Royal Air Force Kicks Off Exercise Crimson Warrior, Its Largest Military Exercise In UK For Over A Decade

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has kicked off Exercise Crimson Warrior, the largest military exercise to be run by the RAF in the United Kingdom for over a decade.

Exercise Crimson Warrior will see RAF, Royal Navy, U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and U.S. Air Force (USAF) 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.

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.

The expanded Crimson Warrior includes land based training scenarios for the F-35B Lightning stealth fighter jets and helicopters that will form the UK Carrier Strike Group Air Wing for next year’s operational deployment of the Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Three-ship formation of USMC F-35B Lightning II jets
A three-ship formation of U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) F-35B Lightning II stealth fighter jets during Exercise Joint Warrior 2020. Photo Credit: Royal Air Force.

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 Director Group Captain Rob Barrett said:

“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.”

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

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