A view from the ground: the land component of Trident Juncture 2015

  • 03 Nov. 2015 -
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  • Last updated: 03 Nov. 2015 11:14

The capabilities of NATO's land forces are being put to the test during Exercise Trident Juncture 2015: the largest military exercise of the Alliance in more than a decade. Land forces from 16 NATO Allies are participating in the exercise together with air, maritime and special operations forces to improve their readiness and ability to work together across a wide range of capabilities.

Latvian soldiers from the Baltic Battalion at San Gregorio training area, Spain on October 27, 2015 during NATO exercise Trident Juncture 15. (Photo: Eriks Kukutis)

The land manoeuvres cover a wide scope: from Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear decontamination (done by a nine-nation Battalion) through urban combat operations (carried out by the Baltic Battalion, made up of the militaries from the three Baltic states) to artillery training and airborne jumps with US, Spanish, Italian and Canadian paratroopers. 

Spain, Italy and Portugal, the host nations for the exercise, are providing the training grounds for the land operations of the exercise. A demonstration of the capabilities of NATO's Land Forces will be given on November 4 at the San Gregorio Training Area in Spain. Forces from 12 NATO Allies will perform an offensive operation that involves a hostage rescue, minefield clearing and infantry attacks. Attack and cargo helicopters including U.S. Apaches, Chinooks and Blackhawks will perform missions in support of the overall demonstration. Fighter jets will also play close air support role to ground troops during the demonstrations. Senior NATO officials and Alliance military officials, including NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, will attend the event. 

Trident Juncture will also train and certify the NATO Response Force (NRF) Headquarters for 2016 and test elements of Spanish forces which will lead NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), or Spearhead Force, ahead of it becoming fully operational next year. 

More than 36,000 personnel from more than 30 nations are participating in Trident Juncture. The live military training element of the exercise, which opened on 19 October, will run until 6 November. The exercise includes more than 230 units, more than 140 aircraft and more than 60 ships.