A MULTI-NATIONAL military exercise will see a dramatic increase in military activity in the skies above Ayrshire and the seas along the west coast of Scotland.
The UK-hosted multinational, tri-service exercise Joint Warrior starts this weekend with warships and personnel already making their presence known along the Ayrshire coast.
Prestwick airport will also continue to play a significant part in the training exercise with an increase in military aircraft operating and visiting the airport.
The exercise will be attended by 16 nations who will take part in a range of manoeuvres over a course of two weeks.
Before the actual at sea manoeuvres start, the participating vessels will pull into ports along the west coast including Faslane Naval Base and along the Clyde for the weekend where the harbour-phase of the naval portion of the exercise is to take place. Navies from the USA, Denmark, Norway, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands are taking part.
The biannual exercise Joint Warrior is linked directly with the NATO Military Training Exercise Programme and is designed, planned and delivered by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) based at Northwood in London.
The exercise runs through a range of scenarios, including crisis and conflict situations, that could be realistically encountered in operations – disputed territory, terrorist activity, piracy and more.
The exercise usually takes place in the spring and autumn, but 2018 will see only one edition of the exercise. The autumn session is being replaced this year by a larger exercise in Norway.
Warships taking part in the exercise will include ships from NATO’s SNMG 1, composed of group flagship frigate HDMS Niels Juel, German corvette FGS Erfurt, Canadian frigate HMCS St. John’s and Turkish frigate TCG Gediz.
Other ships known to be taking part are Royal Navy Tide-class tanker RFA Tidespring and landing ship dock RFA Lyme Bay, French aviso FS Commandant L-Herminier, Dutch frigate HNLMS Evertsen, US destroyer USS Ross and German frigate Lubeck and tanker Spessart.
Joint Warrior is likely to be attended by one or more submarines, but their movements mostly remain undisclosed which means no official announcements on submarine units have been made.
If you are planning on visiting the coast, especially during the first few days of the exercise with a view of getting a look at the flotilla as the warships head out to sea, please be sure to take extra care and not to put yourself at any risk for the sake of a photograph.