International partnerships

As the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK has responsibilities towards its allies and partners. But Britain also has global ambitions – namely to protect the seaways underpinning the country’s prosperity. The Royal Navy plays a crucial role in fostering these enduring and lasting alliances with other nations.


Explore the way we foster international partnerships.

Reassuring our allies

The global trade Britain relies on also depends on the cooperation and goodwill of others. When tensions arise, our presence helps maintain stability by reassuring the powers involved – containing situations before they develop.

Sharing knowledge

Sharing expertise, resources and knowledge is key to a harmonious, globalised economy. Sometimes we help and train our partners and allies. Other times we benefit from their experience. This is central to strengthening bonds between nations. 

Building trust

Our allies and dependents rely on us to help promote stability in their region. And, in turn, they support the UK’s strategic goals. To achieve this we deploy our forces globally. So we can be wherever we’re needed, as quickly as possible. 

Global reach

With the UK maintaining a host of international diplomatic relationships, the Royal Navy needs to be a team player. So we protect the resources that fuel our economy’s engine – and engender goodwill among allies, partners and other nations. 

operations Rim of the Pacific

Twenty-two nations, 49 surface ships, 6 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating. Units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States are involved.

operations Operation Sophia

Operation Sophia is the EU naval operation against human smugglers in the Mediterranean. Ships will be able to board, search, seize and divert vessels suspected of being used for human smuggling or trafficking on the high seas, in line with international law.

operations Atlantic Patrol Tasking

Ships and units on Atlantic Patrol Tasking provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British regional interests and maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic.

operations Operation Atalanta

EU NAVFOR operates in an Area of Operations covering the Southern Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and a large part of the Indian Ocean, including the Seychelles, Mauritius and Comoros. A significant objective of Operation Atalanta is the deterrence and disruption of acts of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas. Warships apprehend suspected pirates following intelligence reports of pirate activity or sightings by merchant vessels and MPRAs.

operations Exercise Baltops

Exercise BALTOPS is hosted by the Commander, United States Naval Forces Europe and aims to improve maritime security in the Baltic Sea through partnership working and the sharing of resources.

operations Operation Gritrock

The UK armed forces played a pivotal role in delivering British support as they worked with the government of Sierra Leone to tackle the crisis. Using British expertise and local building contractors, the UK committed to support 700 new beds in Ebola treatment facilities. This package supported the country’s stretched public health services in containing the disease by helping up to nearly 8,800 patients over a 6-month period.

operations Operation Recsyr

The Danish, Norwegian and British Task Group works alongside a Russian and Chinese Task Group to provide maritime force protection to the Danish and Norwegian merchant vessels tasked with transporting the chemical substances and weapons out of Syria for destruction.

operations Exercise Trident Juncture

Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will be held through October and November, predominantly in, over and on the seas around Portugal, Spain and Italy. It is one of a series of long-planned exercises to ensure that NATO Allies are ready to deal with any emerging crisis, from any direction, and that they are able to work effectively with partners in tackling any crisis.

operations Standing NATO Maritime Group 1

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 is a multinational, integrated maritime force - made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team - that is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions.

operations Maritime Security

British ships and units are committed to operations in the Mediterranean. Operations focus on maritime security, reassurance and wider regional engagement to build regional maritime capability as well as providing humanitarian assistance as required.

operations Standing NATO Maritime Group 2

Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 is a multinational, integrated maritime force - made up of vessels from various allied nations, training and operating together as a single team - that is permanently available to NATO to perform a wide range of tasks, from participating in exercises to crisis response and real world operational missions.

operations Surveying the Ocean

Hydrographic ships work in a variety of sea areas to gather and process hydrographic and oceanographic data for planning and operational purposes. In addition this data will be dispatched to the UK Hydrographic Office for analysis and inclusion into navigational charts and other navigational safety publications. The ships also closely monitor other vessels whilst deployed and deterring any potential illegal activity.

operations Cold Weather Training

Cold Weather Training is a multinational exercise led by the Norwegian Armed Forces.  

It is vital that the Royal Navy maintains its amphibious capability in a cold weather environment. 

This training brings together the Royal Marines, assault ships and other Fleet assets, and the helicopters of the Fleet Air Arm.

operations Exercise Clockwork

Exercise Clockwork is the Commando Helicopter Force’s annual chance to test their mettle – and metal – in the harsh winter of northern Norway. Based at a dedicated site on the Royal Norwegian Air Force base at Bardufoss, almost 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Clockwork is as valid a training exercise as it has ever been, because the one great, constant enemy of the military is the environment.

operations NATO Mine Counter-Measures Force

The RN has always supplied an MCMV to one of the two NATO Mine Counter-Measures Squadrons. These are six-month deployments as part of the NATO Standing MCM Groups and will generally be around the coasts of Northern Europe or the Mediterranean depending upon the squadron in which the RN ship is working.

Providing security at sea

The UK has a responsibility to its citizens and its allies to endeavour to safeguard the high seas. This is why the Royal Navy protects home and international waters – making sure the global trade that Britain and the world depend on can proceed without a hitch.

Preventing Conflict

The Royal Navy’s presence on the world stage sends a powerful message that the UK is committed to global affairs and provides a stabilising influence. In this way we prevent conflict on the high seas and protect the flow of international trade on which our nation depends.