Two Royal Navy warships, HMS Bulwark and HMS Sutherland, have sailed from Devonport to take part in Exercise Joint Warrior, the largest military exercise in Western Europe this year.
Starting this weekend, Joint Warrior takes place in the water, skies and soils of Scotland, starting on the east coast and working round to the west coast.
More than a dozen Royal Navy (RN) warships and submarines are committed to the annual war game, which will be directed from Faslane at Clyde Naval Base.
British warships will be joined by more than 30 visiting warships, 40 fixed-wing aircraft and 30 helicopters.
Alongside RN, RAF and Army personnel taking part in Joint Warrior, forces from the Netherlands, Canada, France, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Poland, Sweden and Germany are involved – nearly 12,000 military personnel in all.
Joining HMS Sutherland and HMS Bulwark are Plymouth based frigate HMS Montrose, survey ship HMS Echo and submarine HMS Talent.
HMS Bulwark Commanding Officer, Captain Andrew Burns, said:
“The exercise presents us with many opportunities, enhancing interoperability with our foreign allies and partner nations, develop our operational edge and maintain our readiness to deploy anywhere in the world if required.”
Once Joint Warrior has concluded, the Response Force Task Group staff will pore over the lessons and introduce them in time for the summer when the force deploys on Exercise Cougar 13, once again to the Mediterranean and beyond, with elements including counter-piracy operations and wider maritime security duties.
Naval Today Staff, April 11, 2013; Image: Royal Navy