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Navy and marines prepare for Europe's biggest military exercise

Exercise Joint Warrior sees more than 5000 service personnel tested.

RAF Typhoon taking off quality image
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The Royal Navy and Royal Marines are preparing for Europe's biggest military exercise with a beach landing in Scotland.

42 Commando Royal Marines are to land by helicopter onto Barry Buddon Beach near Carnoustie, Angus, on Friday before the official start of a major international training operation.

Exercise Joint Warrior, which takes place twice a year, sees more than 5000 service personnel tested on land, at sea and in the air in locations across the UK from April 15 to 29.

Some 5250 UK military personnel will make up more than 12,000 from nine countries to form the Response Force Task Group for the exercise, which aims to test and improve the way that the Royal Navy, Army and RAF work together and with their counterparts from allied nations.

The final preliminary operation carried out in Angus will see 42 Commando Royal Marines launch an assault on Barry Buddon beach, treating the coastal area as a hostile nation they will be ready to fight.

Commodore Paddy McAlpine, commander of the UK Task Group, he said: "During Joint Warrior we will practise fighting at sea as well as fighting from the sea.

"We'll practise against a demanding air, surface and submarine threat, entering a hostile environment and then deliver our landing force of Royal and Dutch marines to the right area.

"Exercises such as Joint Warrior provide us with the scale, diversity and pace that we need to maintain our capability as the naval contingency element of the Response Force Task Group."

It will include a range of exercises, including an airborne air assault and amphibious landings supported by helicopters; training for security and counter-insurgency tasks; and maritime operations, including counter-piracy, with 49 ships from the Royal Navy, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia and other allies.

It will also involve up to 40 fixed-wing aircraft, including RAF Tornados and Typhoons alongside Rafael and Super Etendard from the French carrier air group, as well as maritime patrol aircraft from partner nations such as the US, Brazil and Canada.

Joint Warrior incorporates lessons learned from operations in Afghanistan in relation to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, which have been modified for the maritime environment.

The exercise will act as a progression from the Royal Navy's main exercise last year, Cougar 12, which was led by HMS Bulwark and HMS Illustrious as they worked with the French in waters near Toulon and Corsica and then Albanians in the Adriatic.

Both of these vessels will take part in Joint Warrior.

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