Spring Storm drill in Estonia enters second week

  • 13 May. 2019 -
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  • Last updated: 13 May. 2019 12:17

Forces from across NATO are currently taking part in exercise Spring Storm in Estonia.

A British Army Apache AH1 attack helicopter lifts off during Spring Storm 19, Estonia's largest annual military exercise. Roughly 9,000 soldiers from Estonia, other NATO Allies and partner nations have gathered near the town of Jöhvi to engage in a collective defence exercise, strengthening their ability to work together in times of crisis. The exercise runs from 29 April until 10 May.

Taking place in the north-east of the country, the exercise brings together over 9,000 troops, among them thousands of Estonian conscripts, reservists, active servicemen and hundreds of vehicles from 15 NATO countries and partners. It is the largest annual exercise conducted by the Estonian armed forces. Part of Spring Storm involves exercising in urban areas and the countryside. Estonian Defence Forces have been coordinating air, land and naval forces, testing cooperation between various command levels and conducting readiness drills.

Spring Storm shows NATO is capable to defend against any adversary”, said NATO deputy spokesman Piers Cazalet. “It tests how well our forces work together and it is a strong expression of Allied solidarity”.

The exercise will test the readiness of NATO forces in responding to a fictional crisis.

Around 1,000 Allied troops assigned to NATO’s multinational battlegroup stationed in Estonia are taking part in the training. They are supported by Typhoon fighter aircraft from the United Kingdom and Germany alongside Polish aircraft, and Wildcat, Apache and Pavehawk helicopters. Some 2,600 Estonian conscripts are also taking part in the exercise which will mark the completion of their training. Spring Strom is also the main training opportunity for the country’s reservists with more than 2,300 taking part.

Spring Storm started on 6 May and will carry on until 17 May 2019.