HMS Albion has arrived in Oman ready to lead the naval element of the largest combined military exercise for UK forces since 2002.
The MoD say that 4,000 British personnel will be tested in the desert alongside Omani forces in temperatures nudging 40ºC.
Commodore James Parkin said:
“HMS Albion represents the very best of the British Armed Forces – able to deploy globally, crammed to the gunwales with modern weapons and sensors, and capable of putting a potent landing force of commandos from sea onto land, at a time and place of our choosing, without having to ask anyone else’s permission.
Albion also represents the best of Britain too – right now she has a ship’s company of 400 men and women, and 200 additional embarked staff and military forces, drawn from all corners of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, from all backgrounds, ages, races, and religions. And with the enormous flight deck, and the cavernous well dock, full of Royal Marines fighting vehicles and landing craft, her sheer scale is as awe inspiring as to our friends as she is terrifying to our enemies.”
According to a press release:
“The tip of the amphibious spear is provided by the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade and numerous constituent parts from the elite amphibious infantry of 40 Commando (based in Taunton), intelligence and information warfare experts of 30 Commando and gunners of 29 Commando Royal Artillery (both from Plymouth), 24 Commando Royal Engineers and Commando Logistic Regiment (both based at Chivenor in north Devon), landing craft/raiding craft specialists of 539 Assault Squadron (Devonport) and the Dorset-based armour of the Viking Squadron.”
Joining them on the ground will be British armour and infantry. Overhead there will be aerial support courtesy of the RAF, Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm such as Merlin, Chinook, Wildcat and Apache helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command, RAF Typhoon jets and E-3D Sentry aircraft and the host nations own F-16s.