• October 9, 2020

The area of the West of Scotland and North Donegal which was the scene of a confrontation between RN vessels and an Irish MFV will be busy with military activity again over the coming weeks.

Exercise GROUPEX is already underway involving the Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier Queen Elizabeth and ships from various NATO countries. In addition the large NATO Exercise JOINT WARRIOR (2020-2) will get under way on 4th of October. Both exercises are set to conclude on October 19th. Submarines form an integral part of the NATO annual exercise programme and given the dangers that submarines on exercise can pose to MFVs one hopes that appropriate Notice to Mariners is being issued for the areas concerned. ASW will possibly form a greater part of this exercise as for the first time for over a decade the RAF once again had Maritime Recce and anti Submarine Warfare aircraft having taken delivery of Boeing Poseidon P8 aircraft earlier this year.

There is a big participation with over 30 warships and 80 aircraft in addition to European NATO countries ships from the US and Australia will take part. Such exercises invariably attract attention from the Russian Federation so it’s within the realms of possibility that a number of Russian submarines and possibly long range Maritime Recce aircraft will monitor the exercise.

Air activity will be concentrated around RAF bases in Scotland and also use civil airports at Prestwick and Stornoway. Naval activity such as live firing at Cape Wrath. The land component of the exercise has been scaled down due to Covid-19. RN submarine related activity will take place in exercise areas to the West of Scotland and North of Donegal.

Image: The RAF has a new toy (P8 Poseidon) and the British Military its first ASW aircraft since the accident prone Nimrod was scrapped.

Bernard Moffatt

pp. Celtic League Military Monitoring (25/09/20)

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