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Exercise Purple Warrior

Volume 124: debated on Tuesday 8 December 1987

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42.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what lessons were learned from exercise Purple Warrior.

75.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he is now in a position to make a statement on the outcome of exercise Purple Warrior.

A full assessment of the lessons to be learnt from exercise Purple Warrior is under way and will take some time to complete. However, our initial assessments indicate that the exercise was an outstanding success.This has been the most ambitious national joint amphibious exercise for decades and has realised substantial gains for the United Kingdom's capability to operate outside the NATO area. Many new capabilities and procedures were exercised for the first time in a realistic operational environment. In particular, the complex command and control structure of joint amphibious operations was thoroughly tested and proven. Equally, the exercise has produced significant benefits in terms of enhanced tri-service integration and cooperation.The very detailed consultation process which took place between the exercise planners and the local community proved to be most successful in reducing the inconvenience caused to local residents by the exercise and minimising damage to the environment. Damage repair units and suitably qualified claims assessors were on hand throughout the exercise period and are still on site to assess what repairs are necessary.The exercise was host for the first time on United Kingdom territory to observers under the terms of the Stockholm document. We welcomed this opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to the agreement and its role in lessening suspicion and mistrust, and hence improving security in Europe.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what was the nature and estimated value of damage caused to military property and equipment during exercise Purple Warrior;(2) what was the nature and estimated value of damage caused to civilian property during exercise Purple Warrior;(3) how many

(a) military and (b) civilian personnel were injured as a result of military operations during exercise Purple Warrior;

(4) how many complaints have been received about disturbance or damage caused by military vehicles and troops participating in exercise Purple Warrior.

Damage to military property and equipment during exercise Purple Warrior was almost all of a relatively minor nature and was sustained mainly as a result of an accidental collision at sea, storm damage and a vehicle fire: the cost of this damage has not yet been finally assessed. Claims so far received in respect of damage to civilian property caused by exercise activity, are all minor in nature and relate mainly to land and fences: these claims are currently being evaluated and it is too soon to estimate the cost of damage caused. Fifty-eight military personnel required medical treatment during the exercise for a range of minor injuries; no civilian injuries were reported. A few complaints relating to instances of disturbance and damage caused by military vehicles and personnel participating in the exercise were received by the exercise planning staff during the exercise and dealt with locally; no similar complaints have been received by my Department since the exercise began.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints have been received about disturbance from low-flying aircraft participating in exercise Purple Warrior.