ROYAL NAVY

Op Kipion in the Gulf is a tri-service operation and multi-national effort aimed primarily at keeping the sea lanes open and operating freely.

For the British contingent, the newly opened UK Naval Support Facility (UKNSF) enhances the capabilities of the continued commitment while giving the personnel an improved way of life.

It comprises of a command element, The United Kingdom Component Command (UKMCC) which is responsible for the wider region, across the Gulf and the Indian Ocean, exercising command and control of the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships.

Forces Radio BFBS' Chris Keen spoke to Captain Don Maccinnon about how things have improved at UKNSF.

"It allows us to do more of what we've done in the past, far better than we've ever been able to."

The Gulf region is home to three of the most important maritime strategic choke points in the world, the Bab-el-Mandeb, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Hormuz. These narrow sea channels must be kept in use at all times for global trade purposes.

Part of the role the UKNSF plays is to keep those chokepoints clear and open. What goes through those chokepoints every day at sea directly affects what happens at home.

"It's supermarket shelves, it's lights staying on back in the UK.

"The mine countermeasure vessels are an important part of making sure those chokepoints are kept open and free for trade 24/7, 365 days a year."

The UK Naval Support Facility is a game changer and will change the way that men and women in the Royal Navy look at future deployments. After spending weeks at sea the new UKNSF allows them to come ashore and get some much needed down time.

The facility offers spacious bedrooms, two gyms, a cookhouse and all of the latest entertainment including gaming and a Cinelink where the newest films are available to watch.

Forces Radio BFBS is also available via MiPlayer and the studios are situated in the welfare block so people can visit the studios to get a message home or just to get their favourite song played.

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