Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) personnel wrapped up a training exercise in Latvia Sunday, aimed at honing both specialist and tactical skills.
The EDF's Scouts Battalion took part in Exercise Steel Shield (Terakilp) at the Adaži training area near Riga, with the unit's commander, Lt Co. Eero Aija saying that it had given personnel a realistic overview of battalion-level firepower, along with experience and skills in firing in cooperation with other units both on the offensive and the defensive.
Steel Shield is an annual exercise, which has involved the Scouts Battalion – a rapid response unit under the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade command – since 2005, and is in fact the culmination of its annual training cycle.
U.K. and Danish personnel from the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) based at Tapa also took part, which combined with the EDF members numbered close to 500.
"We now have a very close understanding of how to use combat vehicles and how the armored infantry works in general," Lt. Col. Aija said.
Much of Estonia's defense doctrine revolves around the use of mechanized armored infantry.
Lt. Col. Aija added that the EDF men had gained more experience in the workings of the Swedish-built Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90) tracked infantry vehicle, thanks to the exercise, and was unstinting in his praise of the soldiers' performance over the period it took place.
Exercise Steel Shield started last Monday and ran through to the weekend. Conscripts from the EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade also took part, including those from the Pioneer Battalion, who were involved in repairing any damage caused to the landscape during the exercise.
Meanwhile, eFP members were also involved in an exercise at Adaži.
Exercise Furious Axe involved U.K. Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) as well as Leopard 2 MBTs from the Canadian army. Latvia's eFP is Canadian-led.
Exercise Furious Axe involved U.K. Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) as well as German-made Leopard 2 MBTs from the Canadian army. Latvia's eFP is Canadian-led.
Editor: Andrew Whyte