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From Wales to Warsaw

25 May 2016

British soldiers are taking part in large scale training exercises in Germany, Poland and the Baltic States ahead of the Warsaw NATO Summit in July, with the 25,000-strong* Polish-led Exercise ANAKONDA 16 taking centre stage as the largest allied exercise this year. Sixteen allied nations will take part in exercises showing the significant progress made since the creation of the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the last NATO Summit in Wales in 2014.

Exercise SWIFT RESPONSE  - from 5 to 27 June - will see paratroopers from 16 Air Assault Brigade and  3 PARA taking part in the largest parachute drop since the end of the Cold War with the US 82nd Airborne Division and the Polish 6th Airborne Brigade.  1800 chutes will descend on drop zones in Poland and Germany supported by, amongst others, aircraft from Joint Helicopter Command.

Ex ANAKONDA 16 will also see British armoured and amphibious engineers working alongside German Bundeswehr engineers to lay an M3 bridge across the Vistula River at Chelmno in Poland.  Once the bridge is laid, a large contingent of US Cavalry with 300 vehicles will cross the river and link up with airborne forces at Torun on 7 June.

Ex SABRE STRIKE is a cooperative training exercise to improve interoperability involving soldiers from the First Fusiliers.  NATO and thirteen partner nations including Poland, the Baltic States, the US and the UK will be taking part from 27 May to 22 June 16.

Key units from the British Army taking part include:

  • 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment
  • 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
  • 16 Air Assault Brigade
  • 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment
  • 4th Regiment Army Air Corps
  • 75 Engineer Regiment, Royal Engineers
  • 6 Supply Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps

Ex Dragon Poland 2015

Wales Summit 2014

At the NATO summit, attended by 60 world leaders in Wales in 2014, member nations agreed a number of measures to ensure the alliance continues to be at the forefront of building stability in an unpredictable world. The VJTF is one of many measures agreed to at the Wales summit.

VJTF – Very High Readiness Joint Task Force – of 20,000 personnel of which about 5,000 are ground troops, consists of a land component with air, maritime and special operations components as needed.  It will be able to deploy within a few days to respond to any challenges that may arise.

Currently the VJTF16 is Spanish-led and the UK contributes 1,000 personnel. The VJTF17 will be British-led under 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade from 1 Jan 17. The British Army is contributing 3,000 troops and will be the lead task force of 14 nations.

The Warsaw Summit

The Warsaw Summit takes place on 8-9 July 2016. Strengthening and modernising NATO’s defence and deterrence posture will be at the heart of the Summit.

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