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NATO Allies and European Partners Show of Firepower in the Balkans

Troops joined NATO and partner forces from 13 countries in the Joint Allied Power Demonstration Day (JAPDD) in Cincu, Romania, which was the culmination of a key NATO exercise called Steadfast Defender.

The Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) Group capability from 3rd Battalion The Rifles is the forward element and the eyes and ears of the multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) Brigade.

"The level of capability on show is second to none." Warrant Officer Class Two Dave Merchant

The JAPDD followed a rapid deployment of the VJTF Brigade to Romania by land, sea and air conducting integration and rehearsals immediately prior to the event and is running alongside the US-led exercise called Defender Europe 21 – the largest deployment of multinational troops in Europe for decades, encapsulating more than 30,000 personnel from 27 nations, conducting co-ordinated operations across more than 30 training areas in a dozen countries.

Protected by the UK’s Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Atlantic and France’s Charles de Gaulle in the Mediterranean, the JAPDD illustrated the significant and wide-ranging firepower NATO is able to deploy at very short notice.

Immediately after the demonstration the 3 Rifles ISR group rapidly deployed as part of Exercise Saber Guardian, the final phase of Defender Europe 21, with the British soldiers providing flank protection and screening for the (VJTF) Brigade, as well as integrating into Italian and Spanish Mechanised Infantry Battalions.

Our leading role is illustrative of our ever-ready posture, positioned around the world, globally ready to respond to any threats that emerge – one of the capabilities driving the Army’s Future Soldier ambitions.

The 3 Rifles ISR group is made up from their Fire Support Company with enablers from the Headquarters Company, 1 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps and 6 Armoured Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Boardman, Commanding Officer 3 Rifles, said: “The JAPDD is a culmination of our work on Exercise Steadfast Defender. We’ve been working on our interoperability with our NATO partners and proving the capability of the multinational VJTF Brigade.

“It’s a very strong and clear demonstration of the significant warfighting capability of the VJTF and our ability to respond to any aggressors if required. It really shows our confidence in operating alongside our partner nations in this display of firepower that’s a very impressive spectacle to watch.”

Warrant Officer Class Two Dave Merchant said: “The JAPDD involved a wealth of capabilities coming together, from reconnaissance to explosive ordnance disposal, there’s been the Romanian Special Forces going through urban operations, we’ve got fast air – you name it, it’s all here in this demonstration of firepower.

“The level of capability on show is second to none.”

Exercise Defender Europe 21 brings together various capabilities from across the British Army, such as airborne and parachuting capability from 16 Air Assault Brigade, logistical expertise through 1(UK) Division and 104th Logistic Support Brigade, as well as infantry fighting forces from 3 (UK) Division