The UK Royal Navy’s Albion-class amphibious transport dock HMS Albion has arrived in Oman to lead the naval element of Exercise Saif Sareea (Swift Sword).
With the participation of more than 4,000 British military personnel, Saif Sareea is the largest combined military exercise for the UK Armed Forces since 2002.
During the exercise, British troops will be tested together with their Omani counterparts in challenging environments in the desert of Oman, with temperatures touching 40ºC.
HMS Albion serves as the hub of an Amphibious Task Group which will comprise of destroyer HMS Dragon, minehunters HMS Blyth and HMS Ledbury, in addition to their support/command ship RFA Cardigan Bay, amphibious support vessel RFA Lyme Bay and the military ferry MV Anvil Point.
Amphibious Task Group commander commodore James Parkin said: “HMS Albion represents the very best of the British Armed Forces, able to deploy globally, crammed to the gunwales with modern weapons and sensors, and capable of putting a potent landing force of commandos from sea onto land, at a time and place of our choosing, without having to ask anyone else’s permission.”
Exercise Saif Sareea will see the participation of British armour and infantry on the ground, while aerial support will be provided by the Royal Air Force (RAF), Army Air Corps and Fleet Air Arm.
The aerial assets involved in the exercise will include Merlin, Chinook, Wildcat and Apache helicopters from Joint Helicopter Command, RAF’s Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets and E-3D Sentry aircraft, in addition to the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft deployed by Oman.
Held roughly every 15 years, Saif Sareea aims to strengthen the long-standing and close military relationship between the two nations.
This year’s event will also test the UK’s new Joint Logistics Support Base at Duqm in Oman.