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Mar 12 2023

Video: France holds the biggest military exercise in decades - Orion 23

You may already know that Exercise Orion is the largest military exercise to be held in France for decades, involving 7,000 soldiers during the second phase. But did you know that France has also integrated troops from 7 different NATO Allies into phase 2 of Exercise Orion? 

These included joint assets from the US and UK, as well as naval assets from Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain. Exercise Orion's second phase focused on operations on land, air, sea, cyberspace, and even space. 

700 French soldiers from the 8th Marines Infantry Parachute Regiment and an associated company from the 17 Engineer Parachute Regiment were dropped on an airstrip in Castres by 3 A400M transport planes. Another 3 aircraft dropped 48 hours’ worth of equipment and supplies for the force to secure and hold the area. B Company, 2nd Battalion the Royal Gurkha Rifles from the British Army then assisted with holding the airfield, while being totally integrated into French11e Brigade Parachutiste. During another phase, 700 amphibious troops came ashore from the French Navy’s amphibious ships Tonnerre and Mistral, along with vehicles and equipment. They disembarked in the coastal town of Sète before pushing north to practice area control operations. Amongst them was a detachment of U.S Marines, totally integrated with French Commandos, who carried out reconnaissance. surveillance, and sabotage. 

The ability of the French Military to seamlessly integrate and command elements from other NATO allies, during a high-intensity conflict, has been proven during Exercise Orion Phase II

Video by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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