Since leaving the EU, Britain has continued to play a vital part in the ongoing security and safety of global seas, partaking in both individual and group exercises. While many of these fall under the remit of NATO, the notion of being Omnipresent across EU waters display how vital the service is.
Yet for one pro-Brexit thinktank, FactsForEU, the European Union has failed to appreciate the British armed forces in the region, in particular, the Royal Navy.
According to the group: “The simple fact is that the Royal Navy has been performing an immensely important task in defending the seas.
“It has done so around the United Kingdom, around the EU, and indeed as far away as the South China Sea.
“From the freezing Arctic to the balmy climes of the Mediterranean, our naval forces have been at the forefront of the projection of naval power.
“All of this costs a great deal of money, of course, from the capital costs of building the ships in the first place to the considerable running costs of all these deployments.
“In our report above we have only summarised seven examples.
“There are more but we hope our piece gives readers a flavour for the way in which the United Kingdom has been patrolling and defending the seas around the European Union.”
Facts4EU.org then goes on to slam the EU.
It continues: “The EU Commission has yet to register any form of appreciation for the United Kingdom’s massive contribution to the security and defence of its 27 member states.
“This has been going on for decades. No matter.
“The EU will carry on debating and criticising, while the United Kingdom carries on defending it.”
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Taking on some of the toughest weather conditions during exercise, the Royal Navy has participated in numerous missions in the North Sea and the Arctic.
Included in these sub-zero temperature operations was Exercise Cold Response, which saw the Royal Navy take to the icy seas in March this year.
The joint operation with NATO members is a regular event and saw Royal Marines and navy vessels take part in various drills.
Arctic Reach also saw one of the Royal Navy’s largest ships, HMS Prince of Wales come within 900 miles of the North Pole.
The huge aircraft carrier led a task group to 77 Degrees North in the North Atlantic to demonstrate the ability of the UK’s two 65,000-tonne Queen Elizabeth-class carriers to operate in the harshest environmental conditions.
Speaking of the achievement, the ship’s top officer, Captain Steve Highman said: “HMS Prince of Wales deploying in the High North has proved our ability to operate in the Arctic.
“I’m very proud of our ship’s company and their constant innovation in the face of extreme conditions.”
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On more than one occasion, British ships have also played a part in drills designed to protect the Baltic States.
Once again the drills were performed with NATO allies as the risk from Russia intensified following the invasion of Ukraine.
Further south, and in warmer waters, the Royal Navy has been active in the Mediterranean Sea.
In September 2020, HMS Albion led a unique deployment to the Mediterranean.
Albion is a key part of the Royal Navy’s amphibious fighting force.
This involves carrying Royal Marines and vehicles up to and including the Challenger 2 main battle tank.
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Furthermore, offshore Patrol Ship HMS Trent and Type 45 HMS Diamond have recently been part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 2 in the Mediterranean.
Last month Royal Marines Reserves carried out a mission to rescue a downed pilot at the end of two weeks of intensive exercises in Cyprus.
It was the first exercise of its type for three years and was an opportunity for commandos from across the reserves to hone critical skills to keep them sharp for operations around the world.
On a wider scale, Britain is also playing a minor role in the AUKUS deal which will see Australia armed with nuclear submarines under the leadership of the US in measures designed to secure the Indo-Pacific region from Chinese threats.