The ability of the Royal Navy to cope with events such as a terrorist attack on the Olympics is being tested next week with a massive exercise involving warships from across Europe and North America.
A total of 8,000 personnel on board 30 vessels are taking part in the Joint Warrior exercise off the west coast of Scotland, which is aimed at creating a task group capable of being deployed to worldwide incidents such as last year's war in Libya.
The event, starting on Monday and lasting two weeks, is one of the biggest to be held in the area.
A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: "The flexibility of the fleet to deal with unexpected events such as Libya last year or provide security at the Olympics in London is to be put to the test.
"Although a regular bi-annual exercise, Joint Warrior prepares not only the UK, but also the US, Denmark, Norway, France, Canada, Germany and the Netherlands for a vast range of maritime dangers.
"And this time, it is even bigger than before - with a total of 8,000 personnel taking part, 3,000 more than usual, with the aim being to generate a purpose-built task group ready to react to global events at just a moment's notice."
Captain Phil Titterton, commanding officer of Joint Tactical Exercise Planning Staff (JTEPS), the team responsible for organising the exercise, said: "The Royal Navy is coming en masse.
"This year Joint Warrior is generating the Royal Navy's high-end war fighting capabilities for use as and when required for maritime defence around the world.
"It gives a full spectrum of multinational training in a testing environment and provides all the players with a view on how they would work together under coalition and Nato operations.
"These are the assets that will be used in the event of global operations so they must be able to work alongside each other effectively."