1,500 UK maritime forces take part in exercise with Albania

Sailors and Royal Marines have been in action on land, in the air and at sea, during a joint exercise with Albania.

Around 1,500 UK military personnel joined Albanian forces for Exercise Albanian Lion, part of the Royal Navy’s annual deployment of a crisis-focused amphibious task group, the Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime 16 (JEF(M)16).

HMS Ocean and Bulwark, along with RFA Mounts Bay and supported by the MV Eddystone, took part in a number of serials in the Adriatic.

A Tailored Air Group made up of Chinook, Merlin, Wildcat and Apache helicopters, and lead elements of a Royal Marine Commando group, Royal Navy divers and Commando engineers as well as Army and Royal Air Force personnel also took part in the exercise.

I continue to be hugely impressed by the ingenuity, resilience and professional dedication shown by every sailor, marine, soldier and airman under my command in meeting the objectives for this deployment.

Commodore Andrew Burns

JEF(M)16 demonstrates the ability the UK has to deploy highly effective maritime forces at short notice, anywhere in the world.

Albanian Lion is part of a series of demanding exercises in the Adriatic and the Gulf, reinforcing the UK’s relationships with allies and ensuring that the task group is ready to respond if called upon.

 Commodore Andrew Burns, Commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG), said: “I continue to be hugely impressed by the ingenuity, resilience and professional dedication shown by every sailor, marine, soldier and airman under my command in meeting the objectives for this deployment.”

HMS Bulwark’s commanding officer, Captain James Parkin, said: “Albanian Lion has been a challenging and fascinating test of the nation’s amphibious ability, in a realistic environment, and again proved the flexibility and utility of this vital war-winning capability.”

Albanian troops recently participated in Exercise Venerable Gauntlet in Germany, which brought together 3,000 troops from 14 NATO nations in another major exercise before the UK takes its leading role in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2017.