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Scottish ports welcome NATO warships after major exercise

7 October 2021
SCOTTISH ports have welcomed a host of international warships following the completion of a major NATO exercise.

Exercise Joint Warrior ran for two-weeks, beginning on September 18, with ships, submarines, and aircraft from ten nations using the maritime training grounds off the coast of Scotland to hone their military skills.

The huge exercise finished on September 30 and several of the exercise participants have taken advantage of Scotland’s ports to stop-off before the journey homeward.

The Port of Leith hosted three NATO vessels on Saturday, October 2, including Portuguese vessel NRP Corte Real.

Over on the West Coast of Scotland, Greenock also played its part with two Dutch ships using the port to offload Commando Forces.  Meanwhile, at Glasgow’s King George V Docks Royal Navy Type 23 Frigate HMS Lancaster also visited.

The Portsmouth-based ship, which was built on the Clyde, recently completed a 3,000 kilometre round-trip through the Norwegian Sea into the Arctic Circle.  After a quick refuelling at the Shetland Isles, Lancaster went on to join Exercise Joint Warrior.

While in Glasgow, HMS Lancaster opened to invited visitors, hosting members of the Scottish Maritime Cluster, Maritime Enterprise, Reservist Employers, Police Scotland Resilience planners and Academic Partners.  The visitors were given a tour of the sophisticated ship which recently underwent a major refit to her Artisan 3D radar and to her air-defence capabilities provided by Sea Ceptor missiles.

Lord Provost of Glasgow, Philip Braat, joined HMS Lancaster as she sailed up the River Clyde.  It was a chance for the Lord Provost, who is also an honorary Captain in the Royal Navy, to see the ship’s company bringing the warship alongside. He was also joined by Susan Donnelly, Argyll & Bute Council’s Civil Contingencies Manager and Jim McSporrin, Port Manager for Peel Ports.

The devolved nations play a vital role in the UK’s Defence and security. The Scottish exercise areas are important maritime training grounds, allowing the UK and NATO partners to practice vital skills in a safe and controlled environment.

Brigadier Andy Muddiman ADC

Commander Will Blackett, HMS Lancaster’s Commanding Officer, said: “After being at the heart of Exercise Joint Warrior 21 alongside 19 other NATO warships, I am delighted that HMS Lancaster now has the opportunity to visit Glasgow and be so close to the ship-building home of our next generation of Type 26 Frigates.”

The Island of Orkney was also visited by French Navy ships FS Normandie and FS Cassiopee who were at Kirkwall for five days from October 1.  Onboard was French Naval Attaché. 

Brigadier Andy Muddiman ADC, Naval Regional Commander Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “It was fantastic to see so many NATO vessels visit multiple ports in and around Scotland and Northern Ireland.  It has been a productive and exciting time for the Royal Navy and allied navies and a busy period for those who coordinate and oversee this effort.  

“Over the last fortnight or so my team has assisted in some seven Scottish port visits comprising 13 individual ships, all demonstrating the Royal Navy’s continuous commitment to longstanding international relationships and our place at the heart of NATO.

“HMS Lancaster’s visit to King George V dock in Glasgow, hard on the heels of intensive training and operations in the North Atlantic provided an ideal opportunity to showcase capability and host key resilience partners, maritime businesses and local community representatives.”

Brigadier Muddiman continued: “The devolved nations play a vital role in the UK’s Defence and security.  The Scottish exercise areas are important maritime training grounds, allowing the UK and NATO partners to practice vital skills in a safe and controlled environment.”

Exercise Joint Warrior saw involvement by some 27 surface ships, three submarines, eight maritime patrol aircraft and other air assets, as well as personnel from Belgium, Canada, France, Greece, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and United States.

Exercise Joint Warrior is coordinated from HM Naval Base Clyde in Argyll & Bute and many of the aircraft involved are flown from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray.

NATO exercises, such as Joint Warrior, demonstrate and develop the extensive military capabilities that NATO Allies need to keep our nations safe.

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