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Massive NATO exercise poised to get started off Scotland’s north coast in days



Seas off ’s north coast will play a leading role in a major exercise, with almost every allied nation taking part.

Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024, which began in January and will continue until the end of March, is the biggest 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 February 26 until March 3. Joint Warrior 241 will then lead into Exercise Nordic Response 24 with activity moving to the waters off Norway.

Crucial to the activity in UK territorial waters will be gunnery exercises, which will take place from February 26-29 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.

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

A Government spokesman said: “Such exercises are seen as 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.”

More than 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 various communities and organisations ahead of the exercise to minimise the impact of military activity.

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