British ships HMS Albion, HMS Kent, RFA Lyme Bay, RFA Argus and MV Hurst Point have been joined by allied vessels.

Dutch vessel HNLMS Johan De Witt, Danish vessel HDMS Absalon, and Norwegian corvette HNoMS Skjold joined the British ships for Exercise Baltic Protector.

The Royal Navy say that thousands of UK armed forces personnel will take part in the first UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) maritime deployment. At its peak a total of 3,850 sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen will take part in the deployment along with more than 17 naval vessels in the Baltic region.

The MoD said in a statement:

“Established at the 2014 NATO Summit and launched a year later, the JEF became fully operational with the signing of a comprehensive Memorandum of Understanding last year in London.

As an adaptable high-readiness force that can be stood up anywhere, at any time and in any environment, the JEF can cover a range of tasks, including combat operations, deterrence, or humanitarian support.”

The first phase of Baltic Protector is an exercise in the western Baltic and eastern North Sea, before the task group joins the US-led Exercise Baltops, say the Royal Navy.

For the final phase of the deployment, the task group will focus on amphibious operations within the eastern Baltic, where the ships and landing forces will conduct a series of raids.

Captain Peter Laughton, the Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said in a news release:

“I am really proud of the work my team has completed to prepare HMS Albion for this unique and exciting deployment. This deployment represents the largest UK-led operational deployment of a military force in Europe for decades and demonstrates our ability to react quickly and decisively to any crisis in the world.”

HMS Albion carries the joint staff who will command the deployment

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Cam

Im surprised there’s no mine-hunters. But it’s great to see hurst point being used. I sometimes forget about those 4 ships, we should paint them grey and put them in the RFA, how much more would that really cost?!. Anyway the amphibious operations Britain can carry out are second best on earth, aren’t they? I know china will be pretty close now and will overtake the UK. But I’m not sure if France can land a bigger amphibious Force.

Gavin Gordon

And Argus. Could be mine warfare opportunities provided by locals

Lusty

An often forgotten ship which has proven her worth countless times. A fantastic asset for the fleet.

Had the pleasure of visiting HMS Penzance this weekend, a very fine vessel indeed. (she’s named after my hometown, so of course she is!)

dave12

China have has 6 type 071 amphibious transport dock at 25,000 tons with two more being bulit so I would say we are the 3rd best.

Cam

Yeah ok, china builds them quick….

Dave

Numbers is but part of the equation of “best”

Daniele Mandelli

Need the RFA crew to man them first. They provide a useful service as is I feel. 3 Commando is a Brigade in name only now. The RM may be a Corps but sadly we cannot land more than one Amphibious Group routinely. That is a single Commando with reinforcing elements of UKLFCSG ( 30 Cdo ) 29 RA, 24 RE, 539 Sqn and the CLR. 2 Commandos are available for amphibious operations and the third is used for other specialist tasks. Ours are certainly still up amongst the more capable. No point putting a rank on things. Numbers aside… Read more »

Cam

Yeah the Littoral strike ships look promising Daniele M8. Can’t wait to see what like they are..,,???

Lusty

Part of me would also wish to advocate getting Bulwark up and running, partially considering the current amphibious assets are finding themselves increasingly stretched. Cam raises an interesting point.I’ve often thought that if the Government want to say they are ‘increasing ship numbers’, they could just paint them grey, strap a few 20mms on, and hey-ho. Okay, that’s a simplistic approach, it’s obviously alot more complex than that. However, the RFA still has three vessels alongside due to manpower issues, so adding more vessels to their fleet, whilst needed, is unsustainable until it improves. There’s a good bet that maybe… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli

There were 6 Points once?

Would 2 be sufficient, despite our reduced armoured and Strike Brigades? 1 of them sails to the South Atlantic I believe.

Unless they use the 2 Points discarded in SDSR2010.

Lusty

Yes, there were once 6. The 2 which were sold were never actually used for MOD duties I believe, or at least, one was very seldom used (just looked and yes, Beach Head never made an MOD sailing, whilst Longstone only made three). They had always been contracted out, so their disposure wasn’t too much of an issue. Remember, if we ever need ro-ro’s, we can always take some up from trade in a national emergency. I’m pretty sure both now have been renamed: Beachy Head to Williamsborg and Longstone to Finnmerchant, operating in Sweden. If they will be able… Read more »

Martin

Not sure we will ever have the need to rountinley land more that one amphibious ready group. Officially this is the extent our our amphibious capability but in 1982 we sent almost a division to the other side of the world to launch an amphibious assault on a heavily defended target. In 1982 we had but a fraction of the amphibious capability we have today. While the US Army and USMC might have well defined roles I don’t think the British army has any issue getting its feet wet for an amphibious operation.

Daniele Mandelli

Agree Martin. In a non routine situation like that the gloves are off and all sorts of assets get involved.

Which is why the know how and logistics must be in place, and enablers like 17 PMR RLC, and their reservist counterpart 165 PMR.

A lot more goes into an amphibious operation than just the LPD’s. There was an excellent article on this on Think Defence once.