Two UK ships will lead a multinational land and maritime exercise in Brunei to mark the end of ten years of the Navy’s biggest deployment in the Far East.
The two amphibious assault ships, flagship HMS Bulwark and helicopter landing platform HMS Ocean, will lead Exercise Commando Rajah until 12 June 2009.
The exercise also unites the UK Navy’s Type 23 frigate HMS Somerset, multirole survey ship HMS Echo with embarked divers from the fleet diving group 2, and Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker RFA Wave Ruler with Australian Navy ship HMAS Manoora and the US Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher.
In addition, Royal Marines from 40 Commando and 539 Assault Squadron, US Marines, soldiers from the resident Gurkha Battalion, 1RGR and members of the Brunei and New Zealand armed forces have joined the exercise.
The Merlin Maritime patrol aircraft from 820 Naval Air Squadron and Lynx mk7 helicopters from 847 Naval Air Squadron those are currently onboard HMS Ocean will support the maritime assets on land with seven Fit AAC, providing CASEVAC capability.
Under this exercise, the maritime units will practice the projection of the land forces ashore and ahead into the riverine and primary jungles of Brunei.
The exercise is part of the Royal Navy’s Taurus 09 deployment that sailed from Davenport in February including Exercise Osprey Laut.
Taurus 09 task group has arrived in Brunei following successful exercises in amphibious and anti-submarine warfare exercises with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.
HMS Bulwark commissioned navy official Commodore Paul Bennett OBE said that Exercise Commando Rajah was the completion of the Taurus 09 task group’s amphibious training over the last four months.
The Taurus 09 task group will start its transit west on completion of the exercise and is expected to return UK in August 2009.