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RN Flotilla 45154692.jpg

Although the majority of the United Kingdom's Royal Navy fleet, unless required, remains training and exercising in and around Home Waters, the Navy has a number of standing commitments, including those held for contingent operations, to provide ships for various missions around the world:

Response Force Task Group

RFTG is a new initiative announced in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and is intended to be the heart of the UK’s maritime contingent capability, held at very high readiness to respond to unexpected global events. The RFTG will be poised to respond to short-notice tasking across a diverse range of defence activities such as non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief, humanitarian aid or amphibious operations.[1]

In 2011 the first deployment of the RFTG, named 'COUGAR 11' occurred. Ships assigned to the task group were the destroyer HMS Liverpool, the frigate HMS Sutherland, the landing platform dock HMS Albion, the amphibious assault ship, HMS Ocean, nuclear fleet submarine HMS Triumph, the casualty receiving ship Argus, the landing ship docks Mounts Bay and Cardigan Bay, the replenishment ships Fort Rosalie and Fort Victoria and the fast fleet tanker Wave Knight.[2][3]

Several RN and RFA Ships will deploy on COUGAR 13.[4]

Fleet Ready Escort (FRE)

This is a single warship maintained at high-readiness around the UK on short-notice standby for deployment anywhere in the world. The FRE destroyer or frigate has rapidly deployed for counter-narcotics operations as far away as the coast of Spain, embargo operations in the Adriatic Sea and short-duration training in the Caribbean, Africa and the Mediterranean.[citation needed]

HMS Portland will be the FRE in August 2013 for two months.[5]

Nuclear Deterrent (Trident)

Test launch of a Trident D5

The Royal Navy regularly deploys a nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) maintaining a continuous at-sea deterrent. The four boats of the Vanguard class submarines are each armed with 16 Trident II D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles and 48 nuclear warheads.[citation needed]

Atlantic Patrol Task (North)

HMS Ambuscade, at HMS Malabar (the former Royal Naval Dockyard, Bermuda) in the 1990s, on her way to the West Indies to commence her role as West Indies Guard Ship.

(Formerly known as the West Indies Guard Ship)[6] This is the United Kingdom's contribution to the North Atlantic and Caribbean areas, intended to protect British interests in the region. The deployment supports counter narcotics role and can provide humanitarian assistance where required; following the regular hurricanes and tropical storms. It was announced on 6 July 2005 that by the end of 2005, the Atlantic Patrol Task (North) was to be carried out by a single warship, a frigate or destroyer, only during the higher-risk months from July to October, while a Wave class tanker of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary with an embarked Merlin helicopter would supplement the warship for the duration of the hurricane season from May to November.[7] After 2006, the House of Commons was assured in June 2005, a frigate or destroyer would be on station 12 months of the year.[8][9]RFA Wave Ruler (A390) is the current Atlantic Patrol Task (North) ship as of June 2011 along with HMS Lacaster.[10]

Atlantic Patrol Task (South)

This deployment provides a British presence in the South Atlantic and West Africa and consists of a single warship accompanied by an RFA vessel. The patrol is tasked with maintaining the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and supporting the British forces in the South Atlantic.[11]

Falkland Islands Patrol Task

The Falkland Islands patrol ship is an Offshore Patrol Vessel that is permanently stationed around the islands, as part of the naval element of British forces in the South Atlantic. The Royal Navy's Ice Patrol Ship is deployed to the South Atlantic and the British Antarctic Territory. HMS Clyde is the permanent Falklands Island Patrol Vessel. She is designed to have her crew replaced periodically and does not need to return to the UK. The ship uses the deepwater naval base facilities of Mare Harbour, East Falkland.[11][dead link]


The Armilla Patrol was established to ensure the safety of British shipping in the Persian Gulf and is also responsible for maintaining a British presence in the region. A single warship and supporting RFA vessels are on-station as part of Operation Oracle another aspect of the UK's contribution to the War on Terror. The vessels are at-notice for deployments anywhere East-of-Suez. Currently UK Operations in the Gulf are under the United Kingdom Maritime Component Command.[12][13]

Though the permanent RN presence in the Far East and Pacific regions has ended, the RN regularly deploys ships for task specific operations or as part of the Five Powers Defence Arrangements (FPDA). A recent deployment was the amphibious deployment "Taurus 09", led by HMS Bulwark.[14] HMS Richmond was the next to visit the Pacific region (specifically Singapore for a Five Powers Defence Arrangements exercise.) This was after its operations in the Middle East.[15]

HMS Daring will be part of the 2013 FPDA exercises.[16]

Combined Task Forces

The UK contributes to the US-led Combined Task Forces (CTF) Combined Task Force 150 and Combined Task Force 151. These are to combat terrorism and piracy respectively in the Gulf region and the Horn of Africa.[17] The UK also contributes to the EU-led Operation Atalanta, which increasingly has taken the lead against piracy off Somalia.[citation needed]

NATO Response Force

The Royal Navy provides a single warship to the NATO Response Force (NRF), part of the Standing NRF Maritime Group 1 in the Atlantic and Standing NRF Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean.[18][19]

A latest parliamentary reply has confirmed that there has been no Royal Navy ship assigned to Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 or Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 1 since 2012.[20]

Mine Countermeasures Force (MCMFOR)

MCMFOR (Group 1) is a standing commitment to NATO to provide a Mine Countermeasures vessel to the Baltic, Northern Europe and Atlantic areas.[citation needed]

Fishery Protection Squadron

The Fishery Protection Squadron protects both the United Kingdom fishing fleet and the oil and gas fields in the British areas of the North Sea.[citation needed]

External links


  1. "Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Training and Adventure | Royal Navy ready for unforeseen global events". 20 February 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  2.[dead link]
  3.[dead link]
  6. "West Indies Guard Ship". Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  7. Tony Skinner, 'RN cuts back Standing Task commitments,' Jane's Defence Weekly, 20 July 2005, p.12
  8. Hansard, 6 March 2006
  9.[dead link]
  11. 11.0 11.1[dead link]
  12.[dead link]
  13.[dead link]
  14. Richard Scott, 'ASW Resurfaces,' Jane's Defence Weekly, Volume 45, Issue 24, 11 June 2008, p.25.
  15. "Ministry of Defence | Defence News | Military Operations | HMS Richmond deploys on counter-piracy mission". 20 February 2007. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  17.[dead link]
  18.[dead link]
  19.[dead link]

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