US' largest exercise in Europe in last 25 yrs to begin with live-fire exercise in Estonia

  • 2021-05-05
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The largest exercise of the United States in Europe in the last 25 years will kick off in Estonia when a live-fire exercise is carried out with a multiple launch rocket system on Wednesday evening.

The active phase of the Swift Response exercise, which started this week in Estonia, will begin with a live-fire exercise involving a multiple launch rocket system and scheduled to take place on the central training grounds of the defense forces on Wednesday evening, military spokespeople said.

The live-fire exercise is led by the 41st US Field Artillery Brigade. During the exercise, more than ten missiles will be fired from five rocket launchers. Due to the exercise, more noise than usual and the movement of military units may be observed in and around the central training grounds of the defense forces.

A multiple launch rocket system enables to attack high-value targets at great distances. During the live-fire exercise, fire control and targeting and coordination between different units and staffs are practiced.

On the evening of May 7, the 82nd Airborne Division will hold an airborne operation at Nurmsi Airfield, where hundreds of paratroopers will jump into the airfield, while equipment and heavy machinery will also be dropped into the airfield. The US troops will be transported to Estonia directly from their home base in North Carolina. The airborne operation is organized at night in a tactical situation as close to reality as possible.

Low-altitude flights will cause a significant amount of noise in the area. Imitation equipment and ammunition are also used during the exercise. Access to Nurmsi Airfield will be prohibited during the exercise and the airfield will be guarded by military police to ensure safety.

On the afternoon and night of May 8, US troops will travel by helicopter from Nurmsi Airfield to the central training grounds of the defense forces, where a helicopter landing will take place.

The Estonian units taking part in the exercise include members of the Viru, Alutaguse and Jarva districts of the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps, troops from Support Command, the Special Operations Command and the 1st Infantry Brigade and the Air Force.

Kaitseliit districts will operate against the US troops arriving in Estonia in the initial phase of the exercise and later will carry out territorial defense tasks together with allied forces.

The Air Force, together with allies, manages air operations in Estonia, and a record number of aircraft are located at Amari Air Base, including transport aircraft, tankers, attack and transport helicopters. The Support Command organizes logistical support, movements and accommodation for more than 2,000 allies and members of the defense forces.

The Swift Response exercise is part of the US-led exercise series Defender Europe 21, the largest US-led exercise in Europe in 25 years. Defender Europe is being held simultaneously in 16 European countries, with a total of 28,000 troops participating. In addition to Estonia, airborne operations are taking place in Bulgaria and Romania.

Within the framework of the Swift Response exercise, Estonia's defense in a possible crisis situation is practiced. The exercise in Estonia involves altogether some 2,500 Estonian, US and British troops, over 20 aircraft and more than 25 helicopters.