Building on from last year’s exercise we have enhanced our contribution by providing a larger force comprising fast jets, helicopters, assault boats and armoured personnel carriers for ground manoeuvre and force protection.

Colonel Kevin Oliver, Royal Marines

Colonel Oliver said: “Building on from last year’s exercise we have enhanced our contribution by providing a larger force comprising fast jets, helicopters, assault boats and armoured personnel carriers for ground manoeuvre and force protection.

“We already have reconnaissance teams in place, to as we would in a real life scenario, who will guide in the landing force.”

Once the forces have landed they will push forward through enemy terrain while being supported by the RFTG ships who can sustain them logistically and cover their progress with firepower should that be required.

“Albania has some of the best training areas ever used by our Task Group,” added Col Oliver.

“We are extremely grateful for their use and for the chance to work alongside Albanian Forces, sharing the experience of operations.”

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 RFTG.

This is commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine from the Fleet Flagship HMS Bulwark.

The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, made up of ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at five days notice to act in response to any contingency tasking including humanitarian disaster relief or international military intervention.

Images by L(Phot) Arron Hoare and PO(Phot) Sean Clee