Recently I was appointed to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly where I have taken a keen interest in NATO and Exercises it is undertaking. I was particularly pleased to see the UK leading the way in Exercise Joint Warrior. It is a multi-national exercise that takes places twice a year, typically in Scotland and lasts 11 days. This years started on the 5th of October and finished on Friday the 16th of October. It brought together our NATO allies and partner nations for critical training in a multi-threat environment, with 28 ships, 2 submarines and 81 aircraft taking part.
At the heart of this year’s exercise was HMS Queen Elizbeth, the Royal Navy’s largest and most powerful warship. Also for the first time UK and US F-35B stealth jets trained together in UK skies, utilising some of the most advanced and powerful technology available. This is also the largest number of aircraft at sea on a British Royal Navy carrier since 1983 and is the largest number of F-35B jets at sea in history.
Undertaking operations like this is vital for both the UK and NATO in order to train and prepare for high-readiness deployments on operations. The scenarios are designed to reflect today's political tensions and threats, for example, the war on terror and the threat of ISIS.
I believe it is important for us to work closely with our allies, especially within NATO to promote democratic values and work together to find solutions to today’s threats. The Joint Warrior Exercise is a fantastic example of what we can do when we work together and by training and enhancing skills we can be prepared for any future threat.