This year's annual Spring Storm (Kevadtorm) large-scale military exercise starting this week is to focus on defensive actions inlcuing constructing defensive positions and obstacles, according to a report on ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" Monday evening. Due to the emergency situation installed in response to the coronavirus pandemic, 2020's Spring Storm will necessarily be a more modest affair than most previous years, with around a third of the number of participants that last year's exercise brought together.
Tarmo Luhäär, head of the Spring Storm's organization, said that defensive readiness of conscripts going on to reserve lists from Mid-May would not suffer due to the scaled-down nature of the exercise this year.
"The tactical activities of Spring Storm will not be affected, because there are still two brigades operating, and there has always been a focus on conscript-based units; these will be trained together to be ready for reserve service," Luhaäär said.
Spring Storm is the annual large-scale combat exercise involving the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) every spring, as the name suggests.
The first Spring Storm exercise was held in 2003 in Lääne-Viru County, and last year ran from April 29 to May 17 in Lääne-Viru, Ida-Viru, Harju and Jõgeva counties.
This year, around 3,200 personnel will take part, compared with the 10,000 taking part in previous years, and is the culmination of months of theoretical training.
The exercise taking place at the EDF's central polygon is divided into two parts, starting this week, with tactical field training involving units under the commander of the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades of the EDF. Early May sees firing exercises involving infantry and support units.
Personnel from the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) battlegroup, based at Tapa, east of Tallinn, and under the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade overall command, are reportedly also to take part.
"At the time the emergency situation started, the participants had already acquired all the theoretical knowledge. This is where they can put everything they learned into practice, so future reserve leaders can run their units. Future reservists can carry out in practice what they've been training for for a year," Luhäär went on.
"I believe that training for Spring Storm has been sufficient. I feel confident that the challenge ahead will not be overwhelming," said Cpl. Johan Tõugjas told "Aktuaalne kaamera".
Spring Storm this year also involves elements of the Cyber Command (Küberväejuhatus), the Estonian Air Force (Õhuvägi ) and the Military Police (Sõjaväepolitsei).
Editor: Andrew Whyte