UK forces and their international allies are set to test their capabilities to the limit during what is planned to be the largest military exercise in Europe this year

early 13,000 military personnel from nine countries, including 5,250 from the UK, will take part in Exercise Joint Warrior this month. Taking place twice a year, the exercise aims to test and improve the way that the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force work together and with their counterparts from allied nations on operations.

Joint Warrior, which will run from 15 to 29 April in locations across the UK, will involve the full spectrum of military operations spanning all aspects of warfare, testing command and control procedures at both the strategic and tactical levels of conflict.

Exercises are designed to help prepare the Armed Forces for a wide range of operations they may be called upon to mount and will include:

  • a dramatic airborne air assault and amphibious landings supported by both support and attack helicopters
  • training for security and counterinsurgency tasks
  • maritime operations with 49 ships from the Royal Navy, Canada, The Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and other allies securing the high seas and countering piracy
  • the involvement of up to 40 fixed-wing aircraft including RAF Tornados and Typhoons alongside Rafael and Super Etendard from the French Carrier Air Group
  • the participation of Maritime Patrol Aircraft from partner nations such as the USA, Brazil and Canada.

The Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond MP, said: “Exercises of this type ensure that our Armed Forces are prepared to meet any challenge. They give us the chance to test the way the different Services and different nations work together, something that is vital in a multi-lateral world.”

A variety of other UK and Allied Land forces will conduct Forward Air Control (FAC) training in Scotland and Northern England using defence training areas, commercial ranges, and private land areas. These will include UK units as well as US, French, Swedish, German, Italian and Dutch Marine FACs. Elements of Joint Ground Based Air Defence including Rapier fire units from 16 Regiment Royal Artillery will also practice air defence during Exercise Joint Warrior.

Exercise Joint Warrior is co-ordinated by a core team of Royal Navy and RAF personnel who make up the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) based at Northwood HQ in London. During the exercise staff deploy to the Joint Warfare Operations Centre (JWOC) based at Her Majesty’s Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland. A number of scenarios will be run to test capabilities in the areas of counter-terrorism, counter-smuggling, counter-piracy and interstate warfare among others.