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Armed Forces Day is a chance to show your support for the men and women who make up the Armed Forces community: from currently serving troops to Service families, veterans and cadets. In this post we take a look at activity around the world.

Celebrate Armed Forces Day

On Armed Forces Day we acknowledge the service of the whole community starting with our active UK Armed Forces personnel. They defend the UK and its interests and are busy working around the world right now, promoting peace, delivering aid, tackling drug smugglers, providing security and fighting terrorism. Also our Veterans, that is anyone who has served in the HM Armed Forces at any time including National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves. Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve. There is also the future of HM Armed Forces, the Cadet Forces (Sea Cadets, Army Cadets, Air Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force) currently support over 130,000 young people in more than 3,000 locations across the UK. Cadets learn life and career building skills as well as gaining vocational qualifications. Finally our Armed Forces couldn’t do their job without the incredible support of their family and friends.

Current Operations

CANADA:

The prairie of Alberta has provided an excellent opportunity for the British Army to train on a large scale since 1972. The British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) is an organisation situated on one of the most sparsely populated areas of the plain.

With over 400 permanent staff, 1,400 soldiers training over 2,700km of ground, Canada gives our troops unique experiences to be prepared for threats now and in the future.

USA:

A Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 takes off from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, USA during Exercise Red Flag.

Exercise Red Flag is a two-week advanced aerial combat training exercise held several times a year by the United States Air Force including Royal Air Force jets.

Belize

Soldiers from 1st Battalion the Irish Guards conducting a live firing exercise deep in the Belize Jungle.

The British Army has maintained a presence in Belize since its independence. Currently the British Army Training Support Unit in Belize enables close country and tropical environment training to troops from the UK and international partners.The British Army in Brunei comprises an infantry battalion of Gurkhas and an Army Air Corps Flight of Bell 212 helicopters. The tropical climate and terrain is well suited to jungle training and the Jungle Warfare Division run courses for all members of the British Army.

Caribbean

Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Mounts Bay delivered essential aid to people in the Bahamas after the country was hit by a category five hurricane in Sept 2019..

The amphibious support vessel has given support to Great Abaco, delivering shelter kits, water and other basic items.

A RIB boat was deployed from Mounts Bay, which has been in the Caribbean since 2016, with a Humanitarian and Disaster Relief team to join up with the Royal Bahamas Defence Force to unload aid to those worst hit by Hurricane Dorian.

Captain Rob Anders, Commanding Officer of RFA Mounts Bay, said: “RFA Mounts Bay has been working alongside The Bahamian National Emergency and Management Agency and US Coastguard personnel, using our Wildcat helicopter to conduct initial assessments on Abaco Island and we have landed reconnaissance troops ashore.

North Atlantic

Image Shows A RIB, or Seaboat (Pacific 24 Mark-4) 

The Navy has a near constant presence in the Caribbean and the North Atlantic. We send Royal Navy vessels to this region to act as a deterrent to drug smugglers.

The Navy has been involved in countless counter-narcotic operations over the years, preventing millions of pounds worth of drugs reaching UK shores. In addition to this activity HM Armed Forces are also engaged in Op RUMEN The UK government provided immediate military support to supply humanitarian and disaster relief to the Caribbean Islands left devastated by Hurricane Irma in 2018.

When natural or man-made disasters occur, a country’s infrastructure and resources can be crippled. With loss of electricity, shortage of food and water supplies, and human lives at risk – responding to such life-threatening scenarios is central to the Royal Navy’s ethos. Because we have the skills, equipment and know-how to go anywhere, regardless of potential damage to local infrastructure.

Atlantic Patrol Tasking North The Navy has been involved in countless counter-narcotic operations over the years, preventing millions of pounds worth of drugs reaching UK shores.

Ascension Island

Pictured is a 1435 Flight Typhoon FGR4 pair flying over West Falkland island during a routine training flight.

RAF Ascension Island is in the South Atlantic Ocean, near the equator, strategically positioned approximately 4,000 miles from both the UK and the Falkland Islands.

The role of the Station is to deter military aggression against the UK’s South Atlantic Overseas Territories in order to maintain UK sovereignty.

It serves as a staging post for flights between the UK and the Falklands with an approximate flight time of 8 hours.

With a runway length of 10,019ft the airfield has the capability to support all types of aircraft. The airfield (called Wideawake Auxiliary Airfield by the US) is jointly operated and managed by US and UK authorities.

The Station also supports regular flights between America and Africa.

Atlantic Patrol Tasking South

Ships and units on Atlantic Patrol Tasking provide ongoing protection and reassurance to British interests in the Atlantic, maintaining the continuous Royal Naval presence in the Atlantic.

Ships on this tasking undertake maritime security operations, including counter-narcotics and anti-piracy patrols, providing opportunities to work with other navies to strengthen ties and demonstrate the Royal Navy’s commitment to the region, extending from West Africa across to South America.

Falkland Islands

Grenadier Guardsman from British Forces South Atlantic Islands at Port San Carlos, Falkland Islands,

The Falkland Islands are a dependent territory of the UK and will remain so for as long as the Islanders wish them to. British Armed Forces protect the Falkland Islands to deter military aggression against The South Atlantic Overseas Territories.

Antarctic Patrol Tasking

The Ice Patrol Ship is the embodiment of the Royal Navy’s global reach, operational flexibility and the Service’s ability to sustain operations wherever and whenever that presence is required.

The Navy’s ice patrol ship’s role is to provide a sovereign and reassuring presence in the United Kingdom’s largest Overseas Territory – the British Antarctic Territory. She will help deliver the United Kingdom’s commitments under the Antarctic Treaty, support science programmes and ensure that expeditions and vessels are meeting their international environmental obligations.

Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (Northern European waters)

This is the UK’s maritime commitment to NATO operations. The task group will take part in a number of operations and exercises, maritime security patrols and regional engagement across Northern European waters and the surrounding area.

The Standing NATO Maritime Groups, are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participating in exercises to intervening in operational missions.

These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict. They also help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions.

Exercise Joint Warrior

Exercise Joint Warrior is a UK-led multinational military exercise held twice a year. 

The aim of the exercise is to improve the defence capabilities of the UK and its allies to conduct joint operations involving many different forces preparing to tackle current and future threats. 

This year 14 nations including NATO members and partners will take part in the exercise. 

Gibraltar

The British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar is a rocky headland on the southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of just over two square miles and a population of 30,000. It enjoys a strategic location at the western entrance to the Mediterranean, where the straits between Europe and Africa are only 14 km wide.

The Army has had a presence in Gibraltar for more than 300 years. The people of Gibraltar took up arms as the Gibraltar Volunteer Corps from 1915-1920 and again as the Gibraltar Defence Force shortly before the outbreak of WW2. This force later became the Royal Gibraltar Regiment, which remains as the only formed Army unit in Gibraltar.

Two Fast Patrol Boats of the Royal Navy’s Gibraltar Squadron, HMS Sabre and HMS Scimitar, watch over Gibraltar’s shores and support ships in the Strait of Gibraltar.

In 1991 the last UK-based infantry battalion left Gibraltar and the role of defending and securing the Rock was taken up by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. In addition to the Regiment, there are Army sub-units in Gibraltar with responsibility for signals and infrastructure, and several Army posts in the tri-service headquarters. Along with the other services, the Army in Gibraltar retains the Rock as a Permanent Joint Operating Base for UK operations in the region.

Mali (Op NEWCOMBE)

Op NEWCOMBE is the codename given to the deployment of RAF Chinook helicopters to support the French operation in Mali with niche logistics capabilities..

The UK has been a long-standing supporter of UN and EU military operations in Mali and has worked with international partners to prevent extremists from using the ungoverned space in the Sahel to plan and launch attacks on Europe, as well as counter the illegal trade in people, drugs, weapons and wildlife.

UK Home Waters

The Royal Navy train in and protect UK waters, ensuring shipping lanes are secure as well as our fishery limits.

The mission of the Fishery Protection Squadron is to patrol the fishery limits of England, Wales and Northern Ireland – an area that covers over 80,000 square miles of sea and stretches up to 200 miles from the coastline.

Standing NATO Mine Countermeasure Group 2 (Northern European waters)

This is the UK’s maritime commitment to NATO operations. The task group will take part in a number of activities such as mine clearance exercises, maritime security patrols and regional engagement across Northern European waters and the surrounding area.

The Standing NATO Maritime Groups, are a multinational, integrated maritime force made up of vessels from various allied countries. These vessels are permanently available to NATO to perform different tasks ranging from participating in exercises to intervening in operational missions.

These groups provide NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities in peacetime and in periods of crisis and conflict. They also help to establish Alliance presence, demonstrate solidarity, conduct routine diplomatic visits to different countries, support transformation and provide a variety of maritime military capabilities to ongoing missions

Belgium NATO HQ

The United Kingdom’s Joint Delegation to NATO is the vital link between the UK government and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Its principal roles are to promote British interests in NATO and to keep UK ministers and government departments informed about NATO discussions.

Nigeria

The UK and Nigerian military are long standing allies, and both are committed to defeating Boko Haram in West Africa. The UK military are supporting the Nigerian armed forces through a package of training and advisory activities designed to help them it tackle the terrorist organisation.

Germany

In line with the announcement of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) of 2010, it is the Government’s intention to rebase the British Army from Germany to the UK by 2020. On the 4 November 2015, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the final Field Army units will withdraw from Germany in 2019 in accordance with the Government’s SDSR 2010 commitment.

Africa Op MANSIO

Operation MANSIO is the UK contribution to the annual Exercise Flintlock in Africa.

Occurring in nations across the Sahel region of Africa, the exercises develops capacity and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations. Flintlock participation has included ground and air forces from over 16 countries across a broad spectrum of operations.

Exercise Flintlock is designed to foster regional cooperation to enable our African partners to stabilise regions of North and West Africa, while reducing sanctuary and support for violent extremist organisations.

Bosnia Op ELGIN

Operation Elgin (Bosnia & Herzegovina) is the UK’s contribution to the European Union-led Operation Althea. Established in 2004, the operation aims to support the peace process and ensure a safe and secure environment.

Baltic Protector

Covert amphibious raids, urban ambushes and counter-mine training are just some elements of the training the UK Combined Amphibious Task Group undertook during Baltic Protector in 2019.

One of the largest Naval deployments to Europe in recent years, the UK led a multinational Joint Expeditionary Force venture to the Baltic Sea region, demonstrating interoperability with our NATO allies. 

Estonia Op CABRIT

Operation CABRIT is the name of the UK operational deployment to Estonia where British troops are leading a multinational battlegroup as part of the EFP.

UK Armed Forces have a leading role in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in the Baltic States in order to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter out adversaries.

The EFP in the Baltic States is a deployment of robust, multinational, combat-ready forces to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a persistent, rotational basis.

About 900 British personnel will rotate on a continuous basis alongside Danish, French, and host nation Estonian forces, with 1 YORKS currently providing the bulk of the combat capable infantry force.

Kosovo Op ELGIN

The Queens Royal Hussars (QRH), Challenger 2s (Dozer blade attached), breaching Abatus, an obstacle formed from felled trees during a training exercise.

Operation Elgin (Kosovo) is the UK’s contribution to NATO-led international task force. The task force was established in 1999 after UN Security Council Resolution 1244. It aims to assist the local security authorities in maintaining a safe and secure environment for all citizens.

Norway Cold Weather Training

Cold Weather Training is a Norwegian-led winter exercise. The main purpose of the annual winter exercise is to put Royal Marines and Royal Navy sailors and airmen through their paces in one of the most demanding environments.

It is one of the most challenging and unpredictable environments in the world, snowbound for months at a time and full of life threatening hazards – but for the Royal Marines it is a home from home.

Estonia Op CABRIT

Soldiers from The Queen’s Dragoon Guards and Royal Yeomanry in Poland on Operation CABRIT participating in a platoon attack on their PNCO course.

Operation CABRIT is the name of the UK operational deployment to Estonia where British troops are leading a multinational battlegroup as part of the EFP.

UK Armed Forces have a leading role in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in the Baltic States in order to enhance Euro-Atlantic security, reassure our Allies and deter out adversaries.

The EFP in the Baltic States is a deployment of robust, multinational, combat-ready forces to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, on a persistent, rotational basis.

About 900 British personnel will rotate on a continuous basis alongside Danish, French, and host nation Estonian forces, with 1 YORKS currently providing the bulk of the combat capable infantry force.

Estonia Op AZOTIZE

A squadron of Royal Air Force Typhoon jets are currently deployed to Estonia as part of NATO’s Baltic Air Policing Mission. 

The jets and their pilots patrol the skies, protecting the integrity of NATO’s air space and reacting to any incursions or incidents. 

Ukraine Op ORBITAL

The British Army has deployed out to Ukraine where they have been providing training to Ukrainian Armed Forces, following the illegal annexation of Crimea. We work alongside our allies to provide training on a variety of skills, from basic infantry and medic skills to courses that counter attacks from snipers, armoured vehicles and mortars.

South Sudan Op TRENTON

UK Engineering and Medical Task Force during a medal parade for their service to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan.

The UK has deployed nearly 400 troops to the UN Mission in South Sudan as part of our commitment to the pursuit of peace and stability in the country. It is one of the UK’s largest operational deployments, with personnel providing engineering support at the UN’s camps in Bentiu and Malakal, as well as a field hospital to care for eligible UN personnel in Bentiu.

Cyprus

RAF Akrotiri is home of the Cyprus Operations Support Unit which provides joint support to British Forces Cyprus and operations in the region to protect the UK’s strategic interests.

RAF Akrotiri is an extremely busy Permanent Joint Operating Base that supports ongoing operations in the region as well as support for the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus. It is used as a forward mounting base for overseas operations in the Middle East and for fast jet training.

RAF Akrotiri’s Griffin helicopters also play an important search and rescue function in collaboration with the Republic of Cyprus Police and National Guard Air Command.

BRITISH ARMY

The British Army in Cyprus works to a tri-service headquarters and is tasked with protecting the SBAs and associated retained sites. The Army presence includes two resident infantry battalions and supporting arms such as the Royal Logistics Corps, Royal Army Medical Corps, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Military Police and others located in both SBAs.

The Bases, which cover 98 square miles, enable the UK to maintain a permanent military presence at a strategic point in the Eastern Mediterranean. RAF Akrotiri is an important staging post for military aircraft and the communication facilities are an important element of the UK’s worldwide links. The Bases can be used for a variety of both military and humanitarian operations.

Cyprus Op TOSCA

Army Reserve soldiers from The London Regiment are pictured undergoing public order training alongside the 1st Battalion The Irish Guards, prior to deploying on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Cyprus.

Since 1974, the British Army has been deployed to Cyprus, the UK’s contribution to the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus. As one of the longest-running continuous operations, the British Army forms the largest contingent of the multinational force. 
In an area of continuing tension, they patrol 24/7 along a buffer zone that separates the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, keeping the peace and maintaining stability in the country.

Kenya

BRITISH ARMY TRAINING UNIT KENYA (BATUK)

BATUK is a permanent training support unit based mainly in Nanyuki, 200 km north of Nairobi, but with a small element in Nairobi. BATUK provides demanding training to exercising units preparing to deploy on operations or assume high-readiness tasks. BATUK consists of around 100 permanent staff and reinforcing short tour cohort of another 280 personnel.

Under an agreement with the Kenyan Government, up to six infantry battalions per year carry out eight-week exercises in Kenya.

Malawi MALBAT 19

In rural Malawi, a short term training team of 19 UK Armed Forces personnel are training the next Battalion of the Malawian Army ahead of their deployment to the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2019.

Together with the United States Army, the training these personnel are delivering will prepare the Malawians to face heavy fighting in dense jungles against a complex enemy amidst the worst outbreak of Ebola since Sierra Leone.

The Malawian Battalion will form part of the United Nations’ Force Intervention Brigade in the DRC, – their ultimate role is to protect the civilians of the nation, and restore peace.

Malawi Counter Poaching 

The recruits are firing a GPMG machine gun at targets two hundred metres away. The weapons have been donated by Britain. The Poachers are the Short Term Training Team provided by the British Army to help train Sierra Leone soldiers in military skills.

The British Army have deployed to Malawi to train park rangers as combat tracking instructors, which will in turn help neutralise the threat of poaching, and bring those responsible to justice.

This training forms part of a three-year plan, agreed by the Ministry of Defence and the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), to support and fund a series of military-led counter-poaching activities.

UK military personnel have previously carried out anti-poaching training in Gabon, and the British Army Training Unit Kenya is supporting the building of an elephant fence in Kenya to protect the endangered animals from poachers, as well as protecting the British training area, local people and resources.

Op SHADER

The Royal Air Force began the first airstrikes against Daesh in 2014. Between then and 2017, RAF Typhoon, Tornado and Reaper aircraft have struck Daesh more than 1,300 times in Iraq and over 260 times in Syria.

In that time the terror group has lost territory, finances, leaders and fighters as the 71 member coalition has liberated cities in both countries. As the second largest contributor to the Global Coalition’s military campaign, the UK has flown more than 8,000 sorties providing strikes, surveillance and reconnaissance, air-to-air refuelling and transport.

Somalia Op TANGHAM

British Army trainer mentoring Somali soldiers.

The UK Armed Forces are currently deployed in Somalia to support 4 organisations; the UN, the AU Mission in Somalia, the EU and direct support to the Somali National Army as part of international efforts to restore security and stability in the region.

Gulf Op KIPION

Our maritime presence in the Gulf is a demonstration of the UK’s continued commitment to enduring peace and stability the region, exercising command and control of the RN and RFA ships and cooperating within a 30+ nation maritime force.

The UK has a long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. Since 1980, units of both the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) have maintained a presence in the Gulf 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

Operation KIPION, the operational name for UK forces (principally maritime) in the region, is our commitment to promoting peace and stability as well as ensuring the safe flow of trade, and countering narcotics and piracy.

We have approximately 1,200 UK personnel deployed and are committed to de-escalation in the Gulf and maintaining free navigation through the region.

The UK regularly reviews the number of RN and RFA vessels in the region. While there is occasional overlap of ships when one deployment begins and another ends, this is not uncommon.

Op ATALANTA

The main purpose of Operation Atalanta is the deterrence and disruption of acts of piracy and armed robbery on the high seas.

Warships apprehend suspected pirates following intelligence reports of pirate activity or sightings by merchant vessels.

Indian Ocean Ex Bersama Lima

Crew member of a Merlin Mk3A helicopter of 845 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) conducting HI-Line (Heave In) training on the flight deck of HMAS Parramatta (FS Mistral on the horizon) in the Far East

This year the RAF deployed six Typhoons to the Royal Malaysian Air Force Butterworth Airbase and one Voyager to the Republic of Singapore Air Force Paya Lebar Air Base.

Ex Bersama Lima is an important contribution that the UK makes as a member of the FPDA to the security of Singapore and Malaysia.

The exercise tests and demonstrates the RAF’s ability to react quickly and promptly to regional security threats.

Brunei

The British Army in Brunei comprises an infantry battalion of Gurkhas and an Army Air Corps Flight of Bell 212 helicopters. The tropical climate and terrain is well suited to jungle training and the Jungle Warfare Division run courses for all members of the British Army.

Far East

F-35B Lightening Jets from 617 Sqn RAF 

The Royal Navy has an enduring worldwide presence, in the Far East. The Royal Navy fly the flag for Britain carrying out the nations interests in multiple locations.

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