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Major NATO Exercise Set to Begin in Scottish Waters

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Live firing on HMS Defender during a previous exercise

The seas off the North Coast of Scotland will play host to significant elements of the major NATO exercise Steadfast Defender which began in January and will continue until the end of March, with almost every allied nation taking part.

Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 is the largest NATO exercise in decades, during which the Alliance will demonstrate its ability to reinforce the Euro-Atlantic area via trans-Atlantic movement of forces from North America.

This year, Exercise Joint Warrior will be part of this much bigger exercise, with only limited activity in Scottish waters from 26 February until 3 March.

Joint Warrior 241 will then lead into Exercise Nordic Response 24 with activity moving to the waters off Norway.

Fundamental to the activity in UK territorial waters will be gunnery exercises, which will take place from 26-29 February on the Ministry of Defence Cape Wrath Firing Range, with NATO forces and partner nations training together to develop skills in the coordination of naval gunfire.

Participating nations in Joint Warrior include Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Exercises like Joint Warrior are vital tools which allow the NATO Allied nations to work and train together in a realistic, but controlled environment.

Military personnel have the opportunity to hone their skills and test the latest technologies in order to better protect NATO communities from ballistic missile threat.

Over 7,000 personnel will be afloat in vessels including aircraft carriers, amphibious assault ships, destroyers, frigates, patrol vessels, minehunters, submarines, and auxiliaries. 

In addition, there will be approximately 100 fast jets and 30 helicopters involved, supported by surveillance, patrol, and air-to-air refuelling aircraft throughout.

Planned by Joint Training and Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS), this year the exercise will be coordinated and controlled from the Joint Warfare Centre in Stavanger, Norway.

Exercise planning staff have liaised with a wide variety of communities and organisations ahead of the exercise to minimise the impact of military activity.  

Further information on Exercise Joint Warrior, including notices to mariners and impact statements, can be found by visiting the King’s Harbour Master Clyde’s page on the Royal Navy Website at  Exercise Joint Warrior | Royal Navy (mod.uk)

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