RFA Tidespring to be part of Exercise Joint Warrior

Image source, Matt Bromage/Royal Navy
Image caption,
The forecastle of RFA Tidespring covered in snow during training in February

A ship built to resupply the Royal Navy's new aircraft carriers will take part in Joint Warrior, a major Nato exercise starting later this month.

RFA Tidespring is one of four new support tankers constructed for resupplying HMS Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales and other ships.

Joint Warrior runs from 23 April to 3 May and will involve training in Scotland.

Nato ships are due to start arriving on 20 April.

Most of the vessels, including from the US, will gather in the Clyde ahead of the start of the exercise, which will also involve army and air force personnel.

RFA Tidespring has already completed some training at sea in preparation for its operational role resupplying warships with fuel and water.

In February, the ship was blanketed in snow when it was caught up in weather dubbed the Beast from the East while its crew practiced replenishment duties off the Devon and Cornwall coast.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
Joint Warrior involves thousands of personnel and dozens of warships and aircraft

Exercise Joint Warrior is usually held twice a year in and around Scotland, but this year will be held only once.

Organised by the Royal Navy, Joint Warrior involves thousands of military personnel and dozens of warships and aircraft.

Usually it is held over two weeks in spring and again in autumn.

But this year the second exercise will not be held due to the UK armed forces taking part in two other major exercises.

The Royal Navy said two Joint Warrior exercises were expected to be held again in 2019.

Another exercise taking place later this year is SAIF SAREEA 3, which has been described as the biggest joint UK-Omani exercise to be held in the last 15 years.

Armed forces personnel will also take part in Trident Juncture 2018, a Nato exercise held every three years and this time being held in Norway during October.

The Royal Navy said Trident Juncture would feature elements which are also common to Joint Warrior exercises.