Exercise Joint Warrior: Watch as RAF F-35 Lightning bombs Scots island

An island off the coast of Scotland has been bombed as part of a major military exercise.

The F-35 RAF Lightning aircraft from the HMS Queen Elizabeth carried out the planned explosion on the tiny isle just miles from Ross-shire on Friday.

The Ministry of Defence told The Herald the island is Garvie Island situated within the Cape Wrath Range complex off the north coast of Sutherland.

It was previously thought the island was located just off the Tain air range on Scotland’s east coast, but the Ministry of Defence later clarified the location.

The strike formed part of the military’s preparations for Exercise Joint Warrior, an event beginning on Monday which is to see thousands of military personnel and dozens of warships and aircraft take to Scotland in NATO’s largest annual exercise.

On Monday, the Royal Navy’s new Carrier Strike Group assembled for the first time, marking the beginning of a “new era of operations”.

Nine ships, 15 fighter jets, 11 helicopters and 3000 personnel from the UK, US and the Netherlands are now carrying out exercises in the North Sea, with HMS Queen Elizabeth at the centre of the group.

It marks the beginning of joint carrier operations between the navy and its NATO allies.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said: “The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy.

“Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth-generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances.

HeraldScotland: HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group. Picture: LPhot Belinda Alker, royalnavy.mod.ukHMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group. Picture: LPhot Belinda Alker, royalnavy.mod.uk

“Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”

Commander Vince Owen, commanding officer of HMS Defender, said: “Providing air and missile defence to a Carrier Strike Group is exactly the task HMS Defender and the Type 45 has been designed to do.

“Having previously supported the French aircraft carrier FGS Charles de Gaulle in the fight against ISIL in 2015 and more recently been part of the USS Abraham Lincoln task group as she transited through the Strait of Hormuz last year, it is exciting to be integrating HMS Defender into the UK-led Carrier Strike Group for the first time.

“Having just successfully completed a period of Basic Operational Sea Training over the summer, the men and women that make up my ship’s company are motivated and ready to take part in the next stage of our training in preparation for deploying with the Carrier Strike Group next year.”

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