Brunssum, The Netherlands – Lieutenant General Luis Lanchares, Deputy Commander (DCOM) of NATO Joint Force Command Brunssum (HQ JFCBS), visited Tapa, Estonia on 22nd May, 2023, for a Distinguished Visitors’ Day event as part of the 18th edition of Exercise Spring Storm.
Forward Defence means we must be strong enough to deter and defeat any threat
During the visit, he took time to observe the capabilities of the Estonian Armed Forces and NATO Multinational Battlegroup Estonia.
With more than 14,000 participants from 12 NATO countries, Exercise Spring Storm 2023 provided a valuable opportunity for NATO Battlegroup Estonia and allies. The exercise scenario required BG Estonia to practice hosting a mock crisis deployment of additional forces to Tapa, which temporarily grew the Battlegroup to brigade size.
Set against the challenging Estonian terrain, ground units were tested in realistic battlefield situations, ranging from trench assaults and reconnaissance missions to light infantry tactics, armoured vehicle manoeuvres, and combined arms warfare. The various units participating worked to develop interoperability in a variety of multi-domain training scenarios.
As the framework nation of NATO Battlegroup Estonia, more than 1,500 personnel from all three services of the UK Armed Forces joined forces with personnel from Estonia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the USA. Members of the Royal Air Force conducted training exercises in reconnaissance and air-land integration. Additionally, Royal Marines Commandos presented the UK's maritime strike capability through a beach assault exercise.
The peer-on-peer format of the exercise allowed the Battlegroup's reconnaissance capabilities to be tested against the Queen’s Royal Hussars heavy armour, and vice versa.
Lieutenant General Lanchares highlighted the significance of the exercise, and NATO's commitment to provide Forward Defence to the allies and partners along NATO’s eastern flank.
“Forward Defence means we must be strong enough to deter and defeat any threat,” said Lieutenant General Lanchares. “The Estonian Division and the Brigade-strength commitment to NATO's UK-led multinational battlegroup are a clear message to potential adversaries that NATO will defend every inch of Alliance territory.”