The West Coast is currently hosting elements of the largest live, tactically focused, military exercise being held in Europe this year with Exercise Joint Warrior beginning on March 28.
The massive, two-week, exercise entails participation from 34 naval units from eight different countries and, across land, sea and air, some 13,000 military personnel. The multinational training will give troops a chance to hone a broad range of military skills in a realistic platform.
Many of the ships are operating in Scottish exercise areas off the west coast and around the Hebrides during the fortnight and 200 additional personnel – many of them Maritime Reservists – will descent upon HM Naval Base Clyde to coordinate events.
Countries taking part in the naval part of the exercise include the UK, US, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Turkey and Norway.
There will also be Amphibious landings on the west coast led by 40 Commando Royal Marines along with Dutch and Belgian Commando Groups.
Meanwhile, RAF Leuchars in Fife will operate Typhoons during the fortnight and Maritime Patrol Aircraft from the US, Canada, France, Norway and New Zealand will operate from RAF Lossiemouth.
Core military training and mission specific training will also be taking place on military and private ranges throughout Scotland.
An essential part of the exercise is training in temporary radar and communication jamming. GPS jamming is limited to a confined area in the North West of Scotland and the relevant authorities, including aviation and maritime communities, have been consulted and procedures are in place for any unforeseen activity.
Exercise Joint Warrior gives all three UK armed Services and international partners the chance to train for the challenges of modern warfare. Skills practiced include: maritime task force training; anti-submarine warfare; mine countermeasures training; counter piracy, narcotics and insurgency; close air support; logistics support; and electronic warfare training.
The major exercise has been months in the planning with the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) engaging with local communities and key stakeholders around the country.
During the planning, environmental impact assessments have been produced where required to ensure that environmental mitigation procedures are in place.