Seven Royal Navy warships involved in Mediterranean exercise

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ROYAL Marines will storm beaches in Cyprus in the first major exercise for the navy’s new Response Force Task Group.

Seven Royal Navy warships and auxiliaries, together with Royal Marines and helicopters, will converge on waters off Cyprus for a series of naval exercises combining air defence exercises and live firings out at sea with amphibious exercises in coastal waters.

The MoD denies the exercises are linked to a possible ground intervention in Libya. However, the task force is on stand-by if it is needed.

Task force commander, Commodore John Kingwell, said: ‘The Response Force Task Group enables the Royal Navy to respond at short notice to unforeseen events in an unpredictable and fast-moving world. Naval forces are ideally placed to respond to a range of missions central to UK defence and security.’

HMS Albion, HMS Sutherland and Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay left the UK with elements of the commando force at the beginning of April and were in Cyprus last month for exercises. For Exercise Cypriot Lion, they will be joined by a second group of ships – the helicopter carrier HMS Ocean, landing ship RFA Mounts Bay, fast fleet tanker RFA Wave Knight and RFA Fort Rosalie.