Major exercises demonstrate NATO Allies’ readiness
Troops from NATO Allies and partners are taking part in a series of long-planned major military exercises stretching from the High North to the Mediterranean to enhance the readiness of NATO forces.
In March, 20,000 NATO troops, plus Finland and Sweden, train to defend Norway in exercises “Joint Viking” and “Joint Warrior”, the largest drills in Europe’s Arctic this year. In the Mediterranean, ships, submarines and aircraft from nine NATO Allies conducted anti-submarine warfare drills during exercise “Dynamic Manta”. France is holding its largest military drill in decades as part of “Orion 23”, involving 19,000 Allied troops over three months. Around 600 German troops are practicing defending Lithuania during “Griffin Lightning”. Flying out of Spain, US B-52 bombers hold joint drills with Allied air forces across Europe.
NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said, “these are long-planned defensive exercises. In a more contested and dangerous security environment, they send a clear message: NATO stands strong and ready to defend every inch of Allied territory.”
In February, aircraft carriers from the United States, Italy and Spain trained together in the Mediterranean during the “Neptune series” of naval drills. U.S and French troops from NATO’s battlegroup in Romania tested the Alliance’s eastern flank defences, including with HIMARS firings, during “Eagle Royal 23”. Operating from the US’s northernmost base, the US deployed F-35 fighter jets to Thule air base in Greenland for the first time ever in January as part of “Noble Defender”. In Estonia, “Winter Camp” saw the participation of 30 British Challenger 2 tanks and Leopard 2 tanks from Denmark train in winter conditions.”