Over 2,000 sailors and Royal Marines will spearhead the UK’s biggest military exercise in the Arctic for nearly a decade.
Ships, helicopters, armoured vehicles, commando units, medics, and specialist raiding craft are all committed to the Norwegian-led Exercise Cold Response.
In all 15,000 military personnel from ten countries will take part in the demanding winter war games. It will test the abilities of allied nations to fight in one of the most hostile environments on earth.
The navy has sent flagship HMS Albion, plus Type 23 frigate HMS Sutherland. Survey ship HMS Echo, RFA Lyme Bay and Merlin and Wildcat helicopters of Commando Helicopter Force are also going.
Over a thousand Royal Marines have been in the region since January on Arctic training missions ahead of Cold Response. They will launch on amphibious raids as the ‘tip of the NATO spear’.
The Green Berets have deployed to the Arctic in their largest numbers for years. Lead Commando Group 45 Commando, small boat raiding specialists 47 Commando, 30 Commando Information Exploiting Group are all in Norway along with related units.
"45 Commando Royal Marines are the UK’s mountain and cold weather warfare specialists," said Lieutenant Colonel Innes Catton, 45 Commando’s Commanding Officer.
“During Exercise Cold Response, we will be working alongside our NATO allies to give our adversaries hell from the sea.
“As the UK’s Lead Commando Group and poised to deploy on operations around the world, 45 Commando will be the ‘tip of the NATO spear’ during the exercise and we will strike the enemy using small, lethal teams on amphibious commando raids, reminiscent of our World War Two commando forebears.
“On Cold Response, commandos will continue to confront the challenges posed by ever-evolving threats and work on developing small-team tactics as part of our Future Commando Force evolution.”