x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

British warships arrive in the Emirates

Five warships, including the British Royal Navy's flagship, HMS Albion, have arrived in the UAE for military exercises with the UAE Navy.

Five warships, including the British Royal Navy's flagship, HMS Albion, have arrived in the Emirates for military exercises with the UAE Navy.
Five warships, including the British Royal Navy's flagship, HMS Albion, have arrived in the Emirates for military exercises with the UAE Navy.

ABU DHABI // The eighth HMS Albion, the British Royal Navy's flagship, arrived on its first visit to the UAE yesterday alongside four other British warships.

They are part of the Response Force Task Group, an initiative announced last year as part of Britain's strategic defence and security review.

They are in the Middle East to counter maritime terrorism and piracy in the Gulf, the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and will begin Exercise Sea Khanjar - from the Arabic for "dagger" - a week of joint exercises with the UAE Navy and Marines on Saturday.

The intention, according to Britain's ambassador to the UAE, Dominic Jermey, is to "demonstrate our commitment to regional security but also to strengthen friendships and operational compatibility so that in times of need, when UK ships are operating together, they already know each other".

Accompanying the Albion is HMS Sutherland, a warship that can deploy arms including anti-aircraft missiles and anti-submarine missiles at short notice.

The Albion itself is a landing platform, able to carry up to 31 large trucks and 36 small vehicles. It also has armoured vehicles and full attack capabilities.

The exercises are being led by Commodore Tim Fraser, who oversees all maritime activity in the region on behalf of the British Royal Navy. They are the fourth set of exercises under Sea Khanjar - the first were in 2001 and the others in 2004 and 2009.

A vivid simulation of a missile defence exercise was performed yesterday on the Sutherland in front of reporters to assess operational readiness and demonstrate combat expertise.

hhamid@thenational.ae