Commander Maritime Operations visits personnel in the Gulf

A Senior Royal Navy Officer has visited Bahrain where he met the men and women fighting against terrorism and drug traffickers while maintaining security in the Gulf region.

Commander Maritime Operations, Rear Admiral Robert Tarrant (COMOPS) toured the new United Kingdom Maritime Component Command (UKMCC) Headquarters before visiting deployed UK warships and then the USS Harry S Truman and the French Aircraft Carrier FS Charles de Gaulle.

UKMCC commands Royal Navy warships, aircraft, and over 1,000 naval personnel operating in the Gulf down as far as Diego Garcia with one Type 45 Destroyer, a Type 23 Frigate, four minehunters and two Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) support ships.

Adm Tarrant spoke with personnel at the UKMCC headquarters about the delivery of operational support and saw first-hand how they cover some four million square miles of sea.

This strengthening of allied relationships improves training, and enhances our collective capability.

Lieutenant Barry Crosswood RN

Then Rear Admiral Tarrant took to the air to visit both UK and coalition partner units deployed in the Gulf. 

First he visited the US Aircraft Carrier USS Harry S Truman before transferring to French Aircraft Carrier FS Charles de Gaulle, where he was briefed on the role of the UK in the multi-national coalition dedicated to defeating Daesh.

Continuing his visit, Admiral Tarrant flew onto HMS Defender, which is now at the forefront of the joint operation and fully integrated into coalition air operations over Iraq and Syria meaning team members were able to brief the Admiral on the complexities and demonstrate the high levels of expertise a Type 45 provides.

Commander Stephen Higham, Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, said: “It was a golden opportunity to demonstrate to COMOPS the Type 45’s theatre-wide battle-winning capability.

“Supporting his visit to two carriers on the same day neatly demonstrates HMS Defender’s role of providing air Command and Control and theatre defence across Combined Task Forces in the Gulf.”

Operating in close proximity to other ships at high speed as part of the Carrier Strike Group demands sound navigation and absolute concentration from the ship’s Bridge team.

Navigating Officer Lieutenant Barry Crosswood said: “Working as part of an international Task Group is becoming more prevalent as we work closely with our international allies to achieve our shared objectives.

“This strengthening of allied relationships improves training, and enhances our collective capability.”

Following the visit Admiral Tarrant said he was pleased with the operation in Bahrain and the Royal Navy’s contribution to the region.

He added: “It is good to refresh and understand the operational theatre from the view of the front line from a full command perspective.

“I’ve been really pleased with what I have seen. The professionalism and perseverance of our men and women in this part of the Middle East is exceptional.”