Exercise Joint Warrior, Europe’s largest military exercise, has begun off the coast of Scotland with involvement from 22 ships and submarines.
The exercise happens twice a year and is hosted in the UK involving the three Armed Forces and a number of nations to practise how they all work together.
As well as the vast number of warships there will be 52 fixed wing aircraft from the Fleet Air Arm and RAF and nearly 3500 personnel taking part.
Ex Joint Warrior provides a complex environment in which UK, NATO and allied units can go through training together in tactics and skills for use in a combined joint task force.
The exercise runs through a range of scenarios, including crisis and conflict situations, that could be realistically encountered in operations – such as disputed territory, terrorist activity and piracy.
It also delivers specialist maritime training, bringing together the theatres of air, surface, underwater and amphibious forces.
Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group One (SNMCMG1), under the leadership of Lithuanian Navy Commander Giedrius Premeneckas, is one of the key forces taking part.
This deployment marks the first time that the Lithuanian Navy has taken command of one of NATO’s Standing Naval Forces with the Lithuanian Minelayer LNS Jotvingis leading the group’s minehunters.
These are the Belgian Navy’s BNS Crocus, the German Navy’s FGS Datteln, the Polish Navy’s ORP Flaming, the Norwegian Navy’s HNoMS Karmoey, the Estonian Navy’s ENS Sakala, the Latvian Navy’s LVNS Talialdis and the Dutch Navy’s HNLMS Zierlkzee.
The Royal Navy has committed Type 45 destroyer HMS Duncan and minehunters HMS Blyth, HMS Middleton, HMS Pembroke and HMS Brocklesby to the exercise alongside Hawks from the Fleet Air Arm and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.
Countries taking part are the UK, the United States, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Norway, Spain, Germany, Lithuania, Belgium, Poland, Estonia and Latvia, with the US Navy’s Commander Destroyer Squadron 26 assuming overall command of the task group.
Press Release, October 09, 2014; Image: UK Navy