500 Estonian troops to take part in NATO exercise in Spain (1)
Around 500 Estonian Defense Forces members will head to Spain in October to take part in Trident Juncture, along with over 35,000 other NATO soldiers.
Head of the NATO and European Union Department at the Estonian Ministry of Defense, Erki Kodar, told Postimees the exercise is Africa-orientated, but is practicing for more than just conflict control.
The exercise takes place in Spain (land forces), Portugal (naval forces) and Italy (air forces).
Kodar said the exercise is a turning point for NATO, which is moving forward from the Afghanistan era to a period where focus is on very quick reaction capabilities.
The maneuvers are a test to NATO rapid reaction forces with 27, out of 28 NATO members taking part. Only Iceland will not participate. Besides NATO members, soldiers from seven partner nations of Australia, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Sweden, Finland and Ukraine are also taking part, as are a number of international organizations.
The exercise will take place from October 3 to November 6, and is NATO's largest exercise since 2002.