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What is TAURUS 09?

TAURUS 09 is a routine deployment of the Royal Navy’s Amphibious Task Group, taking in the Mediterranean, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Far East. 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 those areas. The Task Group will conduct a wide range of activities, including maritime security operations, and exercising amphibious and anti-submarine warfare.

Who’s taking part?

The Task Group sailed from the UK in February, comprising 12 ships, including a US Navy destroyer and a French Navy frigate, a nuclear powered submarines, 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, 847 NAS and Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) Sea Kings based in Yeovil and Support Helicopter Force Chinooks from 18 Squadron, RAF Odiham. It 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. The deployment has now entered Phase Two, after completing a successful series of amphibious and anti-submarine warfare packages in the Mediterranean. Whilst HMS Argyll, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Fort Austin headed back to the UK and FNS Dupleix returned to France, the other units transited the Suez Canal for the Red Sea. The reduced Task Group will split in the Gulf of Aden, with HMS Ocean, HMS Talent, USS Mitscher, RFA Wave Ruler and HMS Portland conducting a package of Integrated Underwater Warfare training, before heading to Singapore and Malaysia for an exercise under the Five Powers Defence Agreement. HMS Bulwark and RFA Lyme Bay will push through to Bangladesh for riverine training with the Bangladeshi forces, the first such interaction in more than a decade. The Task Group will merge once more for the concluding element of the deployment, a multi-national amphibious exercise which will see the maritime units insert 40 Commando Royal Marines into the primary jungles of Brunei.

What are amphibious operations?

As well as operating in ‘blue’ or deep water areas, much of what the Royal Navy does is projection of maritime power ashore – that is to say, operations in more shallow, inshore waters, inserting troops (Royal Marines) and fire power ashore from the sea. TAURUS 09 will enable us to practice this in many different environments.

UK Units
Landing Platform Dock (LPD) HMS Bulwark
Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH) HMS Ocean
Type 23 Frigate HMS Argyll
Type 23 Frigate HMS Somerset
RFA Mounts Bay
RFA Lyme Bay
RFA Wave Ruler
40 Cdo Royal Marines
539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines
820 Naval Air Squadron
815 Naval Air Squadron
Fleet Diving Unit
Commando Helicopter Force
RAF Support Helicopter Force Chinooks (link here to RAF website)

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