HC Deb 28 July 1983 vol 46 cc562-3W
Sir Antony Buck

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he yet has any plans to conduct a follow-up exercise to Crusader 80.

Mr. Heseltine

Planning is under way for a major exercise called Lionheart 84 to take place in September 1984. Lionheart 84 will practice our mobilisation procedures and culminate in a major field training exercise in Germany.

About 50,000 men and women of the regular and reserve forces will move to the Continent; this is significantly more than the 30,000 deployed in exercise Crusader 80. Many of them will be from the Territorial Army, but for the first time it is planned to seek the voluntary participation of up to 4,500 regular reservists, who will be contacted shortly and will receive further details during their annual reporting period this autumn. We will request the co-operation of employers over the release of their staff who volunteer for the exercise.

Lionheart will be associated with the annual series of major NATO autumn exercises and troops from several allied nations will be joining our field training exercises. Lionheart will provide a valuable opportunity to assess progress on the many developments in organisation made since exercise Crusader. As before, the reinforcements will travel to Germany by commercial ferries and aircraft as well as military transport, and will join British forces already in Germany for field training exercises.

Lionheart will be our largest reinforcement exercise ever and will demonstrate our ability to reinforce our troops in Europe quickly and in strength and thereby illustrate our commitment to NATO's forward defence and deterrent policy generally. We intend to make an appropriate notification under the CSCE final act and invite observers from CSCE participating countries. I intend to place a report on the exercise in the Library of the House in due course.