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Cougar 13 - Show Of Force


The UK, along with its allies, are planning a show of force designed to deter Al Qaeda terrorists in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, the Mirror reports[1].

Cougar 13 is a Royal Navy deployment that involves the Response Force Task Group (RFTG), the UK's maritime rapid response force. Over the next four months, a series of exercises, including the deployment of United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF), will take place in order to demonstrate the task group's ability to carry out amphibious contingency operations.

The RFTG consists of a number of Royal Navy vessels, including HMS Bulwark, which acts as the command vessel, helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Montrose. Royal Fleet Auxiliary will contribute a number of ships to the RFTG fleet, namely RFA Mounts Bay, RFA Lyme Bay, RFA Fort Austin and RFA Diligence.

Elements of 3 Commando Brigade, include the lead Commando Group (42 Commando + associated supporting arms), elements of 30 Commando IX Group, the Commando Logistics Regiment and the Royal Marines Armoured Support Group will be embarked on HMS Bulwark, RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Lyme Bay.

The RFTG will embark on a series of planned exercises with partner nations as it works its way through the Mediterranean then on to the Red Sea, Indian Ocean and into the Gulf. These exercises include Albanian Lion in which the Lead Commando Group will be put ashore from the Adriatic onto Albanian soil before moving inland.

The Mirror reports that once Cougar 13 reaches Djibouti, off the Horn Of Africa, elements of British Special Forces, namely Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) troops, will 'simulate evacuating British nationals taken hostage by terrorists'.

While ostensively a routine deployment, Cougar 13 also serves as a show of force in the region. Al Qaeda and its affiliates in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula remain an ongoing security threat. The terror networks have bases of operation in Somalia and Yemen, both countries within striking distance of the RFTG.

Cougar 13 begins today, August 12th, as the RFTG sets sail from the UK. [2]

42 Commando Royal Marines
42 Commando Royal Marines form the core of the Lead Commando Group and will be deployed as part of Cougar 13. The role of Lead Commando Group, which is on standby to respond to crisis situations around the world, is passed between 40, 42 and 45 Commandos on a periodic basis.
MOD photo by LA(Phot) Jason Ballard | © Crown copyright 2012 | used under open government licence

Royal Marines Vikings
Royal Marines with the Armoured Support Group pictured during pre-deployment training for Cougar 13. All 16 of the unit's BVS-10 Viking APCs will be embarked on RFA Mounts Bay.
MOD photo by L(PHOT) Caroline Davies | © Crown copyright 2013 | used under open government licence

HMS Bulwark
The Royal Navy's Flag Ship, HMS Bulwark, will lead the Cougar 13 deployment. She is an amphibious transport dock with a displacement of 19,560 tonnes.
MOD photo by LA(PHOT) Joel Rouse | © Crown copyright 2012 | used under open government licence

HMS Illustrious
HMS Illustrious, the Royal Navy's High Readiness Helicopter and Commando Carrier carries Royal Marine Commandos and various helicopters such as Sea Kings and Apache gunships.
MOD photo by PO(Phot) Ray Jones 2010 | © Crown copyright 2010 | used under open government licence

HMS Montrose
HMS Montrose is a Type 23 Frigate that will be deployed on Cougar 13.
MOD photo by LA(PHOT) Joel Rouse | © Crown copyright 2010 | used under open government licence

HMS Westminster
HMS Westminster is one of 2 Type 23 Frigates within the Cougar 13 fleet
MOD photo by POA(Phot) Sean Clee | © Crown copyright 2011 | used under open government licence

RFA Mounts Bay
RFA Mounts Bay is a Bay class auxiliary landing ship dock. It can carry up to 24 Challenger 2 tanks or 150 light trucks. For Cougar 13 it will be home to the Armoured Support Group's 16 Viking APCs and troops with 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.
MOD photo by LA(Phot) Brett Turner | © Crown copyright 2010 | used under open government licence

RFA Lyme Bay
RFA Lyme Bay, 1 of 2 Bay class auxiliary landing ship docks (LSD(A)) sailing with the Cougar 13 fleet.
MOD photo by LA(Phot) Stuart Hill | © Crown copyright 2009 | used under open government licence

RFA Fort Austin
RFA Fort Austin will provide stores, fuel, water, and ammunition for the Cougar 13 fleet.
Photo by Tontastic at wikipedia | used under GNU Free Documentation licence

RFA Diligence
RFA Dilligence (right) pictured alongside HMS Cornwall. Diligence is a forward repair and maintenance vessel that will provide engineering support to the Cougar 13 deployment
MOD photo by LA(Phot) Dave Jenkins | © Crown copyright 2012 | used under open government licence

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