Gallery: Major Estonian Defense Forces exercise SIIL kicks off
Monday marks the start of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) major training exercise SIIL 2022 (Hedgehog) involving 15,000 EDF, allied and partner personnel.
"The strength of our Defense Forces lies in reservists. By involving them and recalling their necessary skills, we will strengthen the defense capabilities of our country, "said Maj. Gen. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the exercise. "This exercise gives us the opportunity to raise reservists' awareness of military tasks and to practice the activities necessary for unit operations.
The main goal of SIIL 2022 is to check the combat readiness of the Defense Forces and ability to respond to threat scenarios in an international framework.
The main units controlling the exercise are the 2nd Infantry Brigade and the Strategic Communication Center of the Cyber Command.
This year's exercise will take place from May 16 to June 3, and the activities will take place throughout almost all of Estonia. The main maneuvering activities of the units will take place in southern Estonia, combat shooting exercises at the Central Training Area of the Defense Forces as well as in Saaremaa.
In addition to SIIL, several other exercises are being conducted in Estonia and its immediate vicinity at the same time. Latvia is organizing the exercise Namejs, within the framework of which, among other things, cross-border cooperation and command procedures with the Estonian Defense Forces will be practiced. As part of the Defender Europe exercise of the U.S. Armed Forces, the U.S. Marines (USMC) are operating in Saaremaa in cooperation with the Allies. Combat artillery exercises are also being carried out at sea. NATO's Northern Division staff will be conducting the Knight Legion exercise.
The Army, the Air Force and the Navy, the Defense League, the Cyber Command, as well as the Support Command and the Special Operations Command, will take part in SIIL. In addition, the NATO Battlegroup located in Estonia as well as Allied units arriving here during the exercises will take part.
Nearly 7,100 reservists and participants from the Estonian Defense League, 2,500 conscripts, 2,000 active duty members and 4,200 allied soldiers from ten countries will take part in SIIL. The exercise uses hundreds of types of equipment, including armored vehicles, infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, ships, helicopters and airplanes.
During the three weeks of the exercise, more combat equipment and vehicle columns will be moving on Estonian roads than usual. The Defense Forces are asking drivers to follow temporary traffic management measures and the warnings of regulators, we also hope that fellow road users will maintain an understanding attitude during the exercise, the EDF press release said.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski
Source: Estonian Defense Forces