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Ayrshire to play host to Europe’s largest military exercise this weekend.

Prestwick Airport is to play its part in what will be Europe’s largest military exercise later this week.

The airport is expected to host several military aircraft from this Saturday as the UK joins forces with numerous other countries in ‘Exercise Joint Warrior 212.’

And there will also be the chance for naval enthusiasts to see vessels from Belgium, Canada, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Holland, Latvia and Norway as they head up and down The Clyde- with some arriving at Hunterston, North Ayrshire.

The UK-led multinational exercise, which takes place twice a year, in the spring and autumn, will run from Saturday, September 18 until Thursday, September 30 and includes a number of participating vessels departing from ports on the West Coast.

Eleven NATO nations will take part, bringing 25 warships, three submarines, more than 30 aircraft and around 6,750 military personnel — including 500 ground troops to military ranges across the country and to maritime exercise areas off the West and North Coasts of Scotland.

The participating NATO nations will be the UK, Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Portugal, Spain, France, Norway, Latvia, Germany and USA.

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Some of the exercise activity includes: around 30 aircraft taking part in the exercise with some of them operating from Prestwick Airport (previously HMS Gannet) and RAF Lossiemouth, Mine Countermeasure (MCM) vessels conducting mine hunting exercises in areas around Campbeltown, Loch Ewe, Gruinard Bay, Loch Broom, Little Loch Broom, Enard Bay and Shiant Bank and amphibious operations near Loch Ewe, Loch Goil and Kyle of Lochalsh.

Prestwick Airport will see plenty of military air traffic this weekend
Prestwick Airport will see plenty of military air traffic this weekend

Participating nations will also practice a wide range of capabilities across land, sea and air in coordinated joint operations with other allied nations.

The exercises are designed to mirror a broad range of “crisis and conflict situations” which could “realistically be experienced” in real-world operations.

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