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Allies exercise in Sabre Strike, Thunder Storm

PABRADE TRAINING AREA, Lithuania - Exercise SABRE STRIKE, a US-led exercise, where NATO nations have combined with US Forces in large-scale reinforcement is drawing to a close. The German-led battlegroup has also participated in Exercise THUNDER STORM, the Lithuanian Home-Defence exercise with approximately 3,000 personnel.

Exercise THUNDER STORM is an annual defence exercise which practises alert, mobilisation and deployment to defensive positions. NATO enhanced Forward Presence nations have supported both exercises with the Iron Wolf Brigade providing the main forces for THUNDER STORM.

"Extensive Planning has taken place for some time, in order to prepare and provide valuable training on this joint field exercise where we have practiced all forms of defensive and offensive action," said Colonel Mindaugas Steponavicius Lithuanian Army 'Iron Wolf' Brigade Commander.
"We are well trained and ready to defend ourselves. This is vital for effective deterrence and I am very confident in our collective capabilities."

Although an annual Lithuanian Defence exercise, this year's interaction with HQ Multi-National Corps North East has provided demanding training opportunities for both the headquarters and the eFP battlegroup. Battlegroup Lithuania is made up of 8 nations from Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Iceland, Lithuania, Netherlands and Norway. France's 40 Artillery Regiment provided air defence for the eFP battlegroup formation.

"This is a great opportunity for my personnel to take part in a NATO exercise where we have trained and operated with many different nations" said Lieutenant Martial, a troop commander with the field artillery battery. "We have been able to test our own procedures and also have sight of other national capabilities. I am very pleased with our level of standardisation and interoperability"

Although 40 Artillery Regiment will return to Suippes, France, the French contribution to the German-led battlegroup consists of a combined arms battle group of field artillery, armour and infantry and will rotate early in the beginning of the summer.

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