Griffin Srike

UK and French forces are to conduct a bilateral exercise, code-named Griffin Strike, evaluating the capabilities of the Combined UK and French Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF).

More than 5,000 personnel from the UK and French armed forces will participate in the exercise, which will involve a UK-French headquarters planning and executing major land, sea and air activity for the first time.

The exercise will also witness participation from Typhoon and Rafale jets, along with the HMS Ocean, Bulwark and Duncan vessels.

French ships FS Dixmude, FS Cassard and FF La Motte Piquet will also take part in the exercise.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "This joint force will combine the might of two of the world’s biggest militaries, backed by our rising defence budget. It will enable us to deploy rapidly with our French allies, helping to keep Britain safe while contributing to security in the world."

"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."

Developed in 2010 for the bilateral Lancaster House Treaty, the CJEF will facilitate the rapid deployment of forces in conflict zones ahead of a wider Nato or coalition operation.

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The CJEF has been designed to meet the nations’ peace-keeping, disaster relief or humanitarian assistance requirements.

Standing Joint Force Commander major general Skeates CBE said: "Exercise Griffin Strike marks a key milestone in the development of the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force, the embodiment of our military relationship with France."

"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."

Image: Troops and vehicles from France arrive in the UK to deploy on Exercise Griffin Strike. Photo: courtesy of Crown Copyright.