Major Anglo-French exercise at RAF Wittering
British and French military personnel are working together on a major logistics planning exercise at Royal Air Force Wittering.
RAF Wittering is the venue for phase two of Exercise Joint Supporter, which arrived at the Cambridgeshire station bringing upwards of 50 personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.
Joint Supporter is a planning exercise based around a hypothetical scenario; British and French forces are deploying to a fictional area to keep the peace and bring humanitarian assistance. The exercise is owned by the Ministry of Defence’s Standing Joint Force Logistic Component Headquarters (SJFLogC), based at HMS Northwood.
Ten officers from the French armed forces arrived at RAF Wittering last Monday, bringing their own specialist knowledge and expertise. Their input means that decisions involving the French armed forces taken during Joint Supporter are well informed.
Group Captain Stephen Chappell is the senior RAF Logistics Officer on the exercise. He said: “It’s important to remember that Joint Supporter is a table-top exercise. We and our French partners are working out how our forces would be supported with equipment, food and fuel if a military situation developed in a country that was hard to reach.”
British and French military personnel have been working together in NATO for years, but this exercise is specifically Anglo-French. In 2010 the British and French governments signed the Lancaster House Treaties to develop defence and security co-operation, and Exercise Joint Supporter is part of those agreements.
Major Fred Pinck is French Army officer within the SJFLogC, He said: “JS19 is an excellent opportunity for the Standing Joint Force Logistic Component HQ and French Poste de Commandement de Force Logistique (PCFL) to work together within a Combined Joint Support Group construct.
“Despite our different approaches, everyone appreciates how we are ultimately able to find a suitable combined logistic solution.”
As well as hosting Joint Supporter, RAF Wittering is making a virtual contribution to the exercise. The station’s specialist engineering and logistics squadrons, and the unique capabilities they bring to defence, are all factored into the exercise scenario.
Wing Commander Debs Wright is Officer Commanding 85 Expeditionary Logistic Wing and the principal logistics officer at RAF Wittering. She said: “Logistics is a massive part of what we do at RAF Wittering, so I’m very pleased that Exercise Joint Supporter has come to us.
“Co-operation is what it’s all about in today’s world. Exercises like this allow us and our French partners to figure out how we are going to work effectively together on operations and get the best from each other.”