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Carrier Strike Group success as task group completes UK phase of NATO exercise

HMS Prince of Wales and the UK Carrier Strike Group have completed Exercise Joint Warrior alongside NATO allies and partners. Picture: LPhot Belinda Alker
12 March 2024
Warships, fighter jets and submarines from dozens of nations proved their ability to work together and be ready to respond to a range of threats in a series of exercises in home waters.

The Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS Prince of Wales, is now operating around the ice-cold Norwegian fjords after successfully completing Joint Warrior.

The aircraft carrier was joined by more than 30 ships, four submarines, multiple aircraft from maritime patrol to F-35 Lightning jets and more than 20,000 personnel from nations including Canada, Denmark, France and Spain.

Joint Warrior is one part of NATO’s biggest exercise in a generation – Steadfast Defender. It was the UK-led phase of the exercise which saw surface, air and land scenarios played out to see how NATO nations and allied partners can work closely and react to hostilities.

The Royal Navy’s Joint Exercise Training and Planning Staff (JTEPS) plans, delivers and executes such training with the aim of making it as real to life as possible.

Commodore Andrew Ingham, Commander Fleet Operational Standards and Training, said: “JTEPS, as the formation level training arm of FOST, deliver high end and realistic multi-domain warfare training to UK, NATO and partner nation Maritime Task groups.

“By conducting large scale multinational exercises, such as Nordic Response, JTEPS are able to strive for maximum lethality and readiness.”

He added: ‘’Through careful planning, effective orchestrating and detailed evaluation we are able to ensure that the alliance’s most powerful naval assets are consistently challenged against realistic and credible threat scenarios.

“Their work supporting the largest NATO exercise in 50 years is absolutely crucial to ensuring that we are prepared for the challenges and threats of modern era.”

By conducting large scale multinational exercises, such as Nordic Response, JTEPS are able to strive for maximum lethality and readiness.

Commodore Andrew Ingham, Commander Fleet Operational Standards and Training

For some Royal Navy personnel, Exercise Joint Warrior was their first opportunity of working within other nations.

ET(CIS) Marshall said: “Being here for me will be different from everyone else’s experiences, as I came straight here out of training. Most people here have already spent time at sea practising their role, but this opportunity has really helped me consolidate what I have learnt in training within an international setting.”

The exercise is supported with Maritime Reservists. Sub Lieutenant Derek Player, a Submarine Controller and Royal Navy Reservist, said: “It is a demanding role. We are working in a multi-disciplinary and international team representing UK, Norwegian, German and French Navies who have submarines participating in the exercise.

“While initially daunting, coming into such a fast-paced real-world environment, the support and experience around me has built my confidence and prepared me for the next stage of my training to take on more responsibility as my career develops.”

Exercise Steadfast Defender now continues in Norway under Nordic Response, focussing on amphibious operations in the Arctic Circle.


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