Royal Marines conduct reconnaissance training in the Arctic Circle ahead of Exercise Cold Response 02032022 (3) CREDIT MOD .jpg
The Royal Marines pictured here on reconnaissance training in the Arctic Circle, are an elite amphibious force of the Royal Navy, held at very high readiness for worldwide rapid response and threat neutralisation (Picture: MOD).
Navy

The five arms of the Royal Navy explained

The arms of the Royal Navy work together to protect the nation's interests at sea, on land, and in the air.

Royal Marines conduct reconnaissance training in the Arctic Circle ahead of Exercise Cold Response 02032022 (3) CREDIT MOD .jpg
The Royal Marines pictured here on reconnaissance training in the Arctic Circle, are an elite amphibious force of the Royal Navy, held at very high readiness for worldwide rapid response and threat neutralisation (Picture: MOD).

The Royal Navy has five arms working together to protect the nation's interests at sea, on land, and in the air. 

Tasked with the role of the protection and stability on high seas are the Surface Fleet, Submarine Service, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Marines and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Find out more about the five arms below.

Surface Fleet

The Royal Navy Surface Fleet provides a fighting force for a full range of potential military operations – from maritime security to disaster relief – and is crucial in ensuring Britain's maritime defence.

According to the Royal Navy, the Surface Fleet gives the Navy "versatility, global presence and resilience".

Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is the joint largest and most powerful ship ever built for the Royal Navy with her fellow carrier HMS Prince of Wales.

These formidable warships strengthened the Surface Fleet and increased the Navy's reach, acting both as a powerful symbol of Britain's international influence and as a deterrent to those who could do the nation harm.

In March, the warship HMS Prince of Wales left Portsmouth to lead a NATO task force to Norway for the largest Arctic exercise in 30 years.

Watch: HMS Queen Elizabeth's CSG, mission accomplished.

Submarine Service

The Submarine Service patrols the world's oceans on covert operations, remaining silent and unseen.

Their Vanguard class submarines provide the UK's independent strategic nuclear deterrent, operating at continuous patrol cycles at sea.

Since 1968, the Royal Navy has upheld a patrol mission of Continuous At Sea Deterrence. The new Dreadnought class will look to replace the current Vanguard-class submarines when they reach the end of their lifecycle.

In operating submarines for more than a century, the Royal Navy has always been at the forefront of underwater warfare and has built a lasting reputation for professionalism and courage.

Using their potent armament of torpedos and precision land-attack missiles, the Submarine Service's attack boats have the capability to seek out and destroy surface vessels, other submarines and land targets.

Watch: HMS Dreadnought is scheduled to enter service in the early 2030s.

Fleet Air Arm

The Fleet Air Arm (FAA) is the aviation branch of the Royal Navy, which operates all the Royal Navy's aircraft, delivering airpower in support of operations and projecting the UK's influence over land, air and sea.

FAA roles range from humanitarian operations to securing the seas, fighting terrorism and landing troops onto hostile shores.

The FAA uses technologically advanced aircraft and world-leading expertise to act as the spearhead of the entire Royal Navy.

Capable of performing multiple roles is the FAA's F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. From ground attack to air superiority, the cutting-edge fixed-wing fighter jet is an essential part of the Fleet Air Arm's offensive strike capabilities.

Watch: Timeline of UK's F-35B fighter fleet as it hit 10,000 flight hours.

Royal Marines

The Royal Marines are the UK's Commando Force and the Royal Navy's own amphibious troops.

They are an elite fighting force, optimised for worldwide rapid response and are able to deal with a wide spectrum of threats and security challenges.

Fully integrated with the Royal Navy's amphibious ships, they can be deployed globally without host nation support and projected from the sea to conduct operations on land.

A key component of the Royal Navy's maritime security function, they provide a unique capability and are experts in ship-to-ship operations.

Watch: Incredible footage of Royal Marines 'helicasting' off Chinooks.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) delivers worldwide logistic and operational support to Royal Navy military operations. It is the uniformed civilian branch of the Naval Service, staffed by UK merchant sailors.

Fully integrated into frontline warships, the RFA is an essential element of how the Royal Navy operates with freedom around the globe.

The RFA supports a wide spectrum of operations from high-tempo upthreat war-fighting to counter-piracy, disaster relief, counter-narcotics, law enforcement and evacuation operations.