Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Royal Marines unleash fire and fury on Exercise Saif Sareea

20 October 2018
Royal Marines have unleashed fire and fury on the Omani desert during Exercise Saif Sareea.

Using mortars, anti-tank missiles, heavy machine guns and sniper rifles, Taunton-based 40 Commando let rip as they tested their most potent weapons during the UK’s largest joint exercise in 16 years. 

The elite troops fired off Javelin armour-piercing missiles, which can reach up to 400mph once its rocket engages after leaving the launcher, busting tanks with its 8kg warhead, and have also been testing their armoured vehicles as they refine their skills in the punishing desert environment. 

The Viking is extremely adaptable to the rugged and rocky environment of Oman’s deserts and is used to protect marines as they raid and ambush ground targets.

“The harsh environment makes for an excellent cross-country training area where we can really push ourselves and the Viking to the limits – both in terms of temperature and terrain,” said one Viking commander, Corporal Martin Humphreys, who is on his third trip to Oman.

This has been a fantastic opportunity to hone our skills in a tough, hot and arid environment, giving us different challenges to what we are used to in the UK

Captain Chris Nutting

British forces are working with Omani forces in temperatures pushing 40°C in the unforgiving region.

“This has been a fantastic opportunity to hone our skills in a tough, hot and arid environment, giving us different challenges to what we are used to in the UK,” said Captain Chris Nutting, 40 Commando’s Training Officer.

“We have been working alongside the Sultan of Oman’s Armed Forces and enhancing our Commando skillset in these challenging desert conditions.”

Saif Sareea (Arabic for Swift Sword) is the largest joint exercise the UK has conducted since 2002 and there is significant Royal Navy and Royal Marines involvement.

Britain’s flagship HMS Albion – on the final leg of a nine-month deployment which has taken her as far east as Japan – is in the region and has been conducting gunnery exercises as she spearheads the naval contribution in the war games.

RFA Lyme Bay has recently arrived in the Middle East to throw her weight behind the exercise too, after an action-packed 5,000-mile journey from Falmouth to the new port of Duqm in Oman, where Britain has permanent facilities to support her naval operations in the region.

The amphibious support ship will now be transporting Royal Marines from 40 Commando as the exercise – which involves more than 4,000 British personnel – turns to coastal operations.

RFA Cardigan Bay, minehunters HMS Blyth and Ledbury along with Type 45 destroyer HMS Dragon complete a powerful Royal Navy task group on the exercise.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.