Europe’s Largest Military Exercise Gets Under Way in UK
(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued April 20, 2018)
One of the Royal Navy’s fleet oilers, RFA Tidespring, arrives at Faslane in Scotland to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior, along with over 11,600 military personnel from 17 nations. (RN photo)
More than 11,600 military personnel from 17 nations will take part in Exercise Joint Warrior for two weeks this spring in one of the largest exercises of its kind in Europe, operating out of Her Majesty’s Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde, Scotland.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Joint Warrior prepares our troops in the best way to meet the intensifying threats our country faces by providing a major opportunity to exercise with our allies.

“Our Armed Forces are the face of global Britain, and training side by side with troops from 16 other nations means we are stronger and more capable when it comes to keeping our countries safe and protecting our way of life.”

The bi-annual exercise is running from the 21st April to 4th May, and incorporates all three UK services as well as forces from 16 other nations including Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the US.

Linked to the NATO exercise programme and open to Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Partner Nations, Joint Warrior also hosts non-NATO partners such as Australia, Finland and Sweden. This year the training scenarios involve multiple sovereign nations disputing resources and territories; counter-terrorism and anti-smuggling activity; information warfare; and evacuation operations.

The exercise will provide NATO allies and partner nations the opportunity to train together across air, land, sea and cyber domains, practicing “high-end” war-fighting between near-peer adversaries.

Captain Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff, Captain Paul Pitcher RN, said: “This exercise gives the UK participants a chance to train with our allies and partners, honing our skills and developing our tactics. It is hugely important in making sure that we can fuse all elements of our capabilities, enhancing our ability to conduct joint operations now and in the future.”

It will culminate on Salisbury Plain Training Area on the 3rd May in which JEF forces, including troops from the UK Parachute Regiment, the Danish Jutland Dragoon Regiment, the Lithuanian “Iron Wolf” Brigade and the Latvian Mechanised Infantry Brigade, will conduct urban combat operations with air support provided by Apaches, Chinooks, Wildcats and Tornados.

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Tidespring Arrives In Faslane
(Source: Royal Navy; issued April 20, 2018)
Spring is in the air in Faslane… RFA Tidespring that is, arriving at the Royal Navy’s home north of the border for the very first time.

The first of the UK’s new tankers built specifically to support HMS Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and their task groups, Tidespring is the second largest vessel on the Navy’s books after the future flagship.

After supporting training for Royal Navy and foreign warships off Plymouth, the 37,000-tonne floating petrol station will be key to providing ‘black gold’ to participants of the first of this year’s Joint Warrior exercise, the biannual air, land and sea workout for the UK and Allied armed forces.

The naval element is dictated from Faslane, where ships such as the American Arleigh Burke destroyer USS Ross have begun to gather ahead of JW getting under way in earnest on Sunday and Monday.

Thirty-nine naval units from 13 nations will take part with many of them using maritime exercise areas off the western and northern coasts of Scotland, including Cape Wrath.

Such is the scale and scope of Joint Warrior – run each April and October – that it will also embrace the Sennybridge exercise area just outside the Brecon Beacons and Salisbury Plain.

The exercise is due to conclude on May.

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