HMS Ocean arrives in Toulon

Royal Navy Fleet Flagship HMS Ocean has arrived in Toulon for final preparations ahead of Exercise Corsican Lion.

The exercise, part of the Royal Navy’s Cougar 15 deployment, provides an ideal opportunity to showcase the ship’s role as an amphibious assault ship.

Ocean carries the UK’s very high readiness Lead Commando Group, from 45 Commando Royal Marines, their vehicles and artillery, supported by helicopters from the Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and Royal Air Force.

The Merlin, Wildcat, Apache and Chinook helicopters embarked in the ship will work with the ship’s landing craft, and amphibious shipping from the French Navy, to demonstrate the flexibility and reach that amphibious forces can deliver from the sea.

The Cougar deployment demonstrates the immense flexibility and freedom of movement inherent in deploying Naval forces

Rear Admiral Tony Radakin RN

Rear Admiral Tony Radakin, Commander UK Maritime Forces, is also embarked in HMS Ocean together with his headquarters staff, in preparation for his future role as Commander of the NATO Response Force (Maritime) in 2016.

He said:‘The Cougar deployment demonstrates the immense flexibility and freedom of movement inherent in deploying Naval forces.

“The Cougar task group is in the Mediterranean, fully engaged simultaneously in two complementary exercises, Corsican Lion and Trident Juncture, while poised for whatever the Nation may ask of us.

“The Anglo-French amphibious task group in Corsican Lion is the quintessence of flexibility and reach of Naval forces, delivering security at sea while providing the Government choice in executing its strategy.’