Around 1,000 soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup and the Light Dragoons are deployed alongside troops from 11 partner nations including Poland, Denmark and the United States to take part in Exercise Defender Europe 22.
The exercise is part of an extensive programme of exercises, led by the US, with strong links to NATO and will present a significant messaging opportunity to reassure NATO members whilst simultaneously projecting an increased deterrence effect.
The multinational exercise is an annual event aimed at testing rapid deployment, building preparedness, and enhancing collaboration between Allies and partner nations.
The exercise involves British Challenger 2 tanks and other armoured vehicles deployed from the NATO Forward Holding Base in Sennelager, Germany. The deployment is supported by 104 Theatre Sustainment Brigade operating from the UK and in bases in Europe.
Commander of 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team, Brigadier Mike Cornwell OBE said:
“Exercise Defender Europe 22 is an excellent opportunity for us to deploy and train alongside partners and allies, demonstrating our ability to project a significant armoured force across Europe at the speed of relevance and maintaining the relationships and trust essential for regional and global security.
Headquarters 12th Armoured Brigade Combat Team and the King’s Royal Hussars Battlegroup, which includes a tank squadron from the Danish Army as well as two UK tank squadrons and an anti-tank company, have trained on challenging, complex terrain, operating alongside 10th Polish Brigade and preparing the King’s Royal Hussars for integration into 1st Estonian Brigade later in the year on Operation Cabrit”.
The exercise is part of the recent deployment of around 8,000 troops from the British Army who are taking part in one of the largest deployments since the Cold War on a series of planned exercises across Europe know as Project Unified Stance.
Challenger 2 tanks, AS90 tracked artillery guns and Warrior armoured fighting vehicles have all deployed to countries from Finland to North Macedonia, demonstrating the British Army’s modernisation into a lethal, agile and global force
Exercise Defender Europe 22 is an excellent opportunity for us to deploy and train alongside partners and allies, demonstrating our ability to project a significant armoured force across Europe at the speed of relevance and maintaining the relationships and trust essential for regional and global security. Brigadier Mike Cornwell OBE
Tens of thousands of troops from NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) allies and partners are involved in the exercises. The high readiness forces from the Lead Armoured Task Force and Air Manoeuvre Task Force will take part.
Poland, as one of the Defender Europe 22 host countries, will be represented by soldiers of the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade, 17th Mechanized Brigade, 12th Mechanized Brigade, 2nd Mechanized Brigade, 25th Air Cavalry Brigade, 6th Airborne Brigade, 2nd Engineering Regiment, 5th Mechanized Brigade, 2nd Chemical Regiment, the 9th Armoured Cavalry Brigade and the Territorial Defence Forces. Polish Air Force will support the exercise with the F-16 planes from the 2nd Tactical Aviation Wing, the Su-22 from the 1st Tactical Aviation Wing and the Mi-24 helicopters from the 1st Army Aviation Brigade.
Defender Europe 22 training in Poland will be conducted among others at training areas in Drawsko Pomorskie, Bemowo Piskie and Żagań. During the exercise, the troops’ ability to cooperate in a joint combat operation will be put to test using various training episodes including long-distance tactical marches, bridging rivers and live fire training.
The exercise series enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with allies and partners during a crisis. Living and training alongside our allies and partners in Europe helps maintain the relationships and trust that are essential for ensuring global security.