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HMS Ocean
Royal Marines Beach Landing
Royal Marines Commando

Amphibious operations involve the projection of power by a maritime force from the sea to the shore. In order to be effective, The Royal Navy must be able to rapidly deploy amphibious forces that can directly influence events on land.

The United Kingdom Amphibious Force (UKAF) provides a worldwide, balanced and independent expeditionary capability. It can sail early with a high profile media campaign or be sent without publicity if political understatement is required. The force is not reliant on rights of access and does not need to enter national territorial waters. It can loiter out to sea and can place troops on a hostile shore at a place and time of its choice. It is equally suited to warfare or humanitarian work and can operate without re-supply for up to 30 days.

The key to any amphibious operation is the force it deploys. In UK terms this will be in the form of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and its associated Commando units (40 ,42 ,45 Commando). These highly trained, elite soldiers are able to operate in the frozen wastes of the Arctic or the jungles of the world.

Once ashore support for the landing force is provided by integral elements of the brigade in specialist areas such as:

  • Reconnaissance
  • Special Forces
  • Transport
  • Medical
  • Logistics
  • Signals

However, amphibious operations are much more than simply putting forces on to a beach. The Royal Navy's modern-day amphibious capability involves the use of specialist aircraft and landing craft as well as the ships themselves.

The landing ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark provide the backbone of this capability along with HMS Ocean the Royal Navy's Commando Helicopter Carrier. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary provides the remainder of the UK's amphibious capability consisting of Landing Ships, bulk cargo transport and a casualty receiving ships.