US military personnel have conducted a tank live fire exercise with M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks (MBTs) at the Pabrades Training Area in Lithuania.
The exercise represents first such drill by the soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, US Army in Europe, since they were deployed to Lithuania for combined training as part of a new shift in the rotation.
The rotation consists of approximately 150 soldiers assigned to Fort Stewart, Georgia, US, and at Vilseck, Germany, and 20 vehicles, including five M1A2 Abrams tanks.
Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas was quoted by Reuters as saying that the exercise demonstrated the security capability of the country.
US combat team commander colonel Rob Ashe said: "The operation today, the intent was for us to display the capabilities of the M1A2 tanks for the Lithuanians and it gives them an opportunity to see what the firepower is and the mobility, so that when we do have the opportunity to work together, to have a better understanding of how we can integrate.
"I think the way it improves the security is one, we demonstrate our willingness to be here, we demonstrate that we are committed to our Nato requirements and that we are committed to our partners here in Europe.
"It also demonstrates that we have the ability logistically to quickly move people and equipment into the country."
The US military has deployed soldiers on a rotating basis in the Baltic States and Poland since April last year, as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve (OAR).
Led by the US Army in Europe HQ, OAR is a demonstration of continued US commitment to the collective security of Nato and to enduring peace and stability in the region, in the wake of Russia’s role in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Image: US soldiers conducted a tank live fire exercise with M1A2 Abrams tanks at the Pabrades Training Area in Lithuania. Photo: courtesy of Alfredas Pliadis.