The UK and Albanian forces have participated in a joint exercise, called Albanian Lion; the fifth in a series of exercises conducted in the Adriatic and the Gulf.

During the exercise, Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel worked alongside 250 Albanian Armed Forces personnel to meet security challenges in the Balkans.

Nearly 2,300 UK maritime personnel, including several Royal Navy ships such as HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark warships participated in the military exercise.

"This exercise is the culmination of a period of focussed preparation at sea."

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “The contribution of maritime forces as well as two Royal Navy warships underlines the UK’s strength at sea and our strong defence partnership with Albania.”

RFA Mounts Bay and MV Eddystone, 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, including personnel from the Army and Royal Air Force also participated in the exercise.

Commander Amphibious Task Group (COMATG) commodore Andrew Burns said: “This exercise is the culmination of a period of focussed preparation at sea, in the UK and in the challenging coastal environment of our Nato ally, Albania.

“I am hugely impressed by the ingenuity, resilience and professional dedication shown by every sailor, marine, soldier and airman in meeting the objectives for this deployment, and it is always a huge privilege to work alongside our Albanian Armed Forces colleagues.”

The exercise is part of the Royal Navy’s annual deployment of a crisis-focused amphibious task group, the Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime 16 (JEF(M)16).

JEF(M)16 demonstrates the ability of the UK military to deploy highly effective maritime forces at short notice, anywhere in the world, the UK Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Albanian troops have also recently participated in Exercise Venerable Gauntlet in Germany.

Image: Exercise Albanian Lion. Photo: Crown Copyright.