FGS Schleswig Holstein Sails with UK Cougar Task Group
The captain of a German warship has paid a visit to his Royal UK Navy counterparts on board the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark.
German frigate Schleswig Holstein joined the assault ship while on their way to the Gulf as part of Cougar 14 – the annual workout of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group.
Captain Thorsten Geldmacher met with the Commander of the embarked UK Task Force Commodore Jerry Kyd and Commanding Officer of HMS Bulwark Captain Bassett to discuss the forthcoming joint exercises.
Commodore Kyd said: “I am delighted to welcome Captain Thorsten Geldmacher and his frigate, FGS Schleswig Holstein, to the Cougar Task Group as we head to the Gulf for operations and exercises.
“We look forward to sharing expertise and joint experiences with the German in these months ahead and further cementing our relationship with one of our key partner nations.”
Captain Bassett said: “It was a pleasure to welcome Captain Geldmacher on board and it is clear that we are both very much looking forward to operating our ships in partnership together.
“German Frigate Schleswig Holstein brings key capabilities to the Task Group and we’ll be exercising our interoperability extensively through the remainder of the Cougar 14 deployment.”
The Schleswig Holstein will now remain with the Cougar Task Group until they sail back through the Red Sea later this year.
Under Cougar 14 elements of the RFTG deploy to the Mediterranean and Gulf regions, exercising the UK’s maritime assets and demonstrating the Royal Navy’s capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world.
The Task Group will work closely with partner nations, enhancing interoperability, testing its flexibility, promoting the UK’s interests overseas, and demonstrating the Government’s long-term commitment to security and stability throughout the Mediterranean and Gulf regions.
The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.
This could include providing humanitarian aid maritime security operations, Defence international engagement and supporting regional stability.
The last time the Cougar Task Group deployed, HMS Illustrious was activated to sail to the Philippines to carry much needed aid for islands devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in October 2013.
Press Release, September 29, 2014; Image: UK Navy