HMS Prince of Wales acted as NATO command ship on Exercise Cold Response 2022 (Picture: Royal Navy).
Navy

Massive Arctic exercise concludes for Navy

Cold Response 2022's naval armada was led by HMS Prince of Wales.

HMS Prince of Wales acted as NATO command ship on Exercise Cold Response 2022 (Picture: Royal Navy).

More than 3,000 sailors and Royal Marines have taken part in an exercise, described by the Royal Navy as the largest in 30 years in the Atlantic High North.

UK personnel joined more than 27,000 others from two dozen NATO allies to make up a force of warships, armour and airpower for the largest military exercise hosted in Norway since the Cold War – Cold Response 2022.

Deployed deep inside the Arctic Circle – ashore, at sea and in the skies of Norway – the combined power demonstrated its ability to safeguard Europe's 'northern flank' against aggressors.

Britain's biggest warship HMS Prince of Wales led the naval armada due to her role as NATO command ship, a task she will conduct for the rest of this year.

Watch: More than 2,000 UK personnel test cold-weather capability in Arctic Circle.

It was the first time one of the Royal Navy's Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers had sailed so far north, with more than 1,000 sailors gaining an initial experience operating in polar climates. 

The fortnight-long exercise allowed the Royal Navy to confirm some of its impressive capabilities, from launching commando raids from submarines to operating a fifth-generation aircraft carrier in sub-zero conditions for the first time.

Cold Response 2022 also allowed Royal Marines deployed on the exercise to practice new raiding tactics on the challenging Norwegian coastline, alongside conducting more regular attacks and manoeuvres, drawing on more than half a century of expertise as the UK's experts in Arctic warfare.

Royal Marines deployed on the exercise were able to practise new raiding tactics off the challenging Norwegian coast (Picture: Royal Navy).

Captain Steve Higham, HMS Prince of Wales commanding officer, said: "As we continue to operate in and around the Arctic with our allies and partners, the sailors on HMS Prince of Wales are continuing to learn the skills, and build the experience that allow the Royal Navy to push the boundaries of UK carrier operations in the cold, harsh environment."

Other highlights from the exercise include divers from HMS Grimsby neutralising mines in icy fjords and Wildcat helicopters using Seaspray radar over land for the first time. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace visited personnel during the deployment to thank them for their efforts.