Royal Marines Future Commando Force Update

According to the UK Ministry of Defence, the Future Commando Force concept for the Royal Marine Commandos continues to gather pace as Marines test new ways of warfighting in Dorset. Overt Defense previously reported on the advent of the Special Purpose Task Group (SPTG), a new quasi-SOF role for the Commandos apparently now known as the Vanguard Strike Company.

Some 60 members of 40 Commando have been active at the Bovington Training Area “testing new equipment and team structures”. Specifically mentioned was experimentation around using a four-man patrol as the basic tactical element, mirroring their colleagues in UKSF (United Kingdom Special Forces). A similar structure is believed to be in place for the newly formed Vanguard Strike Company which “…will lead and inform how the Royal Marines and Army Commandos will operate and fight in a dynamic, technological era of warfare.”

43 Commando members conduct close quarter battle training. Note ballistic shield and L119A1 carbine (Courtesy MOD)

The Vanguard Strike Company is composed of both Royal Marines and Army personnel. “We envisage several of these networked sub-units persistently forward deployed around the globe, with an array of sophisticated enabling capabilities, to present dilemmas to adversaries whilst supporting partners. These will all be at high-readiness, as a capable forward contingency force at the core of the Royal Navy’s Littoral Response Groups,” noted Commandant General Royal Marines, Major General Matt Holmes.

As Overt Defense reported in July, the Royal Marines’ are receiving new Crye MultiCam G4 uniforms known as the Royal Marines’ Commando Uniform 2020. They are also re-equipping with the Colt Canada L119A1 following the 2016 move to swap out the L85A2 with the L119A1 amongst 43 Commando Fleet Protection Group.

A Royal Marine Commando wearing the new Crye G4, aims his L131A1, the UK issue Gen 4 Glock 17 (Courtesy MOD)

The Marines are also experimenting with a helmet mounted camera system designed by the Royal Navy’s innovation team, MarWorks. “The clever bit is not so much the camera on the helmet – it’s how you move that data around the network so people can see it at different levels. Effectively, you could have a guy kicking down a door and then someone in the UK watching them kicking down the door. So some video footage is relevant in the immediate space, some of it is relevant back in the UK on a strategic level,” explained Paul Anderson, technical support on the project. It certainly appears that the Future Commando Force is continuing a shift towards SOF roles and capabilities.