Exercise Joint Warrior, a major multinational military exercise organized by the UK Ministry of Defence in north-west Scotland, started on Saturday, 5th October, running until 17th October.
One of the largest exercises in Europe, it involves all three British armed forces, NATO members and allied countries, with a total of 14 nations including Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, Japan, UAE and the US.
During the two weeks of the exercise, the servicemen take part in airborne assaults, amphibious landings and training in counter-insurgency, counter-piracy and interstate war with live-fire exercises on various weapons ranges.
The aim of Joint Warrior is to provide a complex environment for the participants to train in, honing tactics and skills in preparation for deployment as a Combined Joint Task Force, with the ultimate goal of ensuring maximum preparedness in the face of any threat.
Participating in the exercise are almost 4,000 troops, mostly sailors and marines, but also air personnel and soldiers, 58 aircraft, three submarines and 16 ships, including the Royal Navy minehunter HMS Hurworth, HMS Albion and the Type 23 Frigate HMS Sutherland, and the French FS Tonnerre and the German FGS Berlin replenishment ship.
One of the first scenarios was a mock assault by fast-moving speed boats; the type of attack most ships fear, with multiple fast attackers in confined and congested waters.
Referring to the attack, Royal Navy Lieutenant Commander Tom Knott said (for Naval Technology): “We really dialled up the complexity of this ‘beat-’em-up’ exercise – multiple fast-attack craft, the close proximity of land, our helicopter providing machine-gun support and a minehunter for us to protect – this is realistic and highly valuable training.”
UK Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: “As we look ahead to the December NATO Leaders’ meeting in London to mark the alliance’s 70th anniversary, Exercise Joint Warrior provides a timely demonstration of why it is the bedrock of our defence. A wide spectrum of allies and friends will come together, build understanding and sharpen our collective defence. We are stronger and safer together.”
Connected with Joint Warrior is Exercise Griffin Strike, conducted by Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF). Formed in 2010, CJEF was designed to provide short-notice force for the UK and France consisting of land, air and maritime components and over 10,000 people.
Photo: Fast attack swarm around the frigate and minehunter HMS Hurworth. Credit Royal Navy Crown Copyright