Albania and UK strengthen military cooperation

Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel joined Albanian forces for an exercise which is part of the Royal Navy’s annual deployment of a crisis-focused amphibious task group, the Joint Expeditionary Force Maritime 16 (JEF(M)16).
Several Royal Navy ships played a role in “Albanian Lion” this week, including the warships HMS Ocean and HMS Bulwark. A large mumber of UK maritime personnel have taken part in the joint exercise, “Albanian Lion”, which was taking place for the fifth time in Albania and included 250 Albanian Armed Forces personnel.
For “Albanian Lion”, the UK also committed Navy vessels RFA Mounts Bay and MV Eddystone, a Tailored Air Group made up of Chinook, Merlin, Wildcat and Apache helicopters, and lead elements of a Royal Marine Commando group, Royal Navy divers and Commando engineers. A small number of Army and Royal Air Force personnel also took part in the exercise.
JEF(M)16 demonstrates the ability the UK has to deploy highly effective maritime forces at short notice, anywhere in the world.
Albanian Lion is part of a series of demanding exercises in the Adriatic and the Gulf, reinforcing the UK’s relationships with allies and ensuring that the task group is ready to respond if called upon.
Albanian troops have also recently participated in Exercise Venerable Gauntlet in Germany, which brought together 3,000 troops from 14 NATO nations in another major exercise before the UK takes its leading role in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in 2017.

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