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Navy Exercises Amphibious Force in Cyprus

HMS Bulwark on Exercise Cyprus Wader
HMS Ocean and HMS Talent on Exercise Cyprus Wader
The Royal Navy Hones Amphibious Skills in Major Exercise in Cyprus

Thousands of Royal Navy sailors, Royal Marines and airmen are taking part in a major amphibious exercise in Cyprus, as part of one of the navy’s largest deployments of recent years.

Exercise Cyprus Wader will put some of the Royal Navy’s biggest ships through their paces, rehearsing the projection of Land Forces and their equipment ashore using both surface and aviation assets.

Exercise Cyprus Wader is focusing on a series of amphibious beach ‘raids’, led by 40 Commando Royal Marines. The ships involved, including two of the Royal Navy’s largest ships, HMS Bulwark and HMS Ocean, have rehearsed their entry into this maritime ‘theatre’, and are now concentrating their efforts on inserting the Royal Marines onto land.

Royal Navy divers are also being exercised as they facilitate beach reconnaissance and clearance.

Exercise Cyprus Wader forms part of the six month multi-national deployment TAURUS 09 which sailed from the UK in February, bound for the Far East. Commanded by Royal Navy Commodore Peter Hudson CBE ADC, Commander UK Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) from his flagship HMS Bulwark, the deployment 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 anti-submarine warfare, as well as rehearsing amphibious warfare procedures, such as with Exercise Cyprus Wader.

Speaking as the exercise got underway, Commodore Hudson said:

“Amphibious operations are extremely complex evolutions that require considerable planning and slick execution.  The RN excels at this type of work because we seize every opportunity to keep skills and competencies fresh but it does require space, both afloat and ashore, to conduct that multi discipline, joint training.  The facilities in Cyprus allow us to check all our processes before we embark on bigger exercises later this month.  This is particularly important for 40Cdo who are re-invigorating their core skills afloat after a recent operational tour in Afghanistan.”

The Task Group comprises 12 ships, including support ships from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary, a US Navy destroyer and a French Navy frigate, a nuclear powered submarine, Royal Marines from 40 Commando Royal Marines, Royal Navy divers, 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.

On completion of Exercise Cyprus Wader, part of the Task Group will continue 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.

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 Task Group is expected to return to the UK in August 2009.