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Royal Marines reconnaissance specialists storm desert ahead of Saif Sareea 3

12 October 2018
The eyes and ears of 3 Commando Brigade made the first move at the start of Saif Sareea 3 – one of the biggest international military exercises in the world which is under way in Oman.

Hidden in the heat of the Omani desert, they wait until nightfall for the chance to strike. Emerging from cover once darkness falls, the Royal Marines of 3 Commando Brigade’s Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron launch mortar attacks on enemy positions before disappearing undetected back into the desert.

Fighting for information and harassing the enemy, they allow an amphibious force to fully understand the situation ashore prior to the main force landing, as well as keeping the enemy on the back foot. 

And so the exercise, now getting started in the desert of Oman, presented the marines with an unmissable opportunity to hone their reconnaissance skills.



We aim to be a constant thorn in the enemy’s side, striking hard and then disappearing into the desert.

Marine Oliver Smith

“We aim to be a constant thorn in the enemy’s side, striking hard and then disappearing into the desert,” says Marine Oliver Smith. 

“This has been a great opportunity for us to work with our Omani partners. Having been to Oman numerous times before we have a very close relationship and are able to conduct complex operations together.

"The desert heat presents a challenging environment for us to work in, as does operating so far in advance of the main force. As Royal Marines commandos this is exactly where we want to be.”

Britain’s flagship HMS Albion has already arrived in Oman ready to lead the naval element of the largest combined military exercise for UK forces since 2002.

Over the coming weeks more than 4,000 British personnel will be tested in the punishing sands of the desert alongside their Omani comrades in temperatures nudging 40ºC.

Assault ship HMS Albion – on the final leg of a nine-month deployment which has taken her as far east as Japan – spearheads substantial Royal Navy involvement in Exercise Saif Sareea (Swift Sword).

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