UK, France launch tri-service amphibious drill Catamaran 2018

Royal Navy landing ship RFA Lyme Bay on June 1 joined the French helicopter carrier BPC Tonnerre in the French port city of La Rochelle, in the Bay of Biscay, to embark an expeditionary force for the amphibious exercise Catamaran 2018.

Illustration. Photo: French Navy

In addition to the two countries’ navy and marine forces, the exercise will see the participation of army and air force personnel from both countries.

The two-week exercise is aimed at further developing the Franco-British Combined Joint Expeditionary Force conceived following the 2010 Lancaster House Treaty.

Some 2,000 personnel and 14 warships from the UK and France will form Task Group 471.01 which will be commanded by Rear Admiral Olivier Lebas and Brigadier General Pierre Schill.

BPC Tonnerre will serve as command ship for the drill in which French and UK marines will storm beaches in the Gulf of Morbihan, Brittany. A total of 140 vehicles will be launched from the well decks of Tonnerre and RFA Lyme Bay during the assault, according to the French Navy.

Catamaran 2018 is one of the major exercises aimed at developing the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force and enabling it to reach full operational capacity by 2020.