ROYAL Marines from Norton Manor Camp were among 34,000 troops in the largest military exercise between Australia, the UK and US (AUKUS) forces.

Members of 40 Commando conducted pre-landing operations, including surveillance, reconnaissance and strike missions in the AUKUS supervised Talisman Sabre operation in Australia and adjacent waters.

Also taking part were troops from Canada, Fiji, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Republic of Korea and Tonga.

As part of the initiative, the UK Royal Marines Commando Force embarked on HMAS Adelaide, Australia’s largest warship, and conducted ship to shore landings, a capability essential for high-readiness crisis response.

Major Aran Sandiford, Commanding Officer of the Commando Forces, said: “The opportunity for UK Commando Forces to integrate with like-minded, specialist reconnaissance and raiding forces, really is invaluable.

"As well as being a fantastic chance to develop shared tactics and practice operating alongside key partners, deploying Commandos into the Indo-Pacific is one of the best ways of demonstrating the Royal Navy’s continued commitment to the region.”

During the exercise, the head of the British Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, visited the troops aboard HMAS Adelaide.

The UK Commando Force previously deployed to the Indo-Pacific in March for exercise Ssang Yong 2023 in South Korea.

More recently, the force worked with many of the same partners in Talisman Sabre to support evacuation efforts in Sudan.

Exercise Talisman Sabre is a complex and ambitious exercise which involves risks, as the tragic loss of an Australian helicopter at sea on July 28 demonstrated.

UK personnel assisted in search and rescue efforts for the crew and the Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin sent his condolences to his Australian counterpart on the tragic loss of four Australian Army soldiers.

The UK remains committed to the Indo-Pacific and working with partners in the region, as set out in the recently published Integrated Review Refresh and Defence Command Paper Refresh (DCPR).

The DCPR confirmed the continued deployment of the Royal Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels HMS Spey and HMS Tamar in the region.

Armed Forces Minister James Heappey recently met the crews of both vessels in Australia during a visit to engage top defence officials in the Indo-Pacific.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Security and stability throughout the Indo-Pacific is essential.

"Exercise Talisman Sabre demonstrates the UK’s commitment to the region and the strength of our ties with friends and allies.”

The UK’s persistent maritime presence is set to be increased with visits from Commando Force Littoral Response Group later this year, and the Carrier Strike Group which will return in 2025, building on its maiden voyage in 2021.c