More than 1,000 sailors and Royal Marines are sailing to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea aboard amphibious assault ship HMS Albion, destroyer HMS Dragon and amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay.
The Royal Navy say that while deployed the ships will test the new and experimental Littoral Response Group concept (which replaces the UK’s long-standing Amphibious Task Group) and shape the Future Commando Force and evolution of the Royal Marines into a hi-tech raiding and strike force.
Commodore Rob Pedre, the Commander Littoral Strike Group, was quoted as saying:
“This deployment will provide high-readiness, forward-deployed options, provide strategic reassurance to our allies and partners, deter malevolent actors, strengthen NATO, and conduct wide-ranging defence experimentation. We will test cutting-edge technology and innovative concepts such as the Future Commando Force and the Littoral Strike Force concept to ensure our war-fighting edge in an era of constant competition.”
According to a Royal Navy news release:
“The task group will also support NATO’s Mediterranean security operation Sea Guardian and conduct exercises in Cyprus – Olympus Warrior and Autonomous Advance Force 3, a test of cutting-edge kit and how it can be exploited by commandos to deal with the very latest of threats. And activity in the Black Sea will include a series of training exercises and port visits to demonstrate the UK’s support for regional security and freedom of movement in Black Sea waters.”
The Royal Navy also add that the Future Commando Force will be represented by elements from the specialist raiding units of 47 Commando, Marines of 42 and 40 Commando based in Plymouth and Taunton, and the intelligence experts of 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group (Plymouth), and Wildcat helicopters from the Commando Helicopter Force at RNAS Yeovilton.