Amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark will sail today to lead a major operational deployment to the Adriatic and Arabian Seas.

The warship has spent the last four weeks preparing for the Joint Expeditionary Force deployment.

The Joint Expeditionary Force is a British task force which will consist of forces from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

The Joint Expeditionary Force is a British task force which will consist of, as necessary, forces from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

HMS Ocean is to lead the force to the Mediterranean in the autumn, the deployment is to replace the previous COUGAR deployments.

The UK will be deploying the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force.

The aim of the JEF is to create a UK military framework, focused around its existing and upcoming British high readiness capabilities, that its partners can join up with. While it is the UK’s intention to fully integrate the UK’s JEF partners’ contributions before 2018, the JEF could deploy immediately if required. It is designed with the following requirements in mind:

“a. act jointly and with allies, but able to act alone”
“b. be well equipped, but not tied to platforms”
“c. adapt as the environment changes”

The UK’s contribution will include the lead commando, airborne, armoured, aviation, air and maritime task groups.

Captain James Parkin, the ship’s commanding officer of said:

“My sailors and Royal Marines have put everything into making sure that Bulwark is ready to deploy and I am proud of all the work they have put in to reach this stage.

I am confident that my people and my ship are ready to meet any challenge thrown at us in our demanding and exciting future programme, and we look forward to embarking the Commander of the Amphibious Task Group, and his staff, to lead the British Armed Forces’ major operational deployment of 2016.”

Petty Officer Dave Furner, one of the Weapon Engineering Technicians on board said:

“It is only by firing the weapons and loading the systems in peacetime, that we know that we will be ready, in case they need to be used in wartime.”

The ship is now embarking over 250 additional sailors, marines, soldiers and civilians, who will spend the next few months on board.

The ship will return to the UK around Christmas.

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