UK to lead Nato’s VJTF in 2017

8 February 2015 (Last Updated February 8th, 2015 18:30)

The UK is set to serve as the lead nation for Nato's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which will be able to deploy at short notice to threats against alliance sovereignty.

Typhoon

The UK is set to serve as the lead nation for Nato's Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), which will be able to deploy at short notice to threats against alliance sovereignty.

Speaking at a Nato meeting for defence ministers in Brussels, Belgium, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the country will lead the Spearhead Force in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter.

Fallon said: "Nato's credibility in the face of the security challenges we face depends on everyone playing their part to implement the decisions taken at Wales last year.

"The Readiness Action Plan demonstrates the alliance's commitment to reinforce our collective defence, but strong words must be backed up with firm action."

The UK will contribute up to 1,000 soldiers to the VJTF, which will consist of a land brigade of around 5,000 troops and will be ready to respond to aggression on territories of Nato member states within 48 hours.

UK soldiers will operate from two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania, as well as from smaller units in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria.

In an event of a major crisis, the brigade would be supported by two more brigades as a rapid reinforcement capability, increasing the enhanced response force to around 30,000 troops.

"Nato's credibility in the face of the security challenges we face depends on everyone playing their part to implement the decisions taken at Wales last year."

The force will also be led by France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Meanwhile, the UK will also deploy four Royal Air Force Typhoon jets to support the Baltic Air policing mission this year.

Operating alongside Norwegian aircraft, the Typhoons will secure Nato's airspace over the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, between May and August.

Last month, UK Prime Minister David Cameroon announced a commitment to make an even greater contribution to Nato assurance measures in Eastern Europe.

Around 4,000 UK soldiers are set to participate in Nato exercises this year, including Exercise Dragon in Poland in September, which will feature 1,000 UK personnel and a number of armoured vehicles.


Image: The UK will deploy four Typhoon jets to support the Nato Baltic Air policing mission. Photo: Crown copyright.