Amphibious support ship RFA Lyme Bay has arrived in the Middle East for Saif Sareea 3.
Saif Sareea 3 is the third UK-Oman joint exercise, with the previous 2 taking place in 1986 and 2001. The MoD say that the exercise is the primary the UK armed forces lead exercise this year and the largest joint exercise of its kind in 17 years.
The exercise, culminating in a ‘firepower demonstration’, will test the UK and Sultanate’s ability to operate together in austere conditions through the deployment of a Coalition Joint Task Force.
According to a Royal Navy news release:
“The 16,000-tonne ship has enjoyed an action-packed 5,000-mile journey from Falmouth to the new port of Duqm in Oman, where Britain has permanent facilities to support her naval operations in the region.
The man-made port, which has turned a fishing village into a sizeable town in barely a decade, is the hub of naval operations for Saif Sareea 3, an unfrequent but large-scale Anglo-Omani exercise aimed at testing the two nations’ armed forces ability to fight side-by-side in the unforgiving Middle East environment.
Lyme is packed with equipment, boats, vehicles and numerous personnel from 40 Commando, based near Taunton, the elite 539 Assault Squadron, with its hovercraft and fast Offshore Raiding Craft gunboats, a Wildcat helicopter from 815 Naval Air Squadron, all making for an extra 350 men and women aboard (normally the ship’s company is just 60 strong).”
Captain David Buck RFA, Lyme Bay’s Commanding Officer, said:
“Over recent years, the Bay class have become frequent visitors to Albanian shores which provide an excellent training environment for our forces both at sea and on land.
Albanian Lion 2018 again proved a challenging test and a most valuable amphibious training opportunity. Having made a safe transit through the Suez Canal followed by a brief skirmish with tropical storm Luban, Lyme Bay is well placed for the challenge of Saif Sareea 3.”