YOU MIGHT have seen large warships and strange planes gathering around the Ayrshire coast and Clyde estuary and wondering what is going on?

The Clyde and Ayrshire coast is about to host elements of a major UK-led multinational exercise as Exercise Joint Warrior gets underway.

There is where countries from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NAT) gather to undertake 'realistic' military training in the waters of Scotland, practising sea, land and air responses to potential scenarios. 

One of the largest military exercises of its kind in Europe, Joint Warrior 212 which incorporates Dynamic Warrior 21, will run from September 18-30 with a number of the participating vessels departing from ports on the west coast of Scotland. 

For this exercise vessels from Belgium, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Holland, Latvia, and Norway are expected to take part with around ten of the ships stopping off at King George V Docks before joining Joint Warrior. 

Participating ships will also arrive at HMNB Clyde, Hunterston, and Greenock.

Joint Warrior 212 is integrated with Exercise Dynamic Mariner 21 and will be the venue for maritime evaluation of the UK Carrier Strike Force in its preparation for NATO Ready Force (NRF) 2022.

Eleven NATO nations will take part, bringing 25 warships, three submarines, over 30 aircraft, and around 6,750 military personnel including 500 ground troops to military ranges across the country and to maritime exercise areas off the West and North Coasts of Scotland. 

The participating NATO nations will be the UK, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France, Norway, Latvia, Germany, and the USA.

Joint Warrior (which takes place twice a year, in the spring and autumn) and Dynamic Mariner is designed, planned, and delivered by the Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS) based at Northwood in London, some of which will deploy to HM Naval Base Clyde to coordinate events during the fortnight. 

Exercise activity will include:

  • Twenty-five naval units from UK, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France, Norway, Latvia, Germany, and the USA participating around the Scottish Coast.
  • Mine Countermeasure (MCM) vessels will conduct mine hunting exercises in areas around Campbeltown, Loch Ewe, Gruinard Bay, Loch Broom, Little Loch Broom, Enard Bay, and Shiant Bank.
  • Amphibious operations will take place in the vicinity of Loch Ewe (on private land), Loch Goil, and Kyle of Lochalsh.

Around 30 aircraft will take part in the exercise with some of them operating from RAF Lossiemouth and Prestwick Airport (previously HMS Gannet).

Joint Firing Activity will take place at Cape Wrath Weapons Range, Garvie Island, and the QinetiQ Hebrides range in the North of Scotland.

Exercise activity in the North Minch to the west of Ullapool involving fast small boats, both civilian and military.

GPS denial operations off the West coast of Scotland. The operations will be conducted at limited periods each day and the relevant authorities, especially maritime and aviation, have been involved in the planning process and relevant safeguards have been put in place.

Exercise Joint Warrior is linked directly with the NATO Military Training Exercise Programme and brings together all three UK Armed Forces – the Royal Navy, Army, and Royal Air force – along with the other participating countries, to provide high-quality training opportunities and improve joint operations between the UK and its allies.

Participants will practice a wide range of capabilities across the land, sea, and air in coordinated joint operations with other allied nations with the scenario of the exercise mirroring a broad range of crisis and conflict situations that could realistically be experienced in real-world operations. 

Over the fortnight, participants will be faced with a period of increasing political and military tensions, along with a huge range of realistic military tasks such as intelligence gathering and reconnaissance; anti-smuggling and counter-terrorism operations; humanitarian assistance, and evacuation operations. 

All units involved in the exercise will observe the Covid 19 control measures provided by the Scottish Government.

Exercise planning staff have liaised with a wide variety of communities and organisations ahead of Strike Warrior in order to minimize the impact of military activity. 

Organizations consulted include: HM Coastguard, Marine Scotland, The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA); National Air Traffic Services (NATS); The Highlands and Islands Airports Authority; Scottish and Northern Irish fishery organisations; and several environmental agencies and groups.

Further information on Exercise Joint Warrior, including notices to mariners and impact statements, can be found by visiting Queen’s Harbour Master Clyde’s page on the Royal Navy website: