France, UK to Hold Largest Joint Military Exercises - UK Defense Ministry

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France and the United Kingdom are set to take part in the largest joint military exercise in the history of the two countries' Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF), the UK Ministry of Defence said on Sunday.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Over 5,000 military personnel from both countries will take part in Exercise Griffin Strike, the largest joint drill since the establishment of the CJEF in 2010, according to the ministry's statement.

"The next two weeks will see French and British servicemen and women training side by side on the sea, on land and in the air. Together with Admiral Laurent Isnard, my French counterpart, we are anxious to demonstrate that our military partnership is now on a new level and show how the combined UK-France Combined Joint Task Force in the most testing of circumstances, stands shoulder to shoulder," Standing Joint Force Commander Major General Stuart Skeates said, as quoted by the statement.

French troops have begun arriving ahead of the drills, which will take place in locations across the United Kingdom, such as North Yorkshire, the Salisbury Plain and off the south and west coasts of England, according to the ministry.

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Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale multirole fighter jets will be involved in aerial exercises, while several French and UK assault ships, frigates and air defense destroyers will be deployed for naval drills. On land, the UK army's 3rd Division and the French army's 7th Mechanized Brigade will take part.

The CJEF is a deployable force that may be used in a wide range of scenarios, including combat operations. The force is mainly expected to be tasked with crisis management, evacuation operations, peacekeeping and humanitarian missions. In 2012, France and the United Kingdom said that the force was expected to reach full operational capacity in 2016.

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