Marines from 45 Commando have been taking part in one of the most ambitious NATO amphibious exercises in a decade.
Navy and marine forces from 19 NATO nations have been working together on Trident Juncture 2015, the Alliance’s biggest and most ambitious exercise in more than a decade.
More than 70 ships and submarines, maritime patrol aircraft and 3000 marines are taking part in the maritime portion of the exercise taking place off the coast of Portugal, Spain and Italy and at NATO’s Maritime Command in Northwood, Middlesex.
Representing the UK are Her Majesty’s Ships Ocean and Bulwark with embarked Royal Marines from 45 Commando and members of the US Marine Corps.
Also onboard are Wildcat helicopters from 847 Naval Air Squadron, Merlin Mk2 from 814 Naval Air Squadron and Chinooks from 27 Squadron RAF.
Until now they have been rehearsing the drills they will use to deliver 45 Commando Royal Marines and the US Marine Corps to the heart of the action – but with the exercise now fully underway those drills are being put to the test.
Vice Admiral Ian Corder, the UK’s Military representative to NATO and the EU, said: “Trident Juncture is the biggest and most ambitious NATO exercise in more than a decade, focused on exercising crisis response, collective defence, and helping to shape the future adaptation and posture of the alliance.”
“I am delighted the UK personnel will be playing such a major part in this key undertaking alongside our allies and partners. It will be a clear demonstration of the UK’s unwavering commitment to NATO solidarity and security.”
The maritime part of Trident Juncture tests multiple warfare disciplines at sea including: amphibious landings in four locations, special operations forces activities, maritime patrol aircraft sorties, submarine warfare and coastal training events.
The exercise, involving 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations, is also the final ‘tick’ that clears the Royal Navy’s Maritime Battle Staff to command the Naval element on the NATO Response Force in 2016.