Australian military personnel are set to contribute to a UK-led NATO exercise in Scotland, aimed at bolstering Carrier Strike Group capability.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has announced that the Royal Navy’s largest warship, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will support a British-led NATO Carrier Strike Group (CSG) as part of Exercise Joint Warrior, scheduled to take place next Monday (5 October) off the coast of north west Scotland.
HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accompanied by F-35B stealth jets from both the UK and the US, training together in British skies for the first time.
The embarkment of US Marine Corps F-35B jets and their UK counterparts on HMS Queen Elizabeth would mark the largest number of aircraft at sea on a British Royal Navy carrier since 1983, and the largest number of F-35B jets at sea in history.
The 11-day exercise will involve approximately 6,000 personnel from 11 nations, 81 aircraft, 28 ships and two submarines.
NATO allies taking part include the UK, US, Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark, Norway and Lithuania, with a contribution from Australia, a NATO Enhanced Opportunity Partner.
Exercise Joint Warrior, which takes place twice a year, is designed to train NATO forces for high-readiness deployments on operations, with next week’s exercise aimed at developing the UK’s CSG capability.
The UK’s Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, said Exercise Joint Warrior would serve as a powerful display of the military might of NATO’s forces.
“Allies and adversaries alike will not fail to take note of the powerful new contribution the UK’s Carrier Strike Group offers NATO when it participates in Exercise Joint Warrior next week,” Minister Heappey said.
“With US and UK F-35B jets exercising together over our shoes for the first as part of a group featuring 6,000 personnel from 11 nations, this UK-led exercise underlines the leading role we play in upholding European security through NATO.”
The UK’s Ministry of Defence has noted that a range of mitigations measures have been put in place to reduce the risks posed by the COVID-19 virus, in a bid to protect all armed forces personnel and the general public.