Major military exercise under way off Campbeltown

The Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Van Amstel was spotted off Arran's coast last Sunday.

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One of the largest multi-national military exercises of its kind is currently under way off Kintyre’s coast.

The major UK-led Exercise Strike Warrior 21, involving more than 13,000 military personnel from nine NATO nations – the UK, the US, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland – and one non-NATO nation – Australia – began on Saturday May 8 and will continue until Thursday May 20.

The exercise, involving 31 warships, three submarines and 150 aircraft, is part of the final preparations for the first deployment of the UK’s Carrier Strike Group next month and is intended to reflect a broad range of crisis and conflict situations which could occur in real-world operations.

The Royal Navy’s fleet flagship at the centre of the CSG, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will deploy shortly after the exercise is completed.

The waters around Campbeltown and Loch Ewe are playing host mine counter measures operations while joint firing activity is taking place at Cape Wrath weapons range, Garvie Island and the QinetiQ Hebrides range, and activity involving fast small boats, both civilian and military, is taking place in the North Minch.