Flight deck operations on HMS Illustrious during Exercise Joint Warrior (library image) [Picture: Petty Officer (Photographer) Ray Jones, Crown copyright]
27 March 2014 Ministry of Defence
Multinational forces will be training off Scotland this weekend as part of Europe's largest military exercise.
Exercise Joint Warrior will be hosted in the UK and will incorporate all 3 UK armed services: the Royal Navy, the British Army and the Royal Air Force (RAF).
The exercise, which began on 25 March, will engage more than 35 warships, 25 different types of aircraft, and a total of nearly 13,000 personnel from the various participating nations, which include the USA, Turkey, Germany, Belgium, France, Holland and Denmark.
Ships, submarines, aircraft and ground troops from the UK, US and other allies will be taking part, battling each other at sea, in the air and on land in an area which stretches from the Irish Sea, north to Cape Wrath and east to the Moray Firth.
Exercise Joint Warrior represents a valuable opportunity to demonstrate the range of capabilities available for contingency operations and provides excellent training which tests the high readiness capabilities of the armed forces.
Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister for International Security Strategy, said:
Exercise Joint Warrior is an initiative dating back over 30 years and continues to provide realistic training platforms for our armed forces, testing the vast capabilities of the 3 services.
This exercise sees us working with our international allies, including the US, Netherlands, France, Turkey, Norway and Nato, and will be the largest live, tactically-focused exercise held in Europe this year.
The Royal Navy has 12 ships taking part in the exercise, including amphibious vessels, destroyers, frigates and mine countermeasures vessels.
The crews involved will use the exercise to prepare for their imminent deployments to the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Middle East, where they will carry out activities including deterring adversaries, conducting maritime security operations, reassuring allies and providing humanitarian disaster relief.
Nearly 1,300 commandos from 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, including force elements from 24 Commando Engineer Regiment and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, will be embedded across the ships, enabling them to undertake a large-scale amphibious assault on a beach in Cumbria.
The RAF will provide fast jet aircraft in the form of Hawks, Tornados and Typhoons, and will simulate enemy aircraft and missiles as well as providing conventional air warfare capability. In addition to this, RAF surveillance aircraft will supply the Royal Navy with a detailed picture of enemy movements and positions.
The British Army will be represented on the exercise by members of 16 Air Assault Brigade, who will be joined by RAF, Army and Commando Helicopter Forces, with Apache, Chinook, Sea King, Lynx, Merlin and Puma helicopters providing critical attack support and reconnaissance capabilities.
Logistic support to air assets will be provided by the Tactical Supply Wing of the RAF.