Updated: 08-Sep-2003 IMS Press Advisory


3 Sept. 2003

Exercise Northern Light 2003
NATO exercises a joint combined Task Force in Northern Europe

NORTHERN LIGHT 03 (NL 03), a NATO live, joint and combined exercise will take place between 15 and 26 September 2003 in the Irish Sea, on the West Coast of Scotland and in Brittany.

Approximately 8,500 military personnel from twelve NATO nations: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, one Invitee Partner nation: Lithuania, and two Partner nations: Sweden and Ukraine will participate in NL 03. The NATO force will comprise 50 ships and submarines, 15 fighter aircraft, numerous military helicopters and approximately 800 amphibious and land troops from the Netherlands, France, Italy and Ukraine.

This exercise will be a showcase opportunity for some of the maritime and amphibious capabilities of the new NATO Response Force (NRF), conducting some of the initial NRF capabilities, thus maintaining the momentum of this vital transformational initiative. In particular, the Maritime Component Commander will demonstrate the first activation of a Higher Readiness Force HQ (Maritime). Amphibious and Land components will also be tested in a rehearsal for an amphibious landing on the Isle of Jura, Scotland on Saturday 20 September. In addition, the following seven new experimental projects will be tested and evaluated: the Autonomous Underwater Vehicles for Mine Counter Measures; Recognised Environmental Picture; NBC Response Team; NBC Mobile Laboratory; Multinational Logistics Centre procedures; Bi-SC Force Protection measures, and a Common Operating Decision System.

NL 03 is designed to exercise the operational ability of participating forces and HQs in conducting a Crisis Response Operation. The fictitious scenario depicts a crisis involving an armed insurgency in a non-NATO country that threatens broader security interests. Based on a formal mandate by the UN, NATO is requested to assist in restoring stability to the country and enforce an arms embargo by deploying a joint task force with an amphibious capability.

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band KCB United Kingdom Navy, Commander-in-Chief East Atlantic will assume the role of Commander of the NATO Forces (COMNATOFOR) and Vice Admiral Américo da Silva Santos Portuguese Navy, Commander-in-Chief South Atlantic will provide the Commander of the Opposing Forces (COMOPFOR).

An Allied Press Information Centre (APIC) will be established in Faslane, Scotland from 15-26 September 03.

Note for the Editor:

Requests for information prior to the establishment of the APIC should be made to:
Commander Sue Eagles,
Chief Public Information Officer
Regional HQ Eastern Atlantic
United Kingdom
tel +44-1923-8-43763
Updated information is also available on the internet web site: www.eastlant.nato.int

Journalists applying for NL 03 press cards are required to have the following items;
A. A valid passport or ID card
B. Two passport size photographs
C. A valid press ID card
D. A letter of introduction from their media organisation

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