THERE’S some serious military hardware over and off Fife this week.
The east coast of Scotland has been chosen for the largest tactically focused military exercise in Europe from April 16-26 when Exercise Joint Warrior began.
The aim of the exercise is to provide the highest quality training for all three armed services and numerous visiting forces from allied nations.
To achieve this Joint Warrior features a wide-ranging exercise scenario which brings into play every possible situation experienced in complex, modern conflicts.
It involves three sovereign nations, some disputed territory, drug smuggling, piracy, state sponsored terrorism and counter insurgency. The scenario develops over the two-weeks of the exercise, beginning with a period of military and political tension and evolving into simulated war fighting and potential state-on-state hostilities.
Through the exercise the military can practice and hone the many and varied skills needed in today’s modern armed forces.
The tri-service and multinational exercise is conducted in the spring and autumn of each year with HM Naval Base Clyde on the west coast of Scotland hosting the Royal Navy and RAF personnel from the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) who manage and coordinate events.
The upcoming Joint Warrior is set to be bigger than ever with 32 separate naval units from eight different countries taking part, as well as a considerable military air presence and multiple land forces.
RAF Leuchars will see a detachment of French Alpha jets taking part, working alongside UK Hawks and Typhoon aircraft. Nine maritime patrol aircraft, including Canadian and United States P3s and French Atlantique II aircraft, will be based at RAF Lossiemouth for the duration.
There will also be limited night and weekend flying from RAF Lossiemouth supporting the exercise.
A variety of UK and Allied land forces will also be involved, conducting core military training and mission specific training at Defence Training Estate ranges, commercial ranges, Highland Agency and private land areas across the length and breadth of Scotland, including Fife
The UK, USA, Germany, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark and Canada are all contributing with Royal Navy Flagship, HMS Bulwark, hosting The Commander United Kingdom Task Group and Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.
Meanwhile the UK’s Joint Force HQ will deploy to practice its command function afloat on the high readiness helicopter and commando carrier, HMS Illustrious.
Some of the exercise areas overlap with environmentally sensitive conservation zones and the MOD has said that environmental considerations are always taken into account. as a primary consideration when planning exercises.