International military exercise Saber Strike 2018 has been officially opened during a ceremony near the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in Vilnius.
Conducted since 2010, Exercise Saber Strike has been designed to improve interaction between allied troops, and enhance regional stability.
US brigadier general Richard Coffman said: “This year the exercises focus on strengthening interaction of land, maritime, air and special operations capabilities, and also gives a training opportunity for the Nato enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Groups deployed in the Baltics.”
Exercise Saber Strike 2018 will involve the participation of approximately 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries training in Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Poland.
This year’s exercise will also see the redeployment of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment of the US Army from its base in Vilseck in Germany.
During the event, nearly 3,000 US soldiers and more than 1,500 combat equipment units will take two routes to deploy from Germany to Latvia and Lithuania.
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On 13 June, the exercise will host the Nemunas crossing operation, during which soldiers and equipment of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, US Army, will carry out a tactical crossing of River Nemunas near the town of Kulautuva in Kaunas district.
Lithuanian Armed Forces Defence Staff chief major general Vitalijus Vaikšnoras said that the Saber Strike exercise this year has provided an opportunity for Lithuanian and allied troops to rehearse actions in case of a crisis. It also gives Lithuania a chance to train Host Nation Support procedures.
All international exercises held in the country are coordinated by the Defence Staff of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
Concurrently, Lithuania is also hosting national Exercise Thunder Storm 2018.