Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff
The Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff (JMOTS)
The Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff is a Joint Royal Air Force and Royal Navy staff consisting of 16 officers and 6 other ranks under the Directorship of a Royal Navy Captain. The Director is responsible to the Commander in Chief Fleet and Commander in Chief Strike Command. The specialisation and experience of the Staff Officers cover most aspects of joint warfare and Royal Navy and Royal Air Force work together continuously from the planning and scheduling of each Course to delivery of specialist presentations and training. JMOTS operate from within the JHQ building at Northwood Headquarters, Middlesex, but normally deploy to HM Naval Base Clyde, Faslane, Scotland in order to conduct the Courses.
JMOTS evolved from the Joint RN/RAF Anti-Submarine School (JASS) which was established in Northern Ireland shortly after the Second World War. It was during the Battle of Atlantic that the need for continued RN and RAF cooperation in anti-submarine warfare was highlighted. In the late 1960s, the imminent demise of the RN's aircraft carriers led to JASS's tasks being expanded to include other types of joint maritime operations. The advent of long range missile systems in the armouries of the naval and air forces of potential aggressors meant that interservice cooperation had to be extended to other fields of maritime warfare. It was decided to move the organisation from Northern Ireland to RAF Turnhouse near Edinburgh and in July 1970 JASS's tasks were broadened to include the training of personnel in a multi-threat environment. To reflect the changing emphasis JASS was re-named the Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff. The organisation moved to the Northwood Joint Headquarters in 1996 where it continues to plan and conduct Exercise NEPTUNE WARRIOR (formerly Joint Maritime Courses) mainly off the West and North West Coasts of Scotland. The constantly evolving Course will enable JMOTS to expand the training on offer to include truly joint evolutions where all Services cooperate and integrate under the auspices of a Joint Task Force Commander. With the increasing involvement of each of the Front line Commands and PJHQ, it is the intention that Exercise NEPTUNE WARRIOR is developed to reflect the joint and combined nature of current and future operations.
The name NEPTUNE WARRIOR has been chosen to maintain the connection with JMOTS' roots but also to reflect the emerging realities of operations in the 21st Century. Neptune is generally known as the Roman God of the Sea but he was also called "Earth-Shaker". A malevolent Titan, he is often pictured, trident in hand, riding either a dolphin or a horse. Thus, he encapsulates the intrinsic duality of sea and land. Astrologically, Neptune also represents intuition and enlightenment; a perfect figurehead for such a complex training evolution. The term 'Warrior' provides a link with many other exercises around the world and reinforces the point that, peacetime operations notwithstanding, military forces must always be prepared to fight and win.
The main task of JMOTS is to plan and conduct Exercise NEPTUNE WARRIOR (NW). These are Tier 2 (plus), operational-level, joint Courses originally intended to train Maritime and Air assets in maritime warfare tactics and procedures in a complicated, group level environment. Recent developments have seen increased participation of Land elements in NWs, including Air-Land liaison between Forward Air Controllers and Close Air Support aircraft and Land-Maritime liaison between Army formations and ships in the littoral environment. Whilst the main emphasis of the Course was previously on blue-water operations, this has now shifted to development of littoral warfare procedures and air/maritime/land integration. Valuable training is also delivered in other areas such as exercising Command and Control, Rules of Engagement, Operational Logistics, Seamanship and Air Support of Maritime Operations.
The principal participants of NW are fully operational Maritime and Air units from NATO, Partnership for Peace, and other Allied countries. Therefore the form of training offered differs considerably from the Operational Sea Training conducted by the Flag Officer Sea Training at Devonport and the many other exercises conducted by Strike Command at RAF High Wycombe. The performance of individual ships, aircraft and land units is not assessed, although the Staff closely monitors the progress of the Course from Exercise Control and will take any measures necessary to correct errors that may reduce the training value.
Increasing land participation in NWs is vital to expanding the Joint Service approach to general warfare and peacekeeping efforts of all our Allied nations. Joint Ground Based Air Defence (JtGBAD), Army Air Corps, Special Forces and other niche elements regularly participate.
Finally, NWs offer the opportunity for all regular and reserve forces to train and gain valuable experience in a joint operational environment.
NWs last for 15 days and 2 Courses are run every year. Up to 30 surface ships and submarines assemble mainly in HM Naval Base Clyde over the weekend before the Course starts. Air Force units from both the UK and other participating countries deploy to and operate from most of the Scottish and Northern England air stations. Army units deploy to the Scottish and Northern English training areas in readiness for the start of the Course.
NW is conducted in four separate phases:
The Main Briefing and Harbour Phase: At the start of each Course JMOTS brief the crews of the ships, aircraft and land unit commanders, whilst the ships make full use of the HM Naval Base Clyde dockyard facilities and crews complete all preparations before sailing. All participating units should be represented and the briefing will usually take place on the first Saturday of the Course. JMOTS aim to bring land units, ship and air crews together to allow face to face discussion and planning.
CET/FIT Phase: This begins on the first Monday and concludes on the following Saturday; joint procedures are practised in a number of set-piece training serials which take place in all Scottish air, land and sea exercise areas, but predominantly those to the West and North West of Scotland.
Operations Phase: This phase develops procedures in joint operations using a quasi free-play environment that exploits current doctrine, among a challenging multi-threat scenario and over a prolonged period of time. This provides an opportunity for Commanders to exercise some tactical freedom and develop Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs). Live weapon firings including missiles, guns, bombs and sub-surface munitions are also conducted.
Debriefing: The debriefing for maritime participants is held at HM Naval Base Clyde on the final Friday of the Course, while the air debrief is held simultaneously at RAF Leeming. Land elements are debriefed as part of the other debriefs. All participating units should be represented. The aim is to allow all participants to discuss any problems or shortcomings that may have arisen from the Course with a view to improving operational capability and where necessary making recommendations to develop and amend NATO and national operating procedures.
The JMOTS staff monitor and control the Course from the Maritime Operations Centre at Faslane, while the Joint Force Air Component (JFAC) coordinate the Air Tasking Order from a deployed site. Serialised training at the CET/FIT Phase takes place on both the East and West coasts of Scotland, depending on the departure ports, as participants move to the North-West Coast of Scotland for the Operations Phase which includes operations set in a scenario which provides a deteriorating political situation that leads to hostilities. They are supported by over 50 Maritime Patrol, Air Defence and Airborne Early Warning aircraft which include the Tornado F3 and GR1, F15, F16, F18, E3A/D, VC10, Tristar, Canberra, Nimrod, Aurora, Atlantic and P3C and provide up to 800 flying hours on task. The Task Groups are also subjected to various submarine and surface attacks by the opposing Task group in addition to attacks by "Fast Inshore Attack Craft", asymmetric surface, air and land units. At the end of the sea phase, ships return to Faslane for de-briefing.
In accordance with the recommendations of the Directorate of Operational Capability Audit, Force Generation Review and Review of Operational Sea Training, we are continuously developing NWs to cope with the delivery of Force Elements (FEs) ready to participate as part of a component in a joint campaign. This process includes providing training to Battle Staffs embarked on Command Platforms, Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) escorts and validation of NATO's High Readiness Force (Maritime) (HRF(M)) units by the HRF(M) HQ and integration of US Carrier Strike Forces whilst developing particular littoral warfare themes such as Amphibious or Fast Patrol Boat Courses. Having successfully introduced Tomahawk training into NW we are continuing to enhance this aspect and are developing training for Real Time Targeting whilst working closely with the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) and the Maritime Warfare (MWC) to facilitate trials and develops tactics/procedures.
Integration of minor war vessels is something we continue to build on; to have Minesweepers, Frigates, Destroyers and land units all working together, enforces teamwork on a much wider scale. Expansion of the training by, and for, UK Battle Staffs is another step forward, taking the initial training at unit and individual CTG level up to and including Battle Staffs. The UK Maritime Battle Staff contribute regularly to NW and have consultant, training and validation roles.
For further information on JMOTS or Exercise NEPTUNE WARRIOR, please contact the Webmaster.