Allied airborne units in Europe will join together as a multi-national team to practice their ability to quickly and effectively respond to regional crises during the U.S. Army Europe-led exercise Swift Response 17: Phase II, here, Oct 2-20.
Swift Response 17-2 will include approximately 6,000 participants from 12 NATO and European partner nations.
The exercise will feature multi-national, airborne, joint forcible entry personnel and equipment drops; air assault operations; a force build-up using a short take-off and landing strip; and non-combatant evacuation operations.
Swift Response 17-2 is a multi-national training event that allows allies to connect — personally, professionally, technically and tactically — to build stronger, more capable forces that are ready at a moment’s notice to respond to crisis situations.
Off-post maneuver rights areas will be used as drop zones during the exercise to provide Allied airborne units the space required to conduct proper tactical maneuvers. Access in and around those off-post areas will only be affected for several hours on the days of the airborne jumps. German and U.S. safety officials will be on site to direct traffic around those areas during the operation.
Media days will be held Oct. 9-10, 2017. Media interested in attending the exercise should contact the 7th Army Training Command Public Affairs Office by Thursday, Oct. 5 at email@example.com.
PABRADE, Lithuania — At a camp nestled in Lithuania’s remote, rainy forests, Staff Sgt. Erick Martinez and his platoon of artillerymen settled into a cycle: maintain the howitzers, work out and chow down on palate-pleasing international field rations as they wait for the order to fire.
Martinez and his platoon are among 500 173rd Airborne Brigade soldiers that swooped into the Baltics this month on a mission to deter Russian aggression.
They have joined war games with local troops and new NATO battle groups deployed to the broader region — a buildup that collectively represents the alliance’s largest reinforcement of its eastern flank since the end of the Cold War.
“The hours are long, but the morale is high,” Martinez said from inside a camouflaged artillery enclosure within the mossy woods.
“We keep ourselves busy each day, taking care of our area and doing what we have to do. But then we get the order to fire, and we’ve been firing a lot. We’re loving it.”
The 173rd’s 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment is leading the U.S. effort in Bayonet Shield, which will culminate in the weeks ahead with a massive international live-fire drill.
In places like Pabrade, the brigade’s soldiers are working side-by-side with international forces as they train with high-powered weaponry. The crackle of .50-caliber shots repeatedly echoes from the target range into the woods where soldiers take shelter in tents.
In between the drills, one of the rewards for the soldiers in the Baltics is a break from American MRE monotony.
In Latvia, soldiers get traditional kebabs and meat dishes, while those camped out in Lithuania’s forests receive Canadian MREs, complete with a longer-lasting version of poutine, the Quebec specialty of mushy fries bathed in gravy and cheese.
Members of a multinational NATO battalion handle much of the cooking and have had the most interaction with U.S. troops.
Soldiers have relished the chance to mingle with their counterparts.
“We’re working with people from all over the world. We’re sleeping on mattresses. We have tents over our heads and we have controlled heating,” said Capt. Thomas Huens, 1-91 Headquarters troop commander. “Life’s about as good as it can get in the Army.”
For Army senior leaders, placing paratroopers in the Baltics was part of a plan to bolster allied presence in the region as Russia conducted its own large-scale war games just across the dividing line between Russia and NATO turf.
But for most of the soldiers on the ground, the geopolitics are an afterthought as they go about their daily tasks.
“Some days our guys are starting training at (9 a.m.), and working until (2 a.m.) the next morning.
They don’t have time to focus on anything else,” said Lt. Col. Hugh Jones, commander of the 173rd’s 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment (Airborne). “We’re focusing on training and doing what we do. We are making the absolute most of our time here.”
Soldiers of the Georgia National Guard Company H, 121st Infantry (Airborne) Long Range Surveillance Unit conducted an airborne insertion with British ‘C’ Coy, 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment as part of Exercise Noble Partner 2017. Noble Partner 2017 is a U.S. Army Europe-led exercise designed to support the training, progression, and eventual certification of Georgia’s 2nd Light Infantry Company’s contribution to the NATO Response Force.
STRUGI KRASNYE /Pskov region/, August 10. /TASS/. Russia’s Airborne Force and the Belarusian Special Operations Force (SOF) plan to hold joint military exercises near the western Russian city of Pskov, near the Estonian border in September, SOF First Deputy Chief of Staff Colonel Viktor Gulevish said on Thursday.
“We have been considering issues concerning our joint military drills, they are going to be battalion task exercises,” the Belarusian colonel said that a battalion of the Vitebsk Regiment would represent the country in the drills.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the military exercises are planned to be held at the base where the 76th Guards Air Assault Division of the Russian Airborne Force is deployed, which is located on the outskirts of the city of Pskov, as part of the Zapad-2017 (or West 2017) strategic drills.
A delegation of the Belarusian Special Operations Force has arrived to monitor the drills of Russia’s 104th Air Assault Regiment, currently taking place near Pskov.
Gulevich, who heads the Belarusian delegation, said that he had been greatly impressed by the large scale of the military exercises. “We have the same training system, only our tasks slightly differ,” he said. “We could never imagine any task that would stipulate such large-scale drills,” he added.
The Belarusian colonel also commended the efficiency of new military hardware being used during the drills, which particularly includes the BMD-4M airborne assault vehicles and Rakushka armored personnel carriers.
PATRIOT PARK (Moscow Region), All the Russian airborne and air assault divisions have been rearmed with Verba new man-portable air defense missile systems, Airborne Force Commander Colonel-General Andrei Serdyukov said on Thursday.
“We are currently completing the delivery of the fourth-generation Verba man-portable air defense missile systems to the Airborne Force. As of today, all airborne divisions have been supplied with these systems and now efforts are under way to deliver them to separate airborne assault brigades in a planned manner,” the commander said on the eve of the 87th anniversary of establishing the Russian Airborne Force.
The Verba man-portable air defense missile systems are capable of striking tactical aviation planes, attack helicopters, cruise missiles and remotely controlled aircraft in oncoming and catch-up courses in daytime and at night in the conditions of the target’s visual visibility, including amid background and artificial interference.
The new systems are capable of hitting targets with low infrared emissions in a head-on engagement at the far boundary of the destruction zone at extremely low altitudes, the commander said.
As compared to their predecessors, the new short-range air defense missile systems feature expanded combat capabilities and destroy targets highly effectively, despite powerful optical counter-measures, the commander said.
As compared to the previous man-portable air defense missile systems, the Verba complex has its area of engaging targets with low emissions increased several times and its protection against powerful pyrotechnical interference boosted several dozen times.
While the procedure of using the new man-portable air defense missile system in combat is similar to the procedure of employing its predecessors, the Verba system needs a smaller number of missiles for striking a target while the temperature range of its use has been expanded to minus 50 degrees Celsius, the commander said.