HMS Bulwark, Portuguese Marines Conduct Training Exercise
HMS Bulwark sailed from Lisbon with Portuguese Marines embarked for a short training exercise in order to share knowledge, experience and skills of amphibious operations.
The 38 Portuguese Marines received a demonstration on the equipment used by HMS Bulwark’s Assault Squadron Royal Marines (ASRM), including the Rapid Beach Profiling System (RBPS) used by the Amphibious Beach Unit (Light).
The RBPS allows a small team to covertly assess the suitability of a beach prior to the larger landing craft of the Royal Marines landing force and assault vehicles, such as Viking, arriving.
As well as a brief from the ASRM the Portuguese Marines were given an insight to 3 Commando Brigade, currently deployed with HMS Bulwark. The training session culminated in a Troop Beach Assault by two landing craft.
Lieutenant Mario Vilaca, of the Portuguese Navy, said of the training session:
“It has been a very fruitful day because this has been a great opportunity to improve our amphibious knowledge.”
Lt Col Richard Maltby Royal Marines, Officer in Command of 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, said:
“It was clear that the Portuguese Marines, drawn from several different Units, thoroughly enjoyed the day and gained a good understanding of the tactics, techniques and procedures that both 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines and HMS Bulwark employ when landing Embarked Military Forces on a beach.
“It is hoped that we can work with the Portuguese Marines at some point in the future to better understand their amphibious capability, equipment and exchange ideas about developing joint procedures.
“In the meantime, we look forward to the rest of the Cougar 13 and the further exchange opportunities with other Nations’ amphibious forces.”
HMS Bulwark is the Flag Ship to the Response Force Task Group (RFTG), commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine Royal Navy.
The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, made up of ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at five days notice to act in response to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.
Cougar 13 deployment will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf and Horn of Africa.
The deployment allows the UK’s maritime assets to exercise with multinational forces in the Gulf region, enhancing interoperability, testing its flexibility, to practice working with partner forces and to promote the UK’s interests overseas, demonstrating the Government’s long-term commitment to security in the Middle East.
HMS Bulwark will shortly be taking part in exercise Albanian Lion in the Adriatic where she will work alongside HMS Illustrious as well as RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay as well as members of the Albanian Armed Forces.
Press Release, August 26, 2013; Image: Royal Navy