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Prince Charles visits NATO rapid reaction corps exercises

Prince Charles meets Gurkhas and Commonwealth soldiers as he visits NATO troops during rapid reaction corps exercises

  • Prince of Wales met with Gurkhas and Commonwealth soldiers during visit to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire 
  • Prince Charles, who turns 72 on Saturday, was provided with an overview of key NATO exercise Loyal Leader
  • Divisions from Canada, Romania, US and UK back-briefed Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps involved

A mask-less Prince Charles today met with Gurkhas and Commonwealth soldiers during a visit to RAF Fairford.

The Prince of Wales spoke to soldiers deployed on Exercise Loyal Leda 2020 as he was showed around the base in Gloucestershire.

While at the base, the prince, who turns 72 on Saturday, met Commonwealth soldiers from the 1st Canadian Division, the ‘Red Devils’ and Gurkhas from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion.

He was also was provided with an overview of the key NATO exercise – involving the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) and the Multinational Division South East and saw some of the new capabilities being developed by the headquarters.

Though he was not wearing a face covering while speaking outside with soldiers, he maintained social distancing protocols throughout the visit.

A mask-less Prince Charles today met with Gurkhas and Commonwealth soldiers during a visit to RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire. The Prince of Wales chats with Brigadier-General Carlos Salgado, seen here at RAF Fairford today

The Prince of Wales spoke to soldiers deployed on Exercise Loyal Leda 2020 as he was showed around the base in Gloucestershire

While at the base, the prince, who turns 72 on Saturday, met Commonwealth soldiers from the 1st Canadian Division, the ‘Red Devils’ and Gurkhas from the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps Support Battalion

He was also was provided with an overview of the key NATO exercise – involving the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and the Multinational Division South East and saw some of the new capabilities being developed by the headquarters

Though he was not wearing a face covering while speaking outside with soldiers, he maintained social distancing protocols throughout the visit

Loyal Leda is a month-long NATO Article 5 command post exercise, taking place in the UK from November 2 to November 20.

The key exercise is around delivering a collective defence from NATO allies in the event of an attack.

Divisions from Canada, Romania, US and the UK back-briefed Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps are involved in the exercise. 

It features Major Joint Operations (MJO+) force elements – NATO’s plan for the entire alliance to maintain the capabilities for collective defense against a near-peer competitor. 

However NATO chiefs say the main aim of Loyal Leda is to train military tactics involving ‘multi-domain’ operations. 

The exercise is said to be a key element in evaluating the ARRC’s readiness in the event of an attack. It will also validate and certify the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps as NATO’s Warfighting Corps at readiness.

The visit comes after it was revealed earlier this week that NATO is building a new space hub to track Chinese and Russian weapons it fears may try to ‘shoot down satellites’, its secretary general said yesterday.

Jens Stoltenberg warned the two countries were developing anti-satellite systems.

His comments came as General Sir Patrick Sanders, the head of the Ministry of Defence’s Strategic Command, said Britain ‘is under direct threat, certainly in the cyber domain’.

The UK was not ‘fit for information age warfare’ because defence forces were outdated, he added. 

Loyal Leda is a month-long NATO Article 5 command post exercise, taking place in the UK from November 2 to November 20

Divisions from Canada, Romania, US and the UK back-briefed Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) are involved in the exercise

It features Major Joint Operations (MJO+) force elements – NATO’s plan for the entire alliance to maintain the capabilities for collective defense against a near-peer competitor

However NATO chiefs say the main aim of Loyal Leda is to train military tactics involving ‘multi-domain’ operations

 

The exercise is said to be a key element in evaluating the ARRC’s readiness in the event of an attack. It will also validate and certify the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps as NATO’s Warfighting Corps at readiness

The space centre will be at the Ramstein air base in Germany and will gather information about possible threats to satellites.

Mr Stoltenberg said: ‘Satellite systems keep our world running in ways many barely realise. Commerce, weather forecasts, mobile phones and banking all rely on satellites.

‘Fast, effective and secure satellite communications are essential for our troops.

‘Some nations, including Russia and China, are developing anti-satellite systems which could blind, disable or shoot down satellites.’

Speaking at the virtual Atlantic Future Forum conference, Sir Patrick said: ‘If you were to characterise the British defence forces that we have today, the armed forces we have today, you would describe them as joint and fit for industrial age warfare but not yet integrated and fit for information age warfare.’

He added: ‘Full spectrum means being able to deal with threats at home and away.

‘The idea that we are only going to play away fixtures is for the birds.

‘We are under direct threat in the UK, certainly in the cyber domain and also to greater extent in the maritime and the air domain.’  

The latest NATO operation comes after HMS Queen Elizabeth lead the largest and most powerful task force assembled by a European Navy in almost 20 years last month.

The £3billion aircraft carrier – the joint largest in the Royal Navy’s history – was the crown jewel in a flotilla of nine ships which form the UK’s new Carrier Strike Group.

Last month assembled at sea for the first time off the north east coast of Scotland as part of Joint Warrior – NATO’s largest annual exercise.

The 930ft long aircraft carrier led the flotilla of destroyers and frigates from the UK, US and the Netherlands, together with two Royal Fleet Auxiliaries.

In total, 3,000 personnel from the UK, US and Netherlands were involved.

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