Thursday, September 20, 2007

Exercise Neptune Warrior 07/Sky Lance Has Begun

Note: For Milcom Monitoring Post readers in Europe, this exercise should afford you and excellent opportunity to monitor the UK RN/RAF and TASCOMM radio systems on HF. Drop me a line and let me know what you are hearing.

The UK’s largest maritime training course and a major air exercise are being brought together beneath, on and above the waters of the majority of the UK for the first time later this month (17-28 September 2007).

Neptune Warrior, a twice yearly Royal Navy and Royal Air Force run exercise, which qualifies British forces to work and fight in a task group this time will be coordinated and integrated with the RAF’s Exercise Sky Lance which aims to offer similarly aligned training.

The combined forces of Neptune Warrior and Sky Lance will feature a total of 17 warships and around 100 aircraft from the UK and eleven allied nations. The UK forces will be joined by forces from the United States, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Spain and Norway.

Both Neptune Warrior and Sky Lance will provide participants with a first class introduction to the problems they may encounter during the planning and execution of coalition operations with the lessons learned benefiting real-world missions.

Multi-national operations can be a significant challenge for the armed forces but are essential to practise interoperability, develop common operating procedures and to learn from each other. The English border regions and the highlands of Scotland provide a challenging environment to all participants in terms of topography, oceanography and, on occasion (!), adverse weather conditions.

From a maritime perspective participating ships, include the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigates HMS Montrose, HMS Lancaster and HMS Westminster and four submarines.

In the air, Exercise Sky Lance will be executed across the whole of the UK with up to 100 aircraft participating per day; Harriers, Typhoons, Tornados and Hawks will make up the bulk of the RAF’s air input.

Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) provision will be made by both maritime patrol aircraft and other Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACs) aircraft and additional support will be provided by air-to-air refuelling assets such as Tristars and VC-10s.

The exercises will also benefit from the participation of land-based formations including Tactical Air Controllers, Artillery Spotters and RAF mobile convoys providing a variety of realistic targets for the many air operations planned.