Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will begin the final phase of preparation for the standby in the NATO Response Force (NRF-14) as the “Baltic Eagle 2009″ international exercise of the joint Baltic Battalion will be conducted in Adaži Military Area, Latvia, on 2 -17 June 2009.
Around 1,100 soldiers are going to take part in the exercise arranged to test combat readiness level of the unit. Planning and conduct of the exercise is completed by the Lithuanian Land Force Motorized Infantry Brigade “Iron Wolf” and corresponding brigades of Latvian and Estonian Land Forces. The exercise is scheduled by Land Force Commanders of the Baltic States.
All the evaluation processes will be conducted according to the NATO procedures. Evaluation will also be conducted on the national basis by representatives of each of the Baltic countries supported by personnel from the Danish Advisory and Training Staff that has been playing a significant role in the military training of the Baltic Land Forces’ brigades for several years. Representatives of NATO headquarters will provide supervision of the evaluation process.
According to the exercise scenario, the troops will deploy into the region of a military conflict and will conduct a wide scale of operations, including road march, offensive and defensive tasks.
The exercise will consist of three phases: force integration, field training, and live firing.
All the participating countries have already completed national evaluation of own forces’ combat readiness level. During the previous phases of preparation different types of joint exercises were conducted by the Battalion’s international staff as well as its separate units and elements at the national and international level. During the “Baltic Eagle 2009” evaluation of the Battalion will be conducted in a wider context: in Latvia all of the troops with all the arms and equipment will act on the ground and conduct operations jointly.
A significant number of modern weaponry and equipment, including third generation anti-tank guided missile “Spike”, modern heavy 8×8 multipurpose transporters SISU, armored personnel carriers SISU, personal assault rifles G36, and others, will be used in the exercise in Adaži Military Area.
“We have conducted various types of training and exercises – both at national and international level – for subunits of the Baltic Battalion, and they appear to be ready to fulfill the tasks they are likely to encounter in the future. Now, with all the troops on the ground, we will have the possibility to see how those different parts work in one machine. This will be a “dress rehearsal for a duty period” – says Lt. Col. Remigijus Baltrėnas, Commander of the Baltic Battalion and Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanized Infantry Battalion.
The Baltic Battalion was established in 2007 by a joint agreement of the Baltic States. Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Armed Forces provided personnel for the Battalion’s infantry company, combat support elements, and other capabilities. Each of the countries is responsible for providing logistic support for its national contingent. In total, Baltic countries contributed about eight hundred soldiers to the Battalion.
While conducting joint operations soldiers from different nations will use identical procedures and single language; however, some of the equipment used will differ.
NATO Response Force (NRF) is a highly ready and technologically advanced force of the Alliance made up of land, air, sea and special forces components that can deploy quickly wherever needed. It is self-sustainable and capable of performing missions worldwide across the whole spectrum of operations.
The Battalion will start its six-month standby period as a part of the land component in the 14th rotation of NRF in the beginning of 2010.
Lithuanian Armed Forces’ Contingent in the Baltic Battalion:
- Lithuanian Contingent will make around 40 percent of all the participants of the exercise; there are around 800 soldiers in the Baltic Battalion 500 of whom are Lithuanians.
- Lithuania will send to the exercise about 100 military vehicles of various types including 30 armoured vehicles, about 30 SISU vehicles, multi-purpose transporters, etc.
- Positions of authority in the Battalion are held by Lithuanian officers. Commander of the Baltic Battalion Lt. Col. Remigijus Baltrėnas is also the Commander of Lithuanian Grand Duke Algirdas Mechanised Infantry Battalion providing personnel for the Lithuanian Contingent of BALTBAT.