Armed forces personnel from the UK and France have concluded two weeks of training as part of the Griffin Strike exercise, a major rehearsal for the development of the UK-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force.
This year, Griffin Strike was combined with exercise Joint Warrior, and included representation from NATO allies US, Germany and Denmark, as well as personnel from the Netherlands, Italy, Latvia and Estonia.
UK and French forces formed a combined headquarters aboard the French amphibious assault and helicopter carrier FS Tonnerre, exchanging personnel in key positions within their staffs.
“Exercise Griffin Strike has built on the successes of similar exercises since the Lancaster House Treaty and taken the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) capability to the next level,” Royal Navy Rear Admiral Andrew Burns, the exercise’s task force commander, said.
The Combined Joint Expeditionary Force originated from the Lancaster House Treaty in 2010, a historic commitment from the UK and French governments to strengthen bi-lateral military integration.
The treaty envisaged a force that was suitable for a wide range of scenarios, up to and including high intensity operations.
The CJEF comprises a land, maritime and air component with their associated headquarters and logistic support.
With representation from across the naval service, exercise Griffin Strike also included the UK’s amphibious task group, headed up by Commander Littoral Strike Group and 3 Commando Brigade Headquarters aboard the UK flagship HMS Albion; as well as the mine warfare battle staff, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, UK, French and Norwegian submarines, multinational frigates, helicopters from the British Army and jets and surveillance aircraft from the RAF.
Exercise Griffin Strike tested both the skills and drills of individual ships, and the headquarters’ ability to command and maintain situational awareness.
The multinational ships were split into opposing sides and pitted against each other during dynamic and intense maritime warfare training.
The CJEF was forced to navigate minefields while avoiding detection from submarines hidden in deep waters within the North Minch and Sea of the Hebrides.
Simultaneously, fast jets launched attacks from the air, while small fast attack craft raided from the shore, and coastal defense cruise missiles rained in fire from hidden sites on land.
The taskforce also faced simulated cyber incidents and degradation of their sensors and communications, giving a flavor of the multi-domain threats of the contemporary operating and hybrid warfare environments.