HC Deb 01 July 1987 vol 118 cc113-4W

Ms. Ruddock asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what will be the dates of Exercise Purple Warrior; what is the purpose of Exercise Purple Warrior; and which units of Her Majesty's armed forces will be taking part in Exercise Purple Warrior;

(2)whether Exercise Purple Warrior will involve units of the Territorial Army and the Home Defence Force;

(3)whether the use of ground defence areas will be simulated during Exercise Purple Warrior;

(4)whether Exercise Purple Warrior is a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise; and if he will make a statement

(5)whether any local authorities or civil organisations will be participating in Exercise Purple Warrior;

(6)whether the scenario for Exercise Purple Warrior will be made public; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ian Stewart

Exercise Purple Warrior is a national, tri-Service exercise planned to take place in south-west Scotland between 4 and 19 November. Although, for reasons of economy, the exercise will be held in the United Kingdom, it is not a home defence exercise and so will not involve forces in that role nor units of the Territorial Army nor will it simulate the use of ground defence areas. Local authorities and other civil organisations will not be taking part in it.

The aim of the exercise will be to develop our concept for joint operations outside the NATO area to protect British interests. Details of the scenario remain classified but the exercise will involve the amphibious landing in Western Galloway, Arran and Kintyre of 3 Commando Brigade and 5 Airborne Brigade, to be supported by an airborne assault by a Parachute Battalion Group. Some 39 vessels led by HMS Ark Royal and HMS Illustrious and approximately 30 RAF aircraft will be taking part. Altogether some 20,000 men will be involved in the exercise, of which some 10,000 will take part ashore.

Every effort will be made to minimise any inconvenience to the public and to the environment and full consultations have been held with the regional and district councils for the area, the local polce forces and with national governmental and environmental bodies, including the Nature Conservancy Council and the Forestry Commission. Private landowners and local community, environmental and fishing groups are also being consulted closely.

Exercise Purple Warrior will be an observable exercise under the Stockholm agreement: invitations to send observers will be issued to all states participating in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe

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