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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 14:28 GMT 15:28 UK
Scottish coast to host war games
British type 42 destroyer
Troops will stage a mock landing
A Nato training exercise involving troops from 14 countries is to take place off the coast of Scotland.

The operation will feature 50 warships and submarines, 800 troops, fighter planes and military helicopters.

Exercise Northern Lights 03 is part of several planned operations by the new Nato Response Force, which is expected to be operational by October 2004.

The mission, which runs from 15 September, will see amphibious landings near Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway.

'Crisis response'

A Nato spokesman said: "This exercise is a crisis response operation with a fictional country called Galloway, which is formerly part of a country called Lowlands, that got independence 10 years earlier."

The operation will take place in the Irish Sea through until 26 September.

As part of the mock crisis, the force will work under a UN mandate to enforce an arms embargo before carrying out the landing exercise at Luce Bay on 20 September.

Military personnel from Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the UK and the USA will work with partner nations Sweden and the Ukraine in the operation.

The spokesman added: "It is like a peacekeeping operation. It gives the troops, based on land and on ships, from the different countries the possibility to work with each other."

The exercise will allow military chiefs to test a series of new projects such as a nuclear, biological and chemical response team, a mobile laboratory and an underwater vehicle designed for mine countermeasures.

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