The exercise in Scotland has already seen the Royal Navy and allied nations protecting their ships from mock swarm attacks and testing interoperability. It also saw the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) testing its mettle in preparation for becoming operational next year.
UK Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said: “A wide spectrum of allies and friends will come together, build understanding and sharpen our collective defence. We are stronger and safer together.”
The biannual exercise is designed to strengthen cooperation between the countries involved and keep the different branches of the UK’s armed forces prepared for deployment.
The countries participating are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey the US, UK, Japan and UAE, requiring a herculean effort to pull the exercise together. Here is what they brought with them.
A total of 16 ships were mobilised for the exercise, bringing together vessels from the UK, France, US, Germany and Denmark. These ships fill a number of different roles from mine warfare and fleet auxiliary to frigates and destroyers.
On the mine warfare front the Royal Navy mobilised the HMS Penzance, HMS Ramsey, HMS Hurworthand HMS Chiddingfold. The ships are split between the Royal Navy’s two variants of minehunting vessels, the Hunt and Sandown classes. They pave the way for larger vessels to safely pass through contested waters, eliminating the hidden dangers of undersea mines. These British vessels are joined by the French minehunter FS Céphée Tripartite-class ship, which was built collaboratively between France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Getting into the larger vessels, two amphibious ships were also made available for the exercise, RFA Lyme Bay and HMS Albion. HMS Albion has played a central role in the exercise, hosting personnel from the Royal Navy and Marines from the French Armed Forces taking part in mock amphibious assaults. France also deployed its equivalent of the HMS Albion, FS Tonnerre training in far rougher seas than its usual Mediterranean waters.
On the frigate front the Royal Navy deployed the Type 23 HMS Sutherland, joined by the French frigate FS La Motte-Picquet and Danish ship HMDS Iver Huitfeldt. The Iver Huitfeldt’s shape will soon be a familiar sight for British sailors as the ship formed the basis for Babcock’s successful bid to build the UK’s five new Type 31 frigates. The Iver Huitfeldt is primarily an air-defence ship filling in a similar role to the UK’s Type 45 Destroyers.
Playing an auxiliary role, the US sent the USNS William McLean Lewis and Clark class cargo ship to Scotland with the UK mobilising the RFA Tidesurge and RFA Argus and Germany sending FGS Berlin. The Tidesurge is a replenishment tanker and one of four in-class replenishment vehicles used by the Royal Navy. The ship class is central in the operation of a UK Carrier Strike group, which would leverage ships like Tidesurge to stay at sea for longer.
Three submarines were also mobilised for the exercise however the Ministry of Defence did not confirm what boats these were.
A Merlin Mk2 of 814 Naval Air Squadron provides over watch for HMS Hurworth. Credits: MOD Crown Copyright.
The majority of the airpower guarding the skies above the naval and land operations of Exercise Joint Warrior comes from the UK, however Aircraft from the USA, Canada and France have also played a significant role.
On a fixed wing front, the exercises include two F-35Bs from the RAF’s 617 Squadron; eight Eurofighter Typhoons and eight Hawks from the RAF have also been mobilised. The UK has also made available a number of fixed-wing aircraft made for ISR, cargo and communications duties. These come in the form of one Sentinel, one Rivet Joint, one Voyager and one C-130J Hercules.
The US has sent two P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, a model which has also been bought by the RAF, to take part in Joint Warrior. The aircraft specialise in anti-submarine warfare and are key in keeping tabs on the waters of the North Atlantic for the UK and US. Another patrol aircraft, albeit inland-deployed, are two CP-140 from the Royal Canadian Air Force and two Bréguet Atlantique maritime patrol aircraft from France.
In terms of rotorcraft, the exercise has mobilised one Lynx helicopter, two Merlin helicopters from the Royal Navy’s 814 Naval Air Squadron and three CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters. The Chinooks have already been used to embark and disembark French marines from HMS Albion.
International rotorcraft include one MH-60 Sikorsky Seahawk from Denmark and one Aérospatiale Alouette light helicopter supplied by France.
Chinook leaves HMS Albion during Joint Warrior. Credits: MOD Crown Copyright.
The land power on display draws from a range of units across the Royal Navy, British Army, and the armed forces of Spain, the Netherlands, France and the UAE, along with personnel from the rest of the nations involved.
Some of the troops and ordnance deployed come from the British Army’s oldest regiment, the Honourable Artillery Company, which was first activated in 1537. The regiment specialises in reconnaissance and field artillery using the L118 105mm light-gun.
Other personnel include 30 BIMa (French marines), soldiers from the UAE’s Emirati Ground Force, and Spanish and Dutch fire support teams. Elements of the British Royal Marines are also taking part in the exercise.
French Armed Forces personnel on-board a Chinook transport helicopter. Credits: MOD Crown Copyright.
The full list of equipment follows:
Command Battle Staff
Commander UK Strike Force (COMUKSTRKFOR), French Maritime Force (FRMARFOR), Commander Littoral Strike Group (COMLSG), UK Mine Warfare Battle Staff (UK MWBS)
Mine warfare: HMS Penzance, HMS Ramsey, HMS Hurworth, HMS Chiddingfold, FS Cephee
Amphibious Ships: RFA Lyme Bay -Landing Ship Dock (A), HMS Albion- Landing Platform Dock, FS Tonnere- Landing Platform Helicopter/Dock
Frigates/Destroyers: Type 23 HMS Sutherland, FS La Motte-Picquet, HDMS Iver Huitfeldt
Auxiliary: RFA Tidesurge, RFA Argus, FGS Berlin, USNS William McClean, unnamed submarines x 3.
Land: 1 Sqn Honourable Artillery Company, 2/3 Sqn Honourable Artillery Company, Emirati Ground Force, 148 Battery, 29 Cdo RA – Fire Support Team, Spanish Marines -Fire Support Team, Dutch- Fire Support Team, 12 Battery Royal artillery, Elements of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines HQ, French 30 BIMA -French Marines.
Fixed Wing: 2 x Lightning (617 Sqn), 8 x Typhoon (1/9/12/41 Sqns), 8 x Hawk (100/736 Sqns), 1 x Sentinel (5 Sqn), 1 x Rivet Joint (51 Sqn), 1 x Voyager (101 Sqn), 1 x C130 (47 Sqn), 2 X CP-140 (Canadian), 2 x Atlantique (French), 2 x P8 (USA).
Rotary Wing: 1 x Lynx, 2 x Merlin 814 Sqn (SUTH), 1 x MH60-Danish, 1 x Alouette French, 3 x CH47.