Exercise Saxon Warrior has kicked off in the South West and Wales, and the news reports have started to come in.
This is from the MOD:
Exercise SW11 is a joint UK / US Navy exercise supported by NATO allies and will provide continuation training to the USS George H W Bush Carrier Group during its visit to UK prior to deployment to support operations in Afghanistan. SW11 is being conducted 19-26 May 2011. The Exercise has been planned by RAF and Naval personnel from the Joint Tactical Exercise planning Staff (JTEPS) based at Northwood HQ, London. They are augmented by additional service personnel to provide an appropriate level of specialist support and to assist with exercise safety.
The JTEPS aim is to provide coordinated training for the USS George H W Bush Carrier Group, all 3 UK Armed Services and the participating forces from allied nations.
The USS George H W Bush is the tenth and final Nimitz Class supercarrier of the United States Navy. Displacing in excess of 100,00 tons and with a top speed of over 30 knots, the USS George Bush carries an Air Wing comprising some 44 FA-18 Strike Fighters (C/E/F Supers), 5 FA-18G Electronic Warfare Fighters, 4-5 E-2 Hawkeyes, and 7 MH-60 helicopters. The Carrier Group is conducting operational work up training while en route to support operations in Afghanistan.
The fast jets (FJ) embarked in the USS George H W Bush Carrier Air Wing together with aircraft from the UK and other NATO Air Forces will be training together across the UK daily. Due to Op ELLAMY commitments UK participation is reduced and includes VC10 AAR and E3D. Allied and visiting air participants include NATO E3A, and Super Etendard FJ and Atlantique II Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from France. It is planned to fly approximately 60-90 combat and support missions per day on day and night sorties throughout the period. Limited night / weekend flying will be undertaken 21-22 May by the USS George H W Bush Carrier Air Wing, which will operate throughout the period in the South Western Approaches and Western English Channel.
SW11 will see participation from 26 separate naval units from UK, US, Spain, Germany and Sweden. The USS George H W Bush Carrier Strike Group comprises the carrier itself and its escorts, including the cruiser USS Gettysburg, and the destroyers USS Truxton and USS Mitscher. The aim for these units is to build upon basic maritime skills and learn to operate in an allied and multinational context.
A variety of UK and Allied Land forces including SF, 1 Division and 3(UK) Division (supported by maritime and air participants) will conduct Core Military Training and Mission Specific Training (MST) for OP HERRICK deployment at both Castlemartin and Pembrey Air Weapons Ranges, Salisbury Plain Training Area and at sites across Wales, capitalising on the training opportunities afforded by this joint activity. This training will fully utilise Defence Training Estate range areas, commercial ranges and private land areas.