Largest military exercise in Europe heads to Hebrides

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The largest tactically focused military exercise in Europe will be heading to the Hebrides from April 16-26 when Exercise Joint Warrior begins.

The tri-service and multinational exercise is conducted in the spring and autumn of each year with HM Naval Base Clyde on the west coast of Scotland hosting the Royal Navy and RAF personnel from the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) who manage and coordinate events.

The upcoming Joint Warrior is set to be bigger than ever with 32 separate naval units from eight different countries taking part, as well as a considerable military air presence and multiple land forces.

Many of the naval and air units will be operating in the seas and skies around the Hebrides with the UK, USA, Germany, Holland, France, Norway, Denmark and Canada all contributing.

Royal Navy Flagship, HMS Bulwark, is hosting The Commander United Kingdom Task Group and Commander Standing NATO Maritime Group 1.

Meanwhile the UK’s Joint Force HQ will deploy to practice its command function afloat on the High Readiness Helicopter and Commando Carrier, HMS Illustrious.

The aim of the exercise is to provide the highest quality training for all three Armed Services and the numerous visiting forces from allied nations.

Some of the exercise areas overlap with environmentally sensitive conservation zones and the MOD has said that environmental considerations will always be taken into account as a primary consideration when planning exercises.

During the planning of Joint Warrior environmental impact assessments have been produced where required, such as for the use of Active Sonar and live weapons.

Exercise planners have also forged a close working relationship with landowners and key national stakeholders, as well as engaging with local communities to ensure that environmental mitigation procedures are put in place and adhered to.