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british special forces
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Fleet Contingency Troop

The Fleet Contingency Troop (FCT) - sometimes referred to as the Fleet Contingent Troop - is a specialised unit drawn from the Fleet Standby Rifle Troops of S Squadron, 43 Commando.

FCT Role

The FCT specialises in non-compliant boarding operations, with a current focus on boarding pirate-held vessels. They are trained to carry out boarding up to Level 3 (boardings against non-compliant pirates) and 3+ (non-compliant pirates with crew in secure area of ship). Level 4 boardings, which feature non-compliant pirates holding hostages are typically carried out by Special Forces.[1]

FCT personnel are experts in boarding vessels from both surface boats such as rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and offshore raiding craft (OCR) and by fast-roping from Royal Navy helicopters such as the Lynx Mk 8 and Merlin. Maritime Sniper Teams frequently provide top cover for FCT boarding operations.

FCT Operations

Since being deployed off the Horn Of Africa as part of multi-national counter-piracy efforts, they have intercepted and boarded numerous pirate ships. Typically operating from Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxillary vessels such as HMS Somerset and RFA Fort Victoria, FCT Royal Marines have been involved in a series of incidents:

The FCT provided a quick reaction force for Operation Olympic, the security operation for the 2012 London Olympics. In a demonstration in early 2012, Royal Marines with 539 Assault Squadron, the FCT and members of the Met firearms unit, SCO19 and Marine Policing Unit, intercepted, boarded and secured a simulated terrorst-held vessel on the Thames.

fleet contingency troop
A Royal Marine with the Fleet Contingency Troop pictured while taking part in a boarding exercise on RFA Fort Victoria. He is wearing a dry suit with inflatable life jacket and is armed with a 9mm MP5 sub machine gun, fitted with EOTech sight, torch and blank-firing adapter. FCT personnel arre typically armed with the SA80a2 rifle, SA80A2K carbine or mp5a3 smgs. 9mm Sig Sauer pistols are carried as a secondary weapon.
photo : LA(Phot)AJ MacLeod / MOD | © UK MOD / Crown Copyright (C) 2010

Fleet Contingency Troop Training

FCT personnel undergo training that includes a Royal Marines Boarding Course (RMBC) (non-compliant). This is a 5-week course held at HMNB Clyde. Royal Marines passing the course gain the Royal Marines Boarding Operator qualification. They then move on to more advanced training via a Level 3 Boarding Operators Course. FCT operators become highly proficient in close-quarter-battle (CQB), the use of small arms and high threat non-compliant boardings.

Exocet Falklands
by Ewen Southby-Tailyour

At last, the true story of British Special Forces missions against the Argentine Exocet threat.
more info: Exocet Falklands
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