This deployment is a hugely important task for the Royal Navy, and for Defence, demonstrating our ability to deploy and operate worldwide

Commodore Andrew Burns OBE, the Commander Amphibious Task Group

Destroyers and frigates from the Royal Navy, US and French Navies will also join the force at various points during the next few months. The Lead Commando Group, from 42 Commando Royal Marines from Bickleigh, will be embarked together with a formidable air group consisting of Chinook, Merlin and Apache attack helicopters.  

As well as the staff of Commander Amphibious Task Group, the Commander of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, Brigadier Jim Morris DSO, is also embarked in Bulwark, together with his deployable headquarters staff.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Johnson Royal Marines, the Commander of the Joint Helicopter Force embarked in the Task Group, said, “the size of the air group, and the variety of modern helicopters contained therein, is what makes this joint helicopter force unique; our modern Merlin helicopters, along with Chinook and Apache aircraft, manned by aircrew and ground staff from all three Services, makes this an important step towards the Joint Force 2025 envisaged in the recent Strategic Defence and Security Review.”

HMS Bulwark herself will depart UK waters with nearly 100 extra Royal Marines from across 3 Commando Brigade – together with an additional staff of over 150 specialist personnel required to command the Task Group and its activities.  

In preparation for deployment, the ship has loaded her decks with Viking armoured all-terrain tracked vehicles, as well as numerous support vehicles, to complement the ship’s unique landing craft and other amphibious capabilities.  

Elsewhere in the Task Group, over 750 Royal Marines, British Army soldiers, RAF airmen, and civilians and officers from a range of nations, as well as additional vehicles, aircraft, weapons, and specialist watercraft, have embarked in each of the four vessels to provide the Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) the maximum possible additional fighting edge.

Captain Theo Hogg, Office Commanding Landing Craft for 4 Assault Squadron Royal Marines, said, “having such a wide array of amphibious shipping, and a fully embarked Commando Group, provides the Ministry of Defence with numerous options in a dangerous world.  As we have always done, the Royal Marines, and Royal Navy, is standing by to do what is required, when it is required.”

Reflecting on the importance of the first Joint Expeditionary Force (Maritime) Task Group deployment, Commodore Burns, the Commander Amphibious Task Group, said, “This deployment is a hugely important task for the Royal Navy, and for Defence, demonstrating our ability to deploy and operate worldwide, engaging closely with our allies and standing ready for whatever a deployment to an area of strategic interest to the UK can present.  I know that all of the units under my command are ready to make the most of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”