A look at the Defence news 27 March - 2 April

Thirty-two navy ships, five submarines, ten helicopters, 60 aircraft and 7,600 soldiers are taking part in Joint Warrior, a major UK-led exercise that started on 27 March. The Netherlands is represented by two frigates, a submarine, two minesweepers, an explosive ordnance disposal team and other units. A look at the Defence news 27 March - 2 April.

Marineschepen op zee.
Joint Warrior.

The UK holds the Joint Warrior exercise twice a year. Navy, air force and army units participate in the exercise. The participating units go through training in tactics and skills for use in a multinational task force. The maritime units have to deal with all kinds of simulated threats in realistic scenarios.

Although the exercise as a whole takes place in the waters around the UK, the maritime part is concentrated in an area to the northwest of Scotland.

Fighter pilots focus on air superiority during Frisian Flag

Exercise Frisian Flag is in full swing. Fighter pilots operating from Leeuwarden Air Base are carrying out complex training missions in an international context. Having started on 27 March, these training missions will continue until 7 April.

In addition to F-16s from Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal, British GR4 Tornados are taking part in Frisian Flag. There are also German Eurofighters, French Mirage 2000 fighters and US F-15s, as well as a jamming aircraft to disrupt radio signals.

Because of the availability of so many fighter aircraft, Frisian Flag was combined with an air-to-air refuelling exercise that is being conducted from Eindhoven Air Base and involves tanker aircraft from Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands.

Marines receive award for secret Mali mission

In 2015, eight marines parachuted into the Mali desert to covertly gather information about armed groups and terrorist activities. On 31 March, they were awarded their operational wings in recognition of their work. It was the first time that marines had deployed by parachute during a mission.

In addition to the risk of being discovered, the intense heat was a formidable adversary. The marines’ mission in the restive Tilemsi Valley was aimed at preventing violence and attacks against UN troops and Malian civilians. 

The marines were part of the Special Operations Land Task Group in Mali. This unit consists of special forces, support marines and army specialists.