Lithuanian Armed Forces enters an intense training period involving over 20 thousand troops

Lithuanian Armed Forces enters an intense training period involving over 20 thousand troops

The Lithuanian Armed Forces will run one of its most intense and extensive military training cycles involving over 20 thousand Lithuanian and Allied military personnel and thousands of pieces of military equipment in April-June. The series of exercises will put on trial the NATO regional defence plans agreed to at the Vilnius Summit while rehearsing a swift deployment of forces between Allied countries and sending a clear signal of NATO resolve and collective defence commitments to the adversary.

“This spring and in early summer we will have an exceptional period of military exercises in terms of scope and intensity in the history of independent Lithuania. There will be over ten of training events running concurrently, some will overlap, some ­ separate, but all knit together at key points, which is relevant to the residents of Lithuania as well: there will be more servicemembers seen around, plenty of military equipment will be moving on the roads, mobilization tasks will be trained by calling the reservists to active duty, martial law commandant institutions will be activated and curfew will be imposed in some areas. It is a long-planned military training period of Lithuania and the Allies that reflects the principal mission of the Armed Forces: training and readiness,” said Chief of Defence of Lithuania Gen Valdemaras Rupšys in a public presentation of the military training cycle. 

On April 21-26 Lithuania and Poland will conduct Brave Griffin 2024/II, a field training exercise (FTX) with aviation, which will be joined the United States and Portuguese Allies. The training event will have 1500 Lithuanian Great Hetman Jonas Chodkevičius Infantry Brigade Griffin and Allied servicemembers rehearse defence scenarios under the bilateral Lithuanian-Polish Orsha Plan.

One of the largest national exercises Thunder Strike will train all elements of the Lithuanian Armed Forces and public institutions to transition from peace to wartime, state by stage, consistently following through all the required steps on April 22 through May 10.  Thunder Strike will encompass a series of smaller exercises: Thunder Bastion 2024, Vigilant Falcon 2024, Thunder Storm 2024, Cyber Shield, and activation of the Lithuanian Rapid Reaction Force. 10 thousand of active reservists will receive call-out notices, 2500 will be mobilize for training, another 2000 will have to report to check the personal data.  The exercise will involve over 4000 active duty servicemembers as well, and also members of the Riflemen’s Union and municipalities. At this event, the military commandants assigned to different municipalities will also be trained, their subordinate units will be formed and functions rehearsed, including tangible property requisition and temporary curfew in separate sections of Vilnius and Kaunas. 

Throughout all the exercises, parallel coordination with the strategic command, NATO commands and Allied units  training in Exercises Saber Strike, Grand Quadriga, Immediate Response and Astral Knight, all integral parts of Exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 with the training audience of over 90 thousand troops from 32 Allied countries, will be maintained. All the indicated exercises are designed to test the NATO defence plans, ensure a swift force redeployment between countries, and showcase the strength of resolve and transatlantic commitments.  

Exercise Saber Strike planned on April 19 through 24 in Lithuania is conducted by the U.S. Army in the Central and Eastern European Allies to showcase the capability to quickly move army elements between regions, reinforce army elements and strengthen deterrence. Approx. 600 troops and 120 wheeled tactical vehicles assigned to the exercise will deploy from Poland via the Budzisko-Kalvarija border checkpoint to join elements of the Lithuanian Land Force and the rotational U.S. battalion in Lithuania for a live fire training.

In parallel, the wide-scale Bundeswehr Exercise Grand Quadriga 2024 will kick off on April 23 and run until the end of May which will see over 3 thousand German troops and 200 pieces of tactical equipment, including the Leopard tanks, Puma and Boxer IFVs, deploy into the General Silvestras Žukauskas (Pabradė) and Brigadier General Kazys Veverskis (Kazlų Rūda) Training Areas. The exercise is centered around moving two divisions from the Central European region to the Eastern. Lithuanian units training side by side with the German participants will plan and execute operations and ensure Host Nation Support.

On June 4-20 the largest NATO maritime exercise BALTOPS 2024 will take place. Thousands of Allied troops will be completing tasks at sea and in Klaipėda harbour during the exercise aimed at drilling regional maritime security activities through resource sharing and joint training.

The portion of NATO’s Steadfast Defender 2024 located in Lithuania will have live firing of the HIMARS High Mobility Artillery Rocket System into the Baltic Sea by U.S. Army and Lithuanian Armed Forces artillery personnel training at Exercise Immediate Response.

The spring military training cycle will reach the finish line with the annual Special Operations Forces Exercise Flaming Sword, Exercise Engineer Thunder of the Col Juozas Vitkus Engineer Battalion, NATO’s international exercise in the Baltic Sea BALTOPS 2024, NATO Allied Air Forces’ interoperability Exercise Astral  Knight, and one of the largest annual field training exercises Iron Wolf 2024-1 for certifying combat readiness of the battalions of Infantry Brigade Iron Wolf and rehearsing regional defence plans.

Related image, credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces