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UK and France activate joint expeditionary force

22 April 2016
France and the UK have validated their joint expeditionary force as part of Exercise 'Griffon Strike'. British Army soldiers pictured during the exercise in front of a French Army Leclerc main battle tank. Source: IHS/Patrick Allen

France and the United Kingdom validated their Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) on 21 April as part of Exercise 'Griffin Strike'.

The UK Secretary of Defence Michael Fallon and his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian jointly announced the Full Validation of Concept (FVOC) for the CJEF during a visit to the exercise, that took place on the Salisbury Plain Training Area in southern England.

A series of joint unit-level exercises involving UK and French military forces are to follow-on from the validation.

Senior UK and French officers are already working on the next phase of Anglo-French military co-operation to follow-on from the five year-long effort to establish the CJEF.

Speaking to IHS Jane's at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire on 18 April, Air Commodore Johnny Stringer, Chief of Staff Operations at the RAF's Headquarters Air Command, said Anglo-French co-operation would evolve in new ways. "There is a temptation to look at big exercises but you often miss the opportunity for richer types of engagement," said Air Cdre Stringer. "In future you will see lower level exercises to keep Anglo-French engagement going."

Air Cdre Stinger pointed to December 2015's "trilateral" exercise involving British Eurofighter Typhoons, French Dassault Rafale and US Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor fighter aircraft in the United States as the way forward. "This caught people's attention and we are looking to repeat it over the next 12 months," he said. When asked if this would take place in Europe, Stinger replied: "Watch this space."

Général de Brigade Aérienne Gilles Perrone, Chief of Staff of the Armée de l'air Air Defence and Air Operations Command (CDAOA), said Exercise 'Griffon Strike' was "not the beginning and not the end of [Anglo]-French co-operation". "We are working together day-after-day", he told IHS Jane's . "With the CJET we have an operational tool that is ready.

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