Nearly 1,500 troops will take part in the Estonian portion of Saber Strike, the annual U.S. Army Europe-led training exercise taking place in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland beginning Monday, which will include all four enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) NATO battle groups for the first time.
Troops from the Estonian Defence Forces' (EDF) Scouts Battalion, the U.K., France, the U.S. and Finland will participate in the international exercise in Estonia.
According to Col. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, Saber Strike will first and foremost allow for the continued integration of the NATO battle group into the Estonian brigade, which is facilitated in part by practicing various battle situations together.
"The exercise will include a significant amount of U.S. Air Force equipment and this will in turn provide a good opportunity for the brigade's staff to practice the coordination of the activity of air strike facilities," said Palm.
During the two-week exercise, participating units will first practice completing various battle tasks in company-sized units which will be supported from the air by U.S. attack helicopters. In the second phase of the exercise, two opposing sides will be formed by prticipating units, of which one will play the attacking side and the other will practice delay and defense tactics.
In addition to the Estonian NATO battle group, which is comprised of the EDF's Scouts Battalion and British and French troops, also participating in Saber Strike in Estonia will be an engineer platoon from Finland as well as AH-64 Apache and UH-64 Black Hawk attack helicopters and forward air controllers from the U.S.
Latvia will lead the exercise this year. Units from a total of 20 NATO allied and partner states will be participating in Saber Strike this year, spread across Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Exercise-related activity in Estonia will be concentrated at the Central Training Ground and bases in Tapa and Ämari.
Editor: Aili Vahtla