Uk and Polish soldiers

The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has confirmed plans to contribute an additional 500 military personnel to the NATO‘s Very High-Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

The additional soldiers will take the total number of personnel deployed by the UK in support of VJTF to 3,000. The UK is set to assume the role of lead nation in the VJTF in 2017, and on rotation thereafter.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "These additional 500 troops show our commitment to the task force and our leadership within the Alliance.

"We’re putting our most experienced and capable troops at the heart of Nato’s collective defence.

"Good progress is being made in getting the new Task Force ready to operate next year.

"The UK is contributing a full battle group to the Spanish-led VJTF, and we will lead the fully operational force in 2017."

Consisting of maritime, land, and air units, the VJTF is a multinational high-readiness ‘Spearhead Force,’ able to respond at short notice to aggression on territories of the Nato member states.

"We’re putting our most experienced and capable troops at the heart of Nato’s collective defence."

Currently being developed by a number of allied nations including the UK, the task force was launched at the 2014 Nato Wales Summit, and is on track to achieve operational readiness by 2016.

Supported by two additional land brigades as a ‘rapid reinforcement capability’ in an event of a major crisis, the VJTF forms part of the Nato readiness action plan, which offers a comprehensive package of response measures to changes in the security environment on the alliance’s borders and further afield that are of concern to allies.

The UK has already made significant contributions to the force, including infantry, an armoured battle group, and combat support elements, such as artillery and engineer regiments, which will be supplemented by the new batch of soldiers.

In addition, the country will contribute manpower to two regional headquarters in Poland and Romania, and to force integration units in Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, as the VJTF lead nation in 2017.

Image: British and Polish military personnel on the turret of a Polish Leopard 2 main battle tank during joint exercises in Eastern Europe. Photo: Crown copyright.