British, French Navies Plan Major Exercise

British, French Navies Plan Major Exercise

The Royal Navy’s key deployment of 2012 – which will see the UK Response Force Task Group (UK RFTG) head to the Mediterranean – is due to join forces with the FS Charles de Gaulle and her carrier battlegroup for an exercise that will highlight co-operation between the two navies.

The link up was agreed by the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, and his French counterpart, Amiral Bernard Rogel, who have met twice recently – once in Paris and once at the US Navy-led International Sea Power Symposium on Rhode Island –  to formally review progress made since the signing of the UK-France treaty last year.

The two admirals said that maritime operations off Libya this year had demonstrated the significant progress already made in developing cooperation and interoperability between the two navies.

In addition to the international effort in the Gulf of Sirte, 2011 has seen the Cougar 11 Task Group – the first test of the UK RFTG since it was formed under last year’s Defence Review – work with the French patrol ship FS Commandant Birot, while just this month assault ship HMS Bulwark hosted 130 troops from 2nd Marine Infantry Regiment (2RIMa), plus all their equipment, for the latest Joint Warrior exercise in northwest Scotland.

In the two recent meetings, Admiral Stanhope and Amiral Rogel decided that the major assets of both navies should make ‘maximum use’ of working together as the two navies look to create a Combined Joint Expeditionary Force by the mid-decade – and that much of the foundations for such a force have already been laid.

The coming years will see an increasing number of British sailors and marines trading places with the French counterparts as part of the Personnel Exchange Programme designed to improve the understanding of the respective navies so they can work together more effectively.

Source: mod, October 28, 2011