HMS Albion visits Turkey as Mediterranean mission continues
The Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship is currently leading the Littoral Response Group North, a task force designed to react to crises in European waters.
After amphibious exercises in Cyprus, Albion sailed further east to Izmir in the Aegean Sea and hosted staff from NATO Land Command, the headquarters of which is based in Izmir, for a discussion on littoral warfare, while also hosting Turkish dignitaries, supported by the British Embassy.
The visit forged closer bonds between the Royal Navy and Turkish Naval Forces after Albion worked with Turkish landing ship Bayraktar and her Seahawk helicopter as she left Izmir, while amphibious warfare staff from both nations shared knowledge from recent exercises, including those which recently took place in Cyprus and from Norwegian-led exercises in the Arctic in March and April.
“Given the strategic location of Turkey, I am delighted that Albion has been able to visit our important NATO partner and reaffirm the strong links between our navies,” said task group commander and Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, Captain Simon Kelly.
“The Turkish have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome and I found we had much to share, particularly where it comes to interoperability of joint forces in conducting amphibious operations.”
The planning officer for the Littoral Response Group deployment, Lieutenant Commander Matt Taborda, added: “This visit presented an ideal opportunity to reinforce the importance of securing sea lines of communication to our Turkish Naval colleagues and land focused NATO colleagues.
“The safe and secure delivery of large scale logistical shipping is a vital aspect to the sustainment of NATO’s Land Command operations.”
The visit included a ship’s tour with various stances demonstrating firefighting and damage control, medical expertise and Remotely Piloted Air Systems.
Visitors also got to visit the ship’s vehicle deck to see Albion’s specialist amphibious assault equipment.
At the same time, Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender, which is the Littoral Response Group North’s powerful escort ship, was in Greece working with Hellenic Navy.
Both ships and the rest of the task force, which also includes RFA Argus and RFA Mounts Bay, have now returned to security operations in the Eastern Mediterranean.