RAF News

Largest RAF exercise in the UK for many years begins

RAF Typhoon aircraft

The largest military exercise to be run by the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom for over a decade has begun. Exercise Crimson Warrior will see RAF, Royal Navy, United States Marine Corps and United States Air Force fast jets, multi-engine aircraft and helicopters operating from a number of RAF stations across the country. 

At its peak Crimson Warrior will see over 70 aircraft conducting high intensity tactical training together over the North Sea and North East of England. 

US F35 Lightning aircraft
US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning aircraft

The exercise is a development of the regular Cobra Warrior exercises, widely regarded as the most challenging training for aircrew and the final step for those seeking to qualify as Qualified Weapons Instructors (QWI), Qualified Multi-engine Tactics Instructors, QWI Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance and Qualified Space Instructors Course.

RAF Voyager aircraft landing
RAF Voyager aircraft

The expanded Crimson Warrior includes land based training scenarios for the Lightning stealth fighters and helicopters that will form the Carrier Strike Group Air Wing for next year’s operational deployment of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The Exercise will develop and test the tactical leadership skills of aircrew and supporting personnel within highly complex training scenarios. The aim is to develop their abilities to devise, plan and practice tactics and procedures in a realistic environment against a capable simulated adversary.

“Exercise Crimson Warrior is the largest and most complicated flying exercise we have held for many years and it is a vital part of the preparation for HMS Queen Elizabeth’s first operational deployment”.

“The Exercise will challenge participants from both the UK and the USA’s air forces in the full range of Air and Space power roles, and it has been just as much of a challenge to organise and run, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I am confident that the precautions we have taken have reduced the risks to participants and the public as much as practicable.”

Group Captain Rob Barrett
Exercise Director

The exercise began on the 19th October and will run until 5th November 2020 and is being controlled by specialist directing staff from 92 Squadron at RAF Waddington.