UK military personnel to participate in Allied Shield Baltic exercises

1 June 2015 (Last Updated June 1st, 2015 18:30)

UK military personnel are scheduled to be deployed to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states to participate in a series of military exercises early next month.

HMS Ocean

UK military personnel are scheduled to be deployed to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states to participate in a series of military exercises early next month.

Collectively known as Allied Shield, the four exercises will see personnel from Nato member and partner nations come together to practise conducting joint operations, while demonstrating the alliance's commitment to collective defence.

The UK Army and Royal Navy are taking part in two of the Allied Shield exercises, code-named Baltops and Saber Strike.

Conducted in Poland and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, Exercise Saber Strike 2015 will bring together 3,000 personnel from the host nations and allies to conduct joint infantry, and close air support exercises.

Britain will deploy 170 soldiers for the war games from 8 June, including the Battle Group headquarters and a company from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Gurkha Rifles.

The exercise is designed to boost interoperability and military cooperation, in preparation for future joint operations as part of the Nato Response Force and, in time, the very-high-readiness joint task force.

Involving nearly 4,500 soldiers, 47 ships, and 49 aircraft from 17 nations, including a 700-strong amphibious landing force, Exercise Baltops will allow trainees to practise a range of capabilities, including anti-surface, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare, mine countermeasures, and amphibious landings.

"Operating alongside other nations' forces on land, sea, and in the air, we are able to enhance our ability to conduct joint operations now and in the future."

The annual maritime and amphibious warfare exercise would be held in the Baltic Sea, and around the coast of Poland.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "Operating alongside other nations' forces on land, sea, and in the air, we are able to enhance our ability to conduct joint operations now and in the future, and respond to any threat to the alliance.

"Following the deployment of RAF Typhoons on the Baltic Air Policing mission, and the army's participation in Estonia's largest ever military exercise earlier this month, the UK will continue to play a key role in the collective defence of Nato countries."

Britain's contributions to Nato assurance measures, including exercises in Eastern Europe, are scheduled to continue throughout 2015 and beyond.


Image: HMS Ocean carries the UK Army's Apache attack helicopters for firing exercises. Photo: Crown copyright.