Royal Marines

Royal Marines defend against air attacks in five-day desert training battle 

Royal Marines have defended allied forces from 'enemy' air attacks during a five-day training battle in the Californian desert.

The Air Defence Troop from 30 Commando Information Exploitation Group deployed to the US to stress test new tactics as part of the newly-formed Littoral Response Group (South).

It was part of Green Dagger - the same exercise where Royal Marines defeated their American counterparts in one scenario.

The troop is made up of 53 marines, equipped with high-velocity missiles and lightweight surface-to-air missiles, who defend against enemy air attacks on land and around coastlines.

They lead the way in their area of expertise and are embracing new ways of working to counter the threats of a modern era.

During the battle in the Mojave Desert, the Air Defence Troop worked with its counterparts from the US Marines' 2nd and 3rd Low Altitude Air Defence Battalions.

Air Defence Troop was responsible for protecting forces from the Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Canada and the USA to defend three urban sprawls from their 'enemy'.

Watch: Royal Marines defeat US Marines in gruelling five-day battle exercise.

The Marines were fed intelligence that their 'adversary', made up of US Marines, were likely to strike hard and fast with their air superiority, using Super Cobra attack helicopters, Osprey tiltrotors and Sea Stallion helicopters.

But the troop had three teams deployed in positions across the battlefield, 'destroying' three Super Cobras and a Sea Stallion in the first few hours of the exercise. 

The commandos continued to have success hitting helicopters in the 'battle', as well as convoys with surface-to-surface missiles. 

They also trialled the MRZR vehicle – a 4x4 off-road vehicle capable of carrying four personnel and reaching speeds of 60mph, for rapid movement across the battlefield.

Watch: Amazing first-hand views as Royal Marines learn to drive MRZR Light Strike vehicle.

Using the vehicle, the Royal Marines' kept moving into positions and hamper 'enemy' efforts, eventually forcing them to change tactics with air superiority lost. 

The troop also helped Charlie Company of 40 Commando take a key position, foiling a counter-attack by their 'enemy' and engaging two more Super Cobra helicopters.

The battle was the finale of Exercise Green Dagger, preparing the Royal Marines for operations next year at the US Marine Corps training facility at Twentynine Palms – one of the largest military training facilities in the world.

The newly-formed Littoral Response Group (South) will focus on world events east of the Suez Canal when it becomes operational next year with the addition of amphibious ships and aircraft. 

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