• Toby Irwin

Joint Warrior 191 Commences

Exercise Joint Warrior 191, a bi-annual UK-led NATO exercise, is set to begin tomorrow. It will run from the 30th of March until the 11th of April. This is the first of two Joint Warrior exercises occurring in 2019, with the second (EJW 192) occurring from the 5th of October to the 17th of October later this year (1). Joint Warrior 191 is just one 102 NATO exercises planned for 2019. It will involve 13 NATO allies: The UK, US, Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Norway and Denmark. NATO exercises are designed to test procedures and tactics, alongside identifying areas of improvement.

The multinational training exercise will involve live firing training at Cape Wrath (Sutherland, NW Scotland), practise aircraft sorties from RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, and maritime exercises operating from HMNB Clyde. Royal Marines are also to participate in practise amphibious beach landings in North Wales. 35 warships, five submarines and over fifty aircraft are expected to participate. It represents a significant training exercise for the UK’s armed forces, with over 430 personnel coordinating the exercise from HMNB Clyde alone. Among other exercises, this particular event will test the Royal Navy’s ability to respond to cyber warfare with Information Warrior 17. Admiral Ben Key had this to say:

“Exploitation of information is a significant force multiplier. We must become more agile, developing the ability to make quicker decisions and operate at a faster tempo than our adversaries. We must use information as a weapon in itself, to deliver effects with greater precision in both time and space; protect our information effectively; better integrate a comprehensive approach to planning; and exploit technology” (2).

A key part of such an exercise is not just a refining of tactics, it is cooperation and communication. Between the 13 countries involved, over 10,300 personnel will be involved. Around 6,500 will be at sea, 800 in aircraft and 3,000 on land (3). Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson stated that the UK remains “a resolute force for peace around the world” and that “the UK will not waver in continuing to work with its allies to protect our mutual interests” (4). A list of other planned NATO exercises can be located by clicking here.


2) https://www.contracts.mod.uk/do-features-and-articles/natos-joint-warrior-exercise-begins-in-scotland/

3) https://www.naval-technology.com/news/uk-to-host-international-military-exercise-joint-warrior/

4) https://www.defenceonline.co.uk/2019/03/20/uk-host-exercise-joint-warrior/

At the time of writing, Toby Irwin is a second year student at the University of St Andrews. He is studying Modern History and International Relations. Areas that interest him the most are UK defence strategy and foreign policy.