RAF jets join warships ‘to defend the northern flank’ in NATO exercise


RAF fighter jets join a fleet of ships to take part in a NATO exercise led by Norway. F-35B Lightning fighter jets and maritime reconnaissance aircraft are taking part in Exercise Cold Response.

This month-long exercise for land, sea and air forces trains more than 30,000 soldiers from 27 countries to operate together in the largest cold weather exercise in Norway since the 1980s. Held over large swathes of Norwegian territory, including above the Arctic Circle, the Norwegian-led biannual winter exercise runs until April 1, 2022.

The exercise aims to train allies and partners in harsh weather conditions, improving the readiness and capabilities of participating forces. During the exercise, RAF Lossiemouth’s Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft and RAF Marham’s F-35 Lightnings will operate alongside NATO partners in some of the world’s most challenging environments.

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The fighter jets will integrate with navy ships and, although they won’t fly from HMS Prince of Wales, which serves as NATO’s command ship, they will train with the aircraft carrier.

The Royal Navy posted on its website yesterday: “A task force of 25 ships from 11 nations met off the coast of Norway at the start of training which will show how a unified force would defend Norway and the northern flank of Europe against a modern adversary. “

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HMS Prince of Wales joined the Cold Response Task Force of 25 ships from 11 countries shortly after air defense exercises in the North Sea alongside four of Britain’s F-35B Lightning fighters from 617 Squadron ‘The Dambusters’.

RAF Marham jets took part in a mock air battle, controlled by Royal Navy fighter controllers on the ship.

The Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft will enhance the exercise with its wide range of sensors and anti-submarine capability. Regular exercises allow NATO and its partners to train together, to identify what is working and what needs improvement.

The exercises are defensive, proportionate and announced months in advance. NATO allies abide by the transparency obligations set out in the OSCE Vienna Document, which governs the rules for military exercises in the Euro-Atlantic area.

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