The Prime Minister has announced greater collaboration with NATO on its military training exercises to tackle new threats faced by the Alliance.
The agreement comes as the Prime Minister met with the new NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, at Downing Street ahead of the Afghanistan Service of Commemoration.
From next month, the UK’s flagship series of military exercises – Joint Warrior – will officially become part of NATO’s exercise programme and will see up to 12,000 personnel from more than a dozen NATO nations and close partners taking part.
This will be one of the largest air, land and sea training exercises run in Europe and will feature more than 58 warships and submarines, over 50 fixed wing aircraft and nearly 3,000 land forces from the participating nations.
Joint Warrior will prepare personnel for NATO’s next exercise – Trident Juncture – which will take place in the Iberian Peninsula between September and November this year and will be the largest live NATO exercise for over a decade.
The UK’s contribution to this exercise will include an Army Brigade Headquarters and Battlegroup, a Naval Task Force including helicopter carrier, assault ship, a frigate and Mine Counter Measure Vessel and RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft.
Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
These exercises showcase the breadth of the UK’s military capability and demonstrate the strength of the NATO Alliance.
We will continue to play a leading role in NATO and, by working together with our Allies, we send a clear message to those who threaten us – that the UK and NATO have the military capabilities, resolve and ability to support our Eastern Allies and defend our own waters and airspace.
In preparation for NATO’s HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps – based in Gloucestershire – becoming the standby Joint Task Force Headquarters in 2015-16, NATO will run a training exercise involving around 850 UK troops.
Exercise Arrcade Fusion will take place in the Baltic States towards the end of the year and will contribute to the development of NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Taskforce, which the UK will be the lead nation on once it is established in 2017.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
Exercise Joint Warrior provides realistic training platforms for our armed forces, testing the vast capabilities of the three services while working very closely alongside our Allies. Making it part of the NATO programme will act as a timely reminder to the world of just how proud and powerful the Alliance is.