Portsmouth-based HMS Defender, alongside HMS Albion, RFA Argus and RFA Mounts Bay, has been working closely with NATO allies on Operation Achillean over the past week.
He sees the Type 45 destroyer working alongside the Greek Navy, while HMS Albion works with NATO forces in Turkey to prepare for possible future amphibious operations.
The Task Force Commander and Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, Captain Simon Kelly, said: “Given Turkey’s strategic location, I am delighted that Albion was able to visit our important NATO partner and reaffirm the close ties between our navies.
“The Turks went out of their way to make us feel welcome and I found we had a lot to share, especially when it came to the interoperability of joint forces in conducting amphibious operations.”
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After amphibious exercises in Cyprus, HMS Albion sailed to Izmir in the Aegean Sea, where she hosted NATO Land Command personnel for a discussion on littoral warfare, while also hosting Turkish dignitaries.
The Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship currently leads Littoral Response Group North, a task force designed to respond to crises in European waters.
Littoral Response Groups are Royal Navy task forces usually consisting of at least two amphibious warfare ships, a company of Royal Marines and support elements primarily responsible for amphibious warfare in coastal regions .
Littoral Response Group Deployment Planning Officer Lieutenant Commander Matt Taborda added: “This visit was an ideal opportunity to reinforce the importance of securing maritime lines of communication for our colleagues in the Turkish Navy and our land-focused NATO colleagues.
“The safe and secure delivery of large-scale logistics shipments is a vital aspect of sustaining NATO Land Command operations.”
HMS Defender and HMS Albion, along with the rest of the task force, have now resumed previous security operations in the eastern Mediterranean.
Earlier this year, HMS Defender undertook exercises to test its combat capabilities as part of Exercise Baltops 22 in the Baltic Sea.