Major military exercise on east coast

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THE LARGEST tactically focused military exercise in Europe will take place in and off the East of Scotland from April 15 to 25.

Exercise Joint Warrior is conducted in the spring and autumn of each year and provides high quality training for all three UK Armed Services as well as numerous visiting units from allied nations.

Up to 40 fixed wing aircraft will take part, including Tornado GR4s from Lossiemouth and Typhoons from RAF Leuchars. Leuchars will also play host to the French Naval Carrier Air Group while French carrier, the Charles de Gaulle, is undergoing maintenance.

Consisting of Rafale, Super Etendard and E2C Hawkeye aircraft this deployment builds on the heightened defence cooperation between the UK and France.

Meanwhile RAF Lossiemouth will host nine Maritime Patrol Aircraft from Canada, France, and, taking part for the first time, Brazil. These aircraft will provide 24 hour coverage necessitating flying at night and during the weekend.

There is also significant land participation at Defence Training Estate ranges, commercial ranges, Highland Agency and private land areas around the country.

Countries set to take part in the maritime part of the exercise include the UK, Belgium, Germany, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark, Canada and Sweden. All in all there will be 60 separate naval units involved operating at points around the east coast of Scotland.

The giant exercise will see a broad range of military skills practised. The scenario simulates a number of current and potential future operations and involves multiple sovereign nations, disputed territory, asymmetric threats, terrorist activity as well as piracy.

Developing over the two weeks, the scenario will see a period of increasing tension and uncertainty before evolving into simulated operations and state on state hostilities.

Planning for the exercise has been extensive with JTEPS staff visiting communities and stakeholders affected to ensure that any environmental impact is minimised.

During Exercise Joint Warrior there will also be temporary radar and communications jamming, but will be limited to a confined area in the North West of Scotland. The relevant authorities, including aviation and maritime communities, have been consulted and a risk assessment put in place to minimise the impact of the activity. Robust procedures are in place for any unforeseen eventuality.