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UK MoD - Royal Navy task group flexes its muscles in the Mediterranean

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: 18 March, 2009  (New Product)
Under the clear blue skies of the Mediterranean, the eleven ships of the Royal Navy's TAURUS 09 deployment line up, led by the Flagship HMS Bulwark.
The Task Group sailed from the UK in February. It aims to maintain the Royal Navy's fighting capability as well as develop the UK's capacity to operate with key partners and allies from NATO countries and other nations, enhancing interoperability and demonstrating the UK's commitment to the stability and security of the Mediterranean, Middle East and South East Asia. In exercising its ability to deploy globally, the Task Group is conducting a wide range of activities, including maritime security operations, and exercising amphibious and anti-submarine warfare.

Speaking from his

Flagship, Commodore Peter Hudson, Commander UK Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) said:

'Amphibious operations are extremely complex and require considerable planning and slick execution, something that the Royal Navy excels at. We seize every opportunity to keep ourselves fresh and the space, both afloat and ashore, that something like TAURUS give us, is vital. This kind of multi-discipline, joint training is particularly important for 40 Commando who are re-sharpening their skills afloat after their recent operational tour in Afghanistan.'

Under the command of Commodore Peter Hudson, the Task Group comprises 9 ships, including a US Navy destroyer, one nuclear powered submarine, Royal Marines from 40 Commando in Taunton, the Fleet Diving Unit, Assault Squadron Royal Marines from Plymouth, elements of 820 and 857 Naval Air Squadrons (NAS) from RNAS Culdrose and support helicopters from RNAS Yeovilton and RAF Odiham.

French navy ship Dupleix departed the Task Group today after a successful three week integration period. TAURUS 09 will be joined by ships, troops and aircraft from other nations as it transits towards South East Asia.

At its height, 3,300 personnel will take part in the 20,400 mile round-trip deployment, interacting, training and building relations with 17 nations.

TAURUS 09 is split into two phases:

The current Phase One involves amphibious training with nations in the Mediterranean. A WADER exercise has just been successfully completed in Cyprus where the amphibious ships of the Task Group rehearsed the insertion of land forces ashore.

Phase Two will see a reduced Task Group deploy through the Suez Canal, culminating in a multi-national training package in the primary jungles of Brunei. Riverine training will also be conducted with the Bangladeshi Navy, the first such interaction in more than a decade.

The Task group will remain available for a range of potential maritime security missions such as delivering humanitarian aid, disaster relief, counter narcotic and counter piracy tasks.

The Task Group is expected to return in August 2009.

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