Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins LVO KCMG, visited HMS Bulwark while the warship transited the Red Sea on route to the Gulf.
It was Sir John’s first overnight visit to a Royal Navy warship at sea but it gave him the opportunity to see the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group (RFTG) running at its usual operational tempo and to gain an overview of the effects which it can deliver for the United Kingdom.
Sir John is the third British Ambassador to call on Commodore Paddy McAlpine, Commander United Kingdom Task Group, since his eight ship force deployed from Plymouth in August on Cougar 13.
HMA to Albania Mr Nick Cannon and HMA to Greece Mr John Kittmer have also enjoyed discovering the options and choices which the RFTG can deliver for UK Defence.
Commodore McAlpine and his Staff are currently undertaking exercise Red Alligator with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Navy. The three day maritime phase of the exercise has included exchanges of personnel as well as communications and navigation exercises. A replenishment at sea for fuel was also scheduled to take place.
“The Royal Navy is regularly deployed to this region and regularly engages with our maritime partners to continue to develop our understanding of each other’s capability and tactics. We make the very most of each visit and exercise however short. We are not a fleeting presence in Middle East, we intent to remain here for the long term.”
The Cougar 13 deployment will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, Gulf, and Horn of Africa.
It involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine OBE ADC Royal Navy.
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.
Press Release, September 18, 2013; Image: Navy