Bulwark has command role in exercise
THE ABILITY of the Royal Navy to cope with events such as a terrorist attack during the Olympic Games is being tested this week.
More than 8,000 personnel are expected to be involved in the exercise, code-named Joint Warrior.
It is set to test the amphibious capabilities of the Navy and a contingent of warships from across Europe and North America.
Devonport-based amphibious assault ship HMS Bulwark will take a command and control role throughout Joint Warrior, which was due to begin today off the west coast of Scotland.
Part of the aim is to create a task group capable of being deployed to worldwide incidents such as last year's war in Libya.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: "The flexibility of the fleet to deal with unexpected events such as Libya last year or provide security at the Olympics in London is to be put to the test.
"This time, it is even bigger than before – with a total of 8,000 personnel taking part, 3,000 more than usual, with the aim being to generate a purpose-built task group ready to react to global events at just a moment's notice."
The exercise is set to last for two weeks attracting aircraft, warships, submarines and troops from many other countries.
HMS Bulwark's commanding officer, Captain Alex Burton, said: "The quality and diverse training that is offered by large-scale exercises such as Joint Warrior is invaluable to the ship and her crew.
"The opportunity for us to participate in collective training with other NATO and allied units within a multi-threat environment is the cornerstone in maintaining our high readiness status."
Participants are coming from the USA, Germany, Netherlands, France, Norway, Denmark and Canada. A wide-range of scenarios will played out including; disputed territory, drug smuggling, piracy, state-sponsored terrorism and counter insurgency.
Following Exercise Joint Warrior, Bulwark will be off Weymouth and Portland for the bulk of the summer, acting as a floating command centre for the security mission surrounding the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.