks to Cameron’s ridiculous defence cuts……..

Cutting the GR9 was an insane move…..


The second generation Harrier or Harrier II was a BAE built variant of the McDonnell Douglas AV-8B and came in three shades, GR5, GR7 and finally GR9.

Cheers CR


i love the peroni and pizza bit. Hope we responded with a fry up and case of ale


Standards are slipping in the Italian Navy I see….
What happened to a good red?

john melling

I would like to see what they have in mind regarding the Littoral Response Group