The Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales has taken its place at the center of one of the world’s most powerful naval task forces at the start of the largest Arctic exercise in 30 years, GOV.UK explained.
HMS Prince of Wales, currently serving as the command ship for NATO, has sailed north to the North Pole for the 2022 Cold Response exercise, a month-long test of Allied forces in which 30,000 troops from around the world will work together in .27 countries.
The regular exercise, which takes place every two years and begins planning in December 2020, will include more than double the 14,000 individuals planned for Cold Response 2020 exercise.
Over the weekend, a task force of 25 ships from 11 countries gathered near Norway to begin training, including six Royal Navy ships and more than 2,000 British soldiers.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace stated:
“The Arctic has become an area of increasing military competition and the security of the region has become directly linked to our national security.
The Cold Response exercise is a demonstration of NATO’s ability to operate and compete in one of the harshest environments in the world and a demonstration of how a multinational force can defend Europe’s northern flank.”
HMS Prince of Wales joined the Cold Response Task Force shortly after air defense exercises in the North Sea alongside four British F-35B Lightning aircraft from 617 Squadron, Dambusters, on Friday, March 11.
RAF aircraft took part in a combat air exercise, organized by two Royal Navy combat observers on HMS Prince of Wales in the skies of eastern UK and in the North Sea.
The F-35B engaged eight “aggressor” aircraft, which allowed it to hone tactics between ships and combat aircraft.
As HMS Prince of Wales continued its journey north of the Arctic, the RAF’s 207th Squadron flew two F-35Bs as the carrier sailed alongside USS Mount Whitney and USS The Sullivans.
The UK Strike Force Commander has embarked on HMS Prince of Wales and is responsible for commanding the NATO Naval High Readiness Force, an international task force formed to deal with major global events, and is being published for the first time in this post for Cold Answer.