Britain’s naval presence independent of NATO in the SE Mediterranean and its role in the Greek-Turkish-Cypriot conflict

Special Analysis

Under plans announced in the UK’s recent defense review, there will eventually be two maritime response groups regularly deployed in areas of strategic importance to the UK, one centered on European waters and the other to the east and south of the UK. Suez Canal.

These are designed for UK special forces to be in forward positions, where they can react quickly to any crises and also work continuously with allies.

In this context, HMS Albion (His Majesty’s Ship) arrived in Smyrna, as the Littoral Response Group North (North Coastal Immediate Response Force) of Great Britain continues to be active in the Eastern Mediterranean.

HMS Albion is a Royal Navy amphibious assault ship built by BAE Systems Marine in Barrow-in-Furness, commissioned in March 2001 by the British Navy.

It is based in Plymouth and is the ninth ship to bear the name Albion, which is the ancient name of Great Britain.

Designed as an amphibious warship, the Albion carries troops, usually Marines and vehicles-TOMA-tanks up to the level of the Challenger 2 main battle tank.

It can deploy these forces using four Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and four Landing Craft Vehicle and Personnel (LCVP).

The Royal Navy claims more than a thousand sailors and Royal Marines are deployed in this response force, which is led by flagship HMS Albion and includes RFA Argus (Royal Fleet Auxiliary), RFA Mounts Bay, HMS Defender and three helicopter squadrons.

HMS Defender is the fifth of the Type 45 or Daring class anti-aircraft destroyers built for the Royal Navy. It is the eighth ship to bear the name. Construction of the Defender began in 2006 and was launched in 2009. The ship completed its first sea trials in October and November 2011 and was commissioned in March 2013.

The Sea Viper air defense system consists of the SAMPSON active electronically scanned multi-function air surveillance radar system, which is capable of tracking hundreds of targets with a range of 400 km.

The S1850M 3D long-range air surveillance radar is capable of tracking up to 1,000 targets at a distance of up to 400 km

It has a vertical launch A50 Sylver 48 cells carrying up to 48 shorter range Aster 15 missiles (1.7–30 km ) and Aster 30 Block 0 missiles covering 3–120 km .

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It should be noted that the aforementioned Littoral Response Group North of Great Britain, which we mentioned above, conducted exercises earlier this week in Cyprus.

In particular, British marines spearheaded the UK’s largest combined amphibious exercise in years, with a formidable force landing in Cyprus, as reported by the Ministry of Defence.

In a press release, they say the exercise was a Joint Theater Entry rehearsal which in military parlance means the action of many different military elements from the air, land and sea into a potentially hostile area.

According to British sources Littoral Response Group North will operate across the Eastern Mediterranean, North Africa and the Adriatic this autumn.

This powerful group was joined by British Army and RAF elements operating in the waters around the RAF base at Akrotiri, at the southernmost tip of Cyprus.

What happens;

According to British sources, the operation named “ACHILLEAN” is a large-scale operation where the amphibious ship HMS Albion leads a British naval force consisting of HMS Defender, RFA Argus and RFA Mounts Bay, operating in the Mediterranean.


From the above, we can see that Great Britain seems to be taking on an independent role from that of NATO in the SE Mediterranean, with the creation of its two immediate reaction maritime groups, which will be regularly deployed in areas of strategic importance for the United Kingdom, one with a focus European waters and the other to the east and south of the Suez Canal.

This is reinforced by the fact that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has 4 SNFs (naval immediate reaction forces), of which two, SNMG2 and SNMCMG2, were recently deployed in the SE Mediterranean.

NATO’s SNF forces

NATO maintains a Standing Naval Force (SNF) that provides the Alliance with a continuous naval presence. This multinational deterrent is an essential maritime requirement for the Alliance. It conducts a program of planned exercises, maneuvers and port visits and can be deployed rapidly in times of crisis or tension.

NATO SNFs consist of four groups

The Standing NATO Maritime Groups (SNMGs) consisting of SNMG1 and SNMG2 and the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Groups (SNMCMG1 and SNMCMG2).

All four Groups form the maritime component of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which is part of the NATO Response Force (NRF).

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To respond to contingencies, additional forces can be added to these groups, with NATO command personnel on board and Group ships as the core, capable of providing timely support to NATO operations.

The attitude of the British in Cyprus and Greek-Turkish

Great Britain has maintained Cyprus as one of its last strongholds in the world through its bases there, but also its status as a guarantor power along with Greece and Turkey in the Megalonisos, which it however forgot in ATTILA 1 and 2 1974.

She was also the one who literally put Turkey through the “back door” through the Turkish Cypriots, as an interlocutor for Cyprus in the 1960s, when Cyprus was resisting it, demanding its union with mother Greece.

In any case, Great Britain does not look favorably on the tightening of French-Cypriot and Israeli-Cypriot relations in the field of Defense and military cooperation and wants to have a dominant position and role in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus belongs to the EU and enjoys its political support, regarding its sovereign rights in the SE Mediterranean.

The UK has left the EU, while it has tightened trade and economic relations with Turkey, alongside the defense sector where the 2 countries are collaborating on the development of an engine for the Turkish 5th generation TF-X fighter, while Turkey is flirting with the acquisition of the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter in case of non-acquisition of the F-16 BLOCK 70 from the USA.

For the above reasons, we believe that Great Britain has decided to support Turkey, since “divide and rule” has always been the main doctrine of Great Britain.

Great Britain reappears on the international scene in a leading role after its withdrawal from the EU, especially in the war in Ukraine, while claiming a role and position in the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya, through its friendly neighbor Turkey, but also in any efforts for resolving the Cyprus problem with the “hat” of the guarantor power.

Greece and Cyprus should never forget the special, “fraternal relations” between the USA and Great Britain, something that is expected to complicate the evolution of the Greek-Turkish and the Cyprus issue.

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