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Oct 02 – HMS Bulwark To Use Gibraltar As Forward Mounting Base Ahead Of Cougar 15

One of the Royal Navy’s largest warships, HMS Bulwark, will call into the Naval Base tomorrow to utilise Gibraltar’s Forward Mounting Base facilities, before continuing on deployment as part of Cougar 15.

Cougar is the annual deployment of the UK’s high readiness maritime joint expeditionary force aimed at demonstrating the Royal Navy’s ability to keep Britain safe and improve her economic security. The strategically important deployment ensures that the task group is ready to respond to any contingency the UK Government directs upon it.

 Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Penny Mordaunt, said:

 “Having spent time in Gibraltar with the Royal Navy in the past and as a Minister this summer I’m pleased that HMS Bulwark and supporting ships are visiting, demonstrating once again the strategic importance of Gibraltar and the depth of the relationship between the Rock and the UK. I look forward to welcoming Chief Minister Picardo during his upcoming visit to London where we will discuss opportunities for further co-operation.”

The deployment comprises a series of demanding amphibious and maritime-based exercises designed to ensure that NATO allies are ready to deal with any emerging crisis, from any direction, and that they are able to work effectively with partners in tackling any crisis.  The exercises will reach a climax with Trident Juncture.

Commander Amphibious Task Group, Commodore Martin Connell, said:

 “Cougar 15, which includes our participation in NATO Trident Juncture, is an important deployment for the Royal Navy. It demonstrates the inherent flexibility of the Joint Expeditionary Force to project itself anywhere in the world at a time and place of the Government’s choosing.”

Exercise Trident Juncture 2015 will be held through October and November, mainly in, over and on the seas around Portugal, Spain and Italy.  Trident Juncture provides the ideal chance to train with and work alongside navies from NATO allies and partner nations in the region. 

The Royal Navy’s Maritime Battle Staff will use the event to prepare to command the naval element of the NATO Response Force in 2016, as NATO prepares for the many challenges that face its member states.

Over 36,000 personnel from 30 nations will take part – that includes NATO Allies as well as seven partner nations. The partner nations are Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Sweden and Ukraine.