The Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, currently deployed on Cougar 13, has successfully completed a six day exercise, Omani Cougar, with the Royal Omani Armed Forces.
The maritime exercise tested the full integration of the Royal Navy and Royal Navy of Oman by conducting conventional maritime warfare serials, as well as amphibious training with Royal Marines from 42 Commando, as the Lead Commando Group, together with the Omani Coastal Regiment.
The exercise concluded with a large maritime and amphibious demonstration to high profile Service Chiefs from both countries including: General Sir Richard Barrons (Commander Joint Force Command) and Lieutenant General Simon Mayall (Defence Senior Advisor Middle East), as well as His Excellency Jaime Bowden (Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Oman).
Lieutenant General Al Nabhani (Chief of Staff Sultan’s Armed Forces) and Rear Admiral Al Raisi (Chief of Royal Navy of Oman), were also present to witness the culmination of hard work from their Services.
Five Royal Navy of Oman warships joined HMS Bulwark, HMS Illustrious and RFA Mounts Bay for the exercise which was led by Captain (Aqeed) Haider bin Ahmed bin Raheem Dad Al Zadjali, Director of Operations Royal Navy of Oman (RNO), embarked in HMS Bulwark.
The RFTG which left UK waters in August has already completed exercises in the Mediterranean, Red Sea and the Gulf, but this is the first time that foreign navy personnel have embarked in one of the ships in order to carry out the exercise.
The Cougar 13 deployment will operate in the Mediterranean, Red Sea, the Gulf, and Horn of Africa. It involves exercising with partner nations, and will show the UK Armed Forces’ capacity to project an effective maritime component anywhere in the world as part of the Royal Navy’s Response Force Task Group, commanded by Commodore Paddy McAlpine OBE ADC Royal Navy.
The RFTG is the United Kingdom’s high readiness maritime force, comprising ships, submarines, aircraft and a landing force of Royal Marines, at short notice to act in response to any contingency tasking if required.