Royal Marines based in Plymouth hosted their Swedish counterparts as part of a close working relationship sharing amphibious skills and knowledge. The two parties toured the new centre of amphibious specialists at Royal Marines Tamar in HM Naval Base Devonport.
The most recent joint project has been the trialling of Swedish naval fast patrol boats – the Combat Boat 90 (CB90), by the Royal Marines who have had them on loan since 2011.
Colonel Garth Manger, commanding officer of 1 Assault Group Royal Marines, said:
“The Royal Marines are hugely in debt the Swedish Navy for lending us four of their CB90 Assault Craft. We have been able to test the CB90 in a wide variety of coastal condition.
“In doing so we have learnt a great deal about the type of craft that we need both to support the Royal Navy in providing force protection to the fleet, but also in looking for a replacement for one of our assault craft.
“The CB90 is a great craft and we will be sorry to see them go back home.”
The Swedish delegation was headed by Rear Admiral Andreas Olsson. The aim of the visit was to reciprocate the continued goodwill expressed by Sweden over the course of the loan and to provide an insight into the United Kingdom’s amphibious capability, including how the force protection craft might operate in support of the amphibious fleet.
The UK has enjoyed the load of four CB90 craft since 2011 while the Swedish Armed Forces had loan of two Royal Marine Offshore Raiding Craft (ORC), used by 539 ASRM.
The Royal Marines gained insight into the aspects that CB90 could offer to fulfil the Royal Marines concept for a future force protection craft: low cost and autonomous craft which can be launched from the side of a ship to protect larger ships of a Task Group from enemy fast inshore attack craft.
Any similar boats could also be a replacement for the personnel carrying landing craft. The Royal Navy has yet to choose a final design for its future craft.
The visit was hosted by 1 Assault Group Royal Marines in Devonport and included a trip to 539 Assault Squadron Royal Marines in Turnchapel.
To mark the occasion a regimental dinner was held at the Commando Forces Officers Mess at Royal Marine Barracks Stonehouse in Plymouth.
Previous visits to Sweden have included traditional Swedish/Viking entertainment. By way of reciprocation, the meal was preceded by a performance by Mariners Away.
Naval Today Staff, February 21, 2013; Image: Royal Navy