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Spring Storm a success, says EDF commander

Exercise during Spring Storm.
Exercise during Spring Storm. Source: mil.ee

This year's Spring Storm large-scale military exercise, which has drawn to a close, was a success all-round, according to Maj. Gen Martin Herem, commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF).

"It went more or less in accordance with our scenario," said Maj. Gen. Herem, speaking at the exercise's concluding event on Thursday, BNS reports.

"The maneuvers that we wanted to test and rehearse, we managed to accomplish in their entirety. In that sense nothing was left missing," he continued, according to military spokespeople.

He added that another indicator that Spring Storm had gone well was the absence of accidents and injuries to personnel. 

The commander did however note there were lessons to be learned form the impact on the natural environment that this year's Spring Storm had.

"This is not so good, but many of these things were known to us beforehand and we have learned a lot from them. This includes matters of environmental protection, which we will be looking at, to learn how to do things better in the future," he continued.

The exact nature of the environmental damage incurred by Spring Storm was not reported.

The 16th annual Spring Storm exercise tested the synchronicity of defense forces' operation plans, including not just the EDF and Estonian personnel, including large numbers of reservists, but also Estonia's NATO allies, cooperation between different levels of command, and unit readiness in the performance of battle tasks.

Plenty of new aspects were experimented with, including the capability of the defense forces' main command post in solving various domestic contingencies based on an invented scenario, the support of governmental institutions via their capability, and simultaneous preparation for countering a military threat against the country, it is reported.

Another reported first for this year's Spring Storm was the involvement of a Polish coastal defense missile unit, which rehearsed protecting Estonian sea routes, in conjunction with Estonian naval personnel. The missile unit is capable of destroying both seaborne and strategic ground-based targets. 

The EDF's 1st Infantry Brigade formed the kernel of the Spring Storm training, with land, air and sea units also partaking, including elements of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, Support Command, and other EDF and Defence League (Kaitseliit) personnel, plus NATO troops from both the Estonia-based enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) and personnel who specifically travelled to Estonia to participate in Spring Storm.

Stats and details

Participating in Spring Storm 2019 were:

  • 9,000 participants from 17 different countries were involved in Spring Storm.
  • Hundreds of military support and combat vehicles including mechanized combat vehicles and tanks.
  • Luftwaffe (Germany) and RAF (UK) Eurofighter jets, Siły Powietrzne (Poland) Sukhoi Su-22 attack aircraft.
  • US and British army Apache, Wildcat and Pavehawk helicopters, as well as Estonian helicopters.

The bulk of the exercise took place in Lääne-Viru and Ida-Viru Counties, with parts of Harju and Jõgeva Counties also being affected.

Editor: Andrew Whyte

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