TAPPA, Estonia – NATO's enhanced Forward Presence (eFP) Battlegroups in the Baltics and Poland are preparing to take part in extreme cold weather exercises, ensuring NATO flanks remain prepared and defended in adverse weather conditions.
Within the NATO Alliance, and including NATO partners, there is an enormous wealth of knowledge and expertise operating in cold weather to Arctic conditions. Many NATO countries have specialist mountain warfare units and indeed many have marine forces that regularly train in such conditions in order to operate in all theatres. This year, NATO will undertake specialist exercises in sub-zero conditions in order to reinforce such skills in austere cold locations.
"As a fully operational armoured unit, there are certain precautions we must take to ensure our weapons and equipment remains serviceable and fit for purpose, regardless of any weather conditions," said Captain Bryn Reeves. "From our individual skills to things such as how to drive with tracks, battery maintenance and lubricants, extreme weather can have an effect and as a battle group we continue to train in these conditions to ensure we are ready for any eventuality."
In Estonia, the winter temperature on average does not fall below -15 Celsius and the British led battlegroup along with the Estonian Defence Forces have already conducted several exercises in cold weather conditions where both Challenger 2 and Warrior performed extremely well.
"My battalion has vast experience operating in all sorts of climates around the world but there is no doubt in such cold weather conditions, personal military discipline and awareness of the environment is essential. I am delighted with the support offered by the Royal Marines cadre who continue to provide an insight into how they conduct war fighting in Arctic conditions," said Lieutenant Colonel Owain Luke, the eFP Battlegroup-Estonia Commander. "Their skill and professionalism has reminded all in my battlegroup how effective our kit is, and in particular the cold weather equipment and clothing supplements we have been issued. Through extensive use I and my battle group are completely confident in the protection it provides."
Looking ahead to March, Sweden will lead and host Ex WINTER SUN where NATO Alliance members will participate in this highly demanding cold weather exercise. The opportunity to learn from the Swedish Armed Forces who are highly capable in such a testing environment is sure to provide excellent training opportunities and further enhance NATO's 360 degree approach to credible defence.
Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office