THOUSANDS of sailors and marines are getting ready to leave on a deployment which will put their maritime skills to the test.
HMS Illustrious and HMS Westminster are due to leave Portsmouth for the Mediterranean and Gulf region on an operation called Cougar 13.
The ships are being loaded up with supplies to get them ready for the series of exercises.
The deployment will see elements of the UK’s Response Force Task Group travel thousands of miles from home through exercises with a number of key allies.
The ships taking part in Cougar 13 are HMS Bulwark, HMS Illustrious, RFA Mounts Bay, RFA Lyme Bay, HMS Montrose, HMS Westminster, RFA Fort Austin, RFA Fort Victoria, RFA Cardigan Bay, and RFA Diligence. As reported in The News, elements of the task force are also due to visit Gibraltar.
The majority of the task group is due to return home in December, although HMS Westminster will remain east of Suez into the new year.