HMS Bulwark Arrives in The Netherlands
The Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship, HMS Bulwark, has arrived in the Dutch port of Rotterdam to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of the United Kingdom-Netherlands Landing Force (UKNLLF).
The main events during the visit will be a combined amphibious demonstration, highlighting the high level of joint working between Dutch and UK maritime forces.
The close operational relationship will be marked by the signing of a Letter of Intent by Dr Andrew Murrison MP, the UK’s Minister for International Security Strategy and Mrs Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert who is the Dutch Minister of Defence.
The letter will cement commitment to the future of the UKNLLF arrangement.
HMS Bulwark’s Amphibious Operations Officer, Lt Col Richard Maltby Royal Marine, is the head of 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, part of HMS Bulwark’s crew. He said:
“It is great to work with our Dutch colleagues again, this event provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the interoperability of our amphibious capabilities, and allows us to reaffirm the strong relationship our two nations enjoy.”
The UKNLLF was formed in the 1970s between units of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, both operational units that remain fully integrated with each other today.
The UKNLLF is also the only example of a multi-national amphibious unit maintained through permanent cooperation. The close partnership ensures enhanced interoperability and improved collective fighting capability.
The UKNLLF is regularly exercised and was successfully tested only 2 weeks ago off the coast of Scotland, during the largest amphibious landing since operations in Iraq in 2003.
HMS Bulwark is one of the Royal Navy’s two Assault Command and Control ships.
Launched in November 2001 she has a ship’s company of 350, a quarter of whom are made up from 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines (4 ASRM).
In addition the ship can carry up to 200 marines in dedicated accommodation for long periods and another 500 in austere conditions for short periods. Her flight deck can accommodate two Chinook or two Merlin helicopters.
A large floodable dock holds four large landing craft – with another four carried on davits on the ship’s side.
Press Release, May 9, 2013; Image: Royal Navy