RAF, Royal Navy and United States Air Force to stage 'battles' over the Yorkshire coast in largest military operation for 10 years

Over 70 aircraft will take part in the largest military operation on UK soil for over a decade this week.

Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 1:10 pm
Updated Tuesday, 20th October 2020, 1:18 pm
The Yorkshire coast off Flamborough Head

Exercise Crimson Warrior will involve the RAF, United States Air Force, United States Marine Corps and Royal Navy staging battle scenarios over the North Sea, with their movements expected to be visible from towns such as Scarborough and Bridlington.

The exercise has been designed to support the launch of the Royal Navy's new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, which has already been seen conducting sea trials along the Yorkshire coast this autumn.

The aircraft involved are likely to be part of the vessel's first operational deployment.

Fighter jets, multi-engine aircraft and helicopters based at RAF stations around the UK are due to complete 'high intensity tactical training' together.

The exercise began yesterday and is due to end on November 5.

Lightning stealth fighters and helicopters will form the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing when HMS Queen Elizabeth's tour of duty begins in 2021.

According to the RAF, there will be a 'realistic environment and a capable simulated adversary'.

Exercise director Group Captain Rob Barrett said: “The exercise will challenge participants from both the UK and the USA’s air forces in the full range of air and space power roles, and it has been just as much of a challenge to organise and run, particularly in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I am confident that the precautions we have taken have reduced the risks to participants and the public as much as practicable.”

One of the first sightings this week was of four F15 fighter jets belonging to the USAF being refuelled in mid-air by a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, also operated by the USAF and based at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk, over Scarborough.