Royal Marines

Royal Marines sharpen skills to protect the UK's nuclear deterrent

Watch: Royal Marines train for their 'no-fail' nuclear deterrent mission.

Royal Marines have completed a vital training exercise to help strengthen their role of protecting the UK's nuclear-armed submarines and their home base in Faslane.

Marines from 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group took part in Exercise Tartan Eagle over a two-week period in Chesapeake, Virginia, working alongside their colleagues from the US Marine Corps. 

The annual event is held so the Royal Marines can sharpen their skills so they can protect the Royal Navy's Vanguard-class submarines.

At the end of the exercise, the specialist commandos put their skills into practice on a final training mission which involved facing down a group attempting to sabotage vital national infrastructure.

"We cordoned off the area so that our Recapture Tactics Team could clear through the building, dealing with occupants ranging from armed individuals to civilians working in the area," said Marine Beckett.


"This massively improved our operational capability and let us put skills we had rehearsed while at HMNB Clyde (His Majesty's Naval Base Clyde) into practice.

"This is a type of training we don’t get to conduct while back in the UK, giving us a unique experience to take back home."

Exercise Tartan Eagle alternates between the UK and the US, and ensures the marines from both nations are kept sharp for their specialist role.

The first week was spent on the ranges where the US contingent introduced their British counterparts to the M4A1 rifle and M18 pistol.

The week ended in a competition shoot, which the Royal Marines won 3-1.

British Royal Marine Commandos practice room clearing a stairwell during close-quarters battle training at Naval Support Activity Northwest Annex, Chesapeake Virginia (Picture: SSgt. Servante R. Coba).
Royal Marine Commandos practise clearing a stairwell during their close-quarters battle training during Tartan Eagle (Picture: SSgt Servante R Coba)

The second week saw them studying complicated military doctrine for close-quarters battle and using live ammunition in a shoot house.

The UK has four Vanguard-class submarines armed with Trident missiles which form the UK's continuous-at-sea-deterrent (CASD).

Tartan Eagle focuses on preparing marines for the 24/7 365-day security requirements that are needed to protect the UK's ultimate weapon.

The Royal Marines have since returned to the UK for immediate deployment on operational tasking and will help host the US in the UK-based component of the exercise.

US Marines and British Royal Marines training with M18 pistols in order to increase proficiency during Exercise Tartan Eagle (Picture: SSgt. Servante R. Coba).
US Marines and Royal Marines train with M18 pistols in order to increase proficiency during Exercise Tartan Eagle (Picture: SSgt Servante R Coba)

Join Our Newsletter


Queen's Royal Hussars mark Nato mission homecoming and anniversary

Britain's nuclear bomb guinea pigs: The untold story

RAF Typhoon fighter jets land and take off from a road for first time